The holidays are a time for get-togethers and joyful celebrations. They’re also a time for, uh, tolerating each other’s quirks. And, like other occasions when festivities and feasts fill our days and nights, there’s room at the table for beer.
But what beer will make your festive season merry and bright? That depends on your holiday personality. Whatever your favourite festive pastimes and traditions may be, there’s a beer that’ll help the season go smoothly.
Stout + the festive dessert fan
Are you the sort of person who knows that the real presents aren’t under the tree — that they’re on the dessert table? Then give yourself the gift of a stout: Its chocolatey malt flavours will complement all those goodies — not just the chocolate ones but the vanilla and winter-spiced ones, too. (And if you’re in a baking mood yourself, Stout Gingerbread Cookies, Maple-Glazed Stout Gingerbread Bundt Cake or Chocolate Stout Crème Brûlée are sure to hit the mark.)
Brown ale + the tacky sweater wearer
Do you love a knit that’s a little nutty? To each their own. A brown ale — which is also a little nutty — is a good match. And once we get past that hideous sweater, we know you’re probably a bit like the beer in other ways: sweet, agreeable and ready for a festive meal.
Pilsner + the perfect gift hunter
Are you one of those people who frets and sweats over every name on their gift list? We invite you to relax. Make shopping easy on yourself by having a go-to present for those hard-to-buy-for beer lovers. Just give ’em all pilsner. It’s the beer style that pretty much every beer drinker enjoys.
IPA + the (over-)enthusiastic decorator
Are a dozen strands of lights enough for one tree? Asking for a friend. If you’re a “more is more” kind of person when it comes to festively decorating your home, have we got a beer style for you. IPA (India pale ale) brewers start with malt and hops and then add more…and more…and more, especially when it comes to the hops. What you get is a bold and bitter beer. It really is the perfect complement to your twinkling, glitter-bombed abode.
British-style pale ale + the Scrooge
It’s English and it’s bitter. Sound familiar? A British-style pale ale is the kind of beer old Ebenezer might have enjoyed, especially because it goes so well with hard cheese, his favourite. Don’t worry, we know you’re a big softie at heart. And the malty undertones of an English bitter ale are actually pretty sweet deep down — they’ll bring a tear to your eye every time.
Dark ale + the fruitcake lover (yes, really)
You may never be able to persuade anyone else of how good a fresh fruitcake can be. And that’s all right because it means there’s more for you. Another private pleasure? Pairing it with a dark ale: They can also be dense — and even “chewy” — with complementary molasses flavours.
Light lager + the holiday tunes caroller
From “jingle all the way” to “Rudolph, with your nose so bright,” you’ve got every line of every holiday classic memorized — and you’re not afraid to prove it (at top volume). Seasonal music may be a bit corny, but so what? So are lots of great things. Light lager, for example, can have “corny” aromas thanks to the corn sugar that goes into the brewing kettle. You’ve got to keep those golden pipes lubricated for when you belt out that Mariah Carey number (again), right?
Ice beer + the polar bear dipper
Running — on purpose — into an ice-cold body of water: Some say it’s absolutely bonkers. But to you, it’s an invigorating ritual to kick off a new year. (We’re just going to take your word for it.) If you’ve got ice in your veins and you’re looking for a cold one — a really cold one — chilling with an ice beer is the obvious choice.