Christmas is essentially about four things: presents, family, food and drink. Alas there’s not much advice we can offer on family (try and be nice) but we can help with the presents via the gift of beer, and we can also bring out the best in your festive feast with some beer pairing suggestions.
With Christmas dishes being pondered and the accompanying drinks carefully considered, it’s a chance for beer to claim a place at the Christmas dinner table. And it deserves its place, certainly as much as wine.
Before we start gobbling turkey, or a sweet potato wellington, how about an aperitif? The beer needs to be fruity, bubbly and refreshing and our Hebden’s Wheat ticks all those boxes. You’ll enjoy citrus, some subtle spice and an orange-lemon zest that holds in the mouth.
Or Radical Roots is a unique beer that’s just right for a special occasion. It’s a ginger pale ale that’s fresh, light and vibrant that also happens to be the UK’s only Fairtrade beer. Serve either in a champagne flute to suit the occasion. You’ll feel special too!
For your festive fish and seafood your best bet is to go light, so the beer doesn’t overpower the flavours of the fish. Stage Winner is our light and refreshing pale ale that’s extremely adept at bringing out the best in fish, particularly fish dishes that are enhanced with a squeeze of lemon, such as salmon. The subtle flavours of the beer do a fine job of complementing the delicate flavours in the fish and its effervescence will cut through the texture of the food and cleanse the palate, leaving your mouth ready for the next bite.
If you’re going really posh this year and have lobster lined up, well played. Again, Hebden’s Wheat is your friend here. The low hop bitterness and prickly carbonation will refresh the mouth while the fruity, spicy and creamy character of the beer will accompany your Christmas crustacean very well indeed.
It’s turkey time, so which beer? Turkey’s soft, easy flavours make our cool and crisp Tod’s Blonde an ideal match. Any beer with too much hop power (eg. IPAs) would be too big and overwhelm the turkey, so Tod’s Blonde keeps it mellow with its bittersweet balance bringing out the flavour of the meat and the carbonation slicing through the fatty texture. It’s Tod’s broad appeal that ensures it also scores a direct hit with the stuffing while its sweetness will contrast the bitterness of Brussel sprouts.
If you’re going veggie for lunch and opted for nut roast, try Withens Pale. It’s a fresh, fruity yet malty beer so will bring out the caramelised sweetness in the roast and possesses decent carbonation that will cut through that heavy texture.
Christmas day desserts can vary from house-to-house but the overwhelming favourite is Christmas pudding. This is heaven sent with Dark Vale, our vanilla porter, the same creamy dry flavours being present in both. Let’s not forget mince pies, where again the warm, complex and chocolatey qualities of Stoodley Stout will complement these crumbly Christmas classics.
Then there’s the array of cheeses and the beers to match. Python IPA with a generous chunk of Cheddar is beer and cheese heaven. If the bigger flavours of Stilton are more your thing go for Dark Vale or Stoodley Stout, where both beers will contrast the saltiness of the cheese and really make the creaminess sing. Or for a wonderfully surprising beer and cheese match, give goat’s cheese and our Cherry Saison a whirl – a pairing that will linger long in the memory.
From fish and birds to desserts and cheese, whatever food you enjoy at Christmas there’s a Little Valley beer that will bring out the best in it. Even those pesky Brussel sprouts.
|Aperitif – Hebden’s Wheat, Radical Roots|
|Starter – Stage Winner, Hebden’s Wheat|
|Main – Tod’s Blonde, Withens Pale, Stoodley Stout, Cragg Bitter|
|Dessert – Dark Vale, Stoodley Stout|
|Cheese – Python IPA, Stoodley Stout, Dark Vale, Cherry Saison|