We’re only a month off Christmas, and, if you’re anything like us, life is getting busy. We haven’t been posting so much due to the lead up to the holiday season; weekends are full, evenings are sleepy, and generally things get in the way.
Here in Australia, it can be difficult to figure out what to drink with the Christmas meal. Australian Christmas food can range from seafood, to the traditional Christmas ham, to even a turkey or goose. Add summer heat to the menu, and things can get even more confusing.
None of this means that more traditional winter beers can’t be added to the menu for a Christmas party, but since there’s so many variables to an Australian Christmas party, it may be good to either plan ahead, or think about something that’s a bit more versatile.
Adding to that, these are inherently social occasions, and a good opportunity to share beer with friends and family. Sure, it’s easy to bring something a little weird to a Christmas party, but no one is going to try it. The better option is to bring something a little easier, a style everybody will most likely have heard of. Maybe your Christmas present to the world is creating a new craft beer lover.
Think about the following styles.
Beers for an Australian Christmas
We were going to go with a Lager here, but we feel a Pilsner does just a little bit better in terms of versatility. A good Pilsner has the lightness and crispness of a Lager, so it will hold well in the heat, but can often go up against some of the heavier meats served for Christmas. Sure, it won’t in any way be comparable to a more robust beer being paired up with a big meat, but it will be much better than a Lager! Adding to that, a Pilsner will go well with seafood. Add to this that if you want to be sharing something tasty with family and friends who may not be as adventuress when it comes to beer, but still want to try, a Pilsner is less scary. So if you’re going to a party where you simply don’t know what will be served, and you want to share it with your Lager drinking uncle, a Pilsner may be the way to go.
We reckon that a fine Saison would almost be the perfect beer for Christmas in Australia. Those who know us know we love a Saison. Light and easy drinking, it’s great for warmer weather. Adding to it the Saison’s farmhouse feel, this beer goes well with bigger meats often served at Christmas, like ham or turkey. It also adds that little bit more that simply can’t be accomplished with a Pilsner. A Saison is also a surprise pairing with a lot of seafood, especially shellfish (which isn’t unheard of at Austrlian Christmas meals), so it could be an interesting combination to try. Going further, a Saison isn’t so strange that your dad won’t like it, and it may be an unexpected hit at your family Christmas party.
We’re getting a bit darker here, but a good American style Brown Ale is often light enough to be very drinkable, even on a warmer day. Brown Ales are surprisingly versatile. A Brown Ale probably won’t go as well with fish, but for those who know they’ll primarily be eating meats, a Brown Ale would go really well. A Brown Ale goes well with birds that have a bit of game to them, and also wouldn’t be terribly unwelcome going up against a nice ham. As with our other recommendations, a Brown Ale isn’t so weird that your grandmother wouldn’t have a sip for old time’s sake. In fact, friends and family may be pleasantly surprised with how easy a Brown Ale goes down, and how well it goes with the Christmas turkey.
Leave this one towards the end of the party in replacement of the Sherry. A good barrel aged Barley Wine offers similar enjoyment to a fine Christmas Sherry, but with a twist that could add a little bit of fun to the normal Christmas tradition. Obviously a big Barley Wine wouldn’t be optimal to be drinking all day, but to end the meal, or to be paired with dessert, it could be a lot of fun. Plus, once the friends and family have been eating and drinking all day, they’ll be more open to trying something new.
Anyway, those are four beer styles that you can easily bring to Christmas in Australia that should go pretty well with most of the food that will be served, as well as be easily drinkable enough to share with everyone at the party, even those who insist on a macro-lager.
We know there are so many more styles out there that work well with Christmas dinner, whether in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, or both. Feel free to chime in with what and why. This is only the start.