The Best Beer to Pair with Turkey this Christmas

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When it comes to matching food and beer it is not an exact science. Unlike wine pairings, there are no rules, just guidelines such as it might be best not to pair a stout with Eaton mess!  

Matching beer with a roast can seem like a bit of a challenge.  There are so many parts that make a slap-up Christmas dinner! From a rich gravy, the savoury and succulent meat, the crunchy potatoes but this isn’t even taking the cranberry sauce into play!  You could also have bread sauce or mustard if you favour ham over turkey!   With all of these different flavours, it can be hard to find the one true beer that can match it all!

Here are some things to look out for when you are buying your beer!

Food Pairing

When selecting a beer for your Christmas dinner, decide whether you want to serve the beer on its own or with food.  A very strong and highly alcoholic beer will be overpowering if you have a drinks reception of crips and nibbles but will go really well with the main course.  With the main course, you might want to go for BrewDogs Double Punk at 8.2%.  With the crisp nibbles, you could go for BrewDogs Pedal Pony Pilsner with its classicly floral notes, that culminates into a refreshingly crisp and hoppy lager.

Alcohol Content

The ABV (alcohol by volume) in beer can range between 3 – 13 %, with most falling in between 4 – 7 % ABV.  Beers that pair well with a heavy meal like Christmas dinner will be in the higher range, up to about 8.5 ABV. For a moderately strong beer, choose one with a lower ABV; but if you like a bold, high-percentage beer, keep your eyes open for the double digits.


Should I buy more than one type of beer?

When it comes to an event like Christmas it is always best to offer a few kinds of beer. Some guests may have a more adventurous palate and want to try an unusual small-batch brew, while others crave the familiar cold beer you can get anywhere.  When you are choosing for a big party, a good balance of light and heavy, low and high ABV and a nice mild to rich taste is always a strong idea.

How cold should I serve the beer?

While the saying might be ‘I’d love an ice-cold beer’ sometimes this limits the flavour palette of your beverage. It is a general rule of thumb that most lighter beers should be served at around 6-7 degrees Celcius, or on the top shelf of your fridge.  A heavier beer with a higher ABV, such as a stout, should be kept outside in a cold shed.  If you don’t have a shed, then keep them in the fridge but take them out an hour before serving.

You could try a little test to see what the best temperature is.  To do this, take two of the same aromatic beers, Punk IPA by Brewdog is a really good one.  Keep one ice-cold, while chilling the other one to 6-7 degrees Celcius.  Pour each one into a tulip-shaped beer glass and see the difference in aromas.  One beer will give off almost no aroma, whilst the other should be a bouquet of tropical fruit.

Is it better to serve beer in its bottle or in a glass?

When it comes to how long you have spent decorating the Christmas table, you probably don’t want it strewn with bottles of beer. Good news!  Beer tastes better when it is poured into a glass!  It gives the drink time to reveal itself allowing the drinker to see and smell the beer.  The aroma will directly affect how the beer tastes.

When you are choosing your glasses you have to consider their size and shape. While a pint glass is typical, a smaller glass is often best if the beer has a high ABV.  Some beers have specific glass styles so there is always that to consider!



What’s your favourite beer to pair with your Christmas dinner?  Let us know in the comment section below!

This article is part of a partnership with Brewdog

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