Nothing says festive season like a huge spread of holiday meat favourites. We’ve all got different tastes and whether you’re a gammon-head, a turkey-nut or a lamb-fiend, there’s a beer to make the eating experience even better. Here are my top festive meat and beer pairing picks.
Gammon & Weissbier
Ah gammon, you’re at the top of the list because you‘re first in my heart. Yes, I am a proud gammon-head and I have been ever since my first bite. It’s packed with rich porky flavour and beechwood smoke with sweetness coming from the sticky glaze. It needs a beer with enough oomph to stand up to the flavours and cut through the richness.
Weissbier has long been partnered with pork in Germany and that’s because it does it so well. Its fruity and spicy flavours complement gammon every step of the way and the ample carbonation scrubs your palate in between bites.
Try Cape Brewing Company’s Amber Weiss:
Beef & Schwarzbier
The smell of roasting beef is one of life’s most alluring aromas. It carries the promise of succulent meat, bold flavours and it needs an equally beefy beer to match it. An easy solution would be the robust flavours of stout but considering that excess is a part of the festive season, I’ve gone for something a little lighter in body.
Schwarzbier or dark lager has the hefty flavour of roasted malt with notes of chocolate, coffee and dark fruit but finishes light and clean. It’s the perfect dance partner for beef that won’t leave you feeling like taking a nap in your mashed potatoes.
Try Lakeside Brewing Co. & Impi Brewing Co. Collab Dark Warrior:
Turkey or Duck & Witbier
Birds of a feather love citrus, herbs and spices and chances are your festive fowl will feature some of these elements. It’s lucky for you then that Belgian witbier is packed with coriander, orange peel and yeasty, fruity characteristics. It’s the beer you want to wash down a tasty turkey, delicious duck, or if you’re feeling extra fancy then the fabled turducken… Whichever you opt for, you can never go wrong with a wit.
Try Darling Brew Bone Crusher:
Lamb & Pale Ale
Lamb is one of South Africa’s favourite holiday meats and for good reason. With just a little garlic and rosemary it can steal the show at any festive feast. Good quality Karoo lamb has distinctly gamey and herby flavour with that pairs beautifully with a hoppy pale ale.
The brew has plenty of body to stand up to the meat and the fruity, resinous hop flavours bounce off the natural flavours of the lamb. Add a squeeze of lemon juice over the lamb to take the pairing to the next level as the citrus will echo the hop characteristics.
Try Striped Horse Pale Ale:
Seafood & Saison
I know seafood is not the most traditional of festive choices but let’s be honest, it’s damn hot in December. If you’re looking for something a little lighter and brighter, then a seafood braai is the way to go. Whether its fish, mussels, oysters, prawns or crayfish, fresh flavours, fresh herbs, rich butter and a zing of lemon is what we’re after.
For this spread, you’re going to want a beer that elevates the delicate flavours without overpowering them and this is where saison shines. It’s a Belgian farm-style ale and it is full of peppery, spicy and citrus notes with a crisp dry finish.
Try Old Potter’s Plaas Japie Saison: