Holiday Dinner Beer and Food Pairing Guide

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to enjoy the company of our friends and family around the table to break bread and raise some pints. Many of us are quick to grab a bottle of wine to pair with our holiday dinners, but beer truly makes for a versatile pairing that’s sure to please even the pickiest of palates (we know we all have someone like that at our table)!

There’s really no science behind it – it’s all about what you enjoy. But the one rule I follow is to keep the “Three C’s” in mind: complement, cut, and contrast. If you want to highlight certain spices or flavors in a food, pair it with a beer that has some of the same elements to complement. If you want to offset (cut) the heat of a spicy dish, go for a classic American lager. If you want to showcase different notes, use contrasting flavors to do that.

With that in mind, here’s a guide to beer and food pairings for the holiday season with our Winter Favorites Variety Pack.

Boston Lager & Blueberry DIY CheeseBoston Lager: This flavorful beer is great any time of year, but especially when shared with friends and family around the holidays.  Boston Lager’s balance of complex flavors make it a great pairing for a wide variety of foods, but during the holidays we love how the roasted malts add depth to roasted meats like turkey, duck, and lamb. This year we tried something fun and new:  DIY Boston Lager soaked cheese.  It’s a great way to kick off any holiday celebration and surprise your friends with something unique. Want to try it at home? Check out our (fun and easy) recipes.

winter lager brussel sproutsWinter Lager: We’ve been enjoying Winter Lager this time of year since 1989, as it was one of our first seasonal beers.  Bold and rich with a touch of holiday spice, we couldn’t imagine the cold winter without it! The deep maltiness and warming spices of Winter Lager enrich the flavors of a hearty beef stew or mellow the sweetness of desserts like pecan pie. For a tasty side dish, try Brussel sprouts with Winter Lager and bacon.

white ale walnut breadWhite Christmas: For a change of pace from the darker holiday brews, this wheat ale is crisp and light, yet with the familiar warmth of holiday spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel.  It’s a great pairing with lighter dishes like salad with cranberries and goat cheese, and also compliments desserts like fruit tart or cheesecake.  Its wheat and spice also make it a perfect ingredient in beer bread – like in this recipe for White Ale walnut bread. It’s also an amazing addition to apple pie!

old-fezziwig-ale-bread-pudding--en--cc42fa29-a2a2-4846-84c9-6f74c00343a3Old Fezziwig Ale: We often like to refer to Old Fezziwig as the Christmas cookie of beers, and it’s certainly one of our favorites during the holidays. The combination of rich maltiness with notes of toffee and dark caramel and holiday spice make this beer a great pair with desserts like carrot cake or apple pie or classic side dishes like sweet potatoes and squash.  Check out our recipe for Old Fezziwig Ale bread pudding.

Looking for more cooking with beer recipes for the holidays? Check out the Food and Beer section of our website. From all of us here at Samuel Adams, Happy Holidays!

Beers (and Foods) of Summer

It’s summertime (finally!), so that means it’s time to enjoy beers in the sunshine and invite some friends over to grill. Our Beers of Summer variety pack is a versatile collection of beers that’s sure to have a style to please everyone at your backyard BBQ. Here’s a guide to some of our favorite summer beer and food pairings to accompany your next cookout.

Sam Summer_Lobster

Boston Lager: Our original beer is full-flavored with a balance of malty sweetness, contrasted by hop spiciness and a smooth finish.

This is still our number one favorite for a reason. Its flavor makes it an incredibly versatile pairing with a lot of different foods and styles of cooking. In the summer, it really shines as a complement to barbeque beef brisket. The sweetness and caramel notes of the malt complement and add depth to the roasted, savory taste of the meat while the hops cut through the richness and contrast the tang of barbeque sauce.

Summer Ale: Citrusy with a hint of spice from lemon peel and Grains of Paradise.

In New England, we can’t get enough seafood – especially in the summer. For me, one quintessential pairing I look forward to every year is our Summer Ale and lobster. Lobster’s rich, sweet flavors are nicely balanced by the bright complexities of Summer Ale. The crisp wheat character balances out the buttery meat, while the citrus adds a fresh bite.

Porch Rocker: Tart & refreshing, a golden lager with a fresh squeezed lemon taste.

Beer and food pairings shouldn’t be reserved for only the main course! Porch Rocker makes a great pairing for light summer fare from apps, like a sharp cheddar cheese plate, to salad to desserts. It’s tart citrus lemon character accents and tames the sweetness in a blueberry cobbler and cuts through the creaminess of a cheesecake.

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Guide to Valentine’s Day Beer and Food Pairings

Some people mistakenly think of Valentine’s Day as a “wine holiday,” (we’re using our finger quotes on this one) but we know better. Instead, we think you should impress your Valentine with some excellent beer and food pairings! Chef David Burke and Gianni Cavicchi, the Beer and Wine Expert at Tour de France Restaurant Group NYC, compiled a pairing guide for common aphrodisiac foods and a few of the beers in our Spring Brews Variety Pack.  You know, to help make this Valentine’s Day one to remember…

Oysters: Pair with Cold Snap

The saltiness of the oysters is enhanced by the citrus notes in Cold Snap.  The pairing ends with a light, crisp finish, and the wheat and subtle pepper notes in the beer cleanse your palate. Read More

Cooking with Beer: Q&A with John Holl

We had the opportunity to sit down with  John Holl, author and editor of All About Beer Magazine, who stopped by the Boston Brewery to sign copies of his new book, The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs and Breweries. Here’s what he had to say about beer and food pairings and the one style of beer he just can’t live without…

Cook Book photo

Q: What inspired you to write your new book The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs and Breweries?

A: I wanted to be able to tell the story about American beer and food culture right now. The craft beer movement has kept pace with the “eat local” movement – so many people want to eat authentic, and remember the real pleasure of eating. They don’t want microwaveable meals anymore.

There are also limitless options with what brewers are doing around the country, and I wanted to explore those together.

Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions about beer and food pairings?

A: Everyone seems to think that if you’re having a nice meal, you should have a bottle of wine on the table. That’s great, but beer brings so much more to food pairings. One of the problems we have with beer is that people use words like “bitter” to describe hops or use technical terms to describe flavors. We need to start describing the flavor of beer in food terms – coffee, citrus, or pine that you get from hops. Once we do that, then people will really start thinking about how beer pairs well with meals.

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