What beer to pair with your holiday feast

Image of two hands clinking beer glasses in the foreground, while friends serve up a holiday feast in the background.

This year, we’re not (just) talking turkey. Instead, we asked what our customers eat for their holiday dinners, and our beer pros picked out perfect pairings for all sorts of festive meals

What’s the only thing more diverse than The Beer Store’s selection of 1,000-plus brands? Our customers.

We took to our social media channels and asked you to tell us what’s on your holiday table. And, boy, did you respond! We learned all about your multicultural buffet of deliciousness, and it goes way beyond turkey and all the fixings. We’re talking everything from tamales to tourtière to Jamaican oxtail and curried goat.

And you know what really ties a feast together? Beer. Brews unite many people and their cuisines. So our experts took your meal memories and looked ahead to your next holiday gathering.

Mexican-inspired feasts + Vienna, red or dark lager

A lot of our followers told us they make merry with Mexican cuisine. Great idea! And while your mind might shortcut straight to drool-worthy cheeses, mole sauce and spicy chili peppers, the real foundation of so many Mexican dishes is corn. And that’s why we recommend red, dark and Vienna lagers, whose round, malty flavours complement the sweetness of this staple grain. You could say they make an a-maize-ing match. (P.S. #dadjokes are the gift that keeps on giving.)

Comment from @jessiithemama that reads, ‘For the holiday our goal is to eat until our belly’s look like the grinch’s belly. laughing/crying emoji We have pork leg, tacos, chicken, rice, salad, potatoes, desserts, seafood, hot chocolate, pops, juice, beer, wine, you name it we have it. laughing/crying emoji Right @lizziecarreraa @amaliaencalada @baileytheogpug @_lgcv’ Comment from @negra_90 that reads, ‘@nessioqu Tamales is a Christmas MUST in our house hold crossed fingers emoji’

Eastern European–style feasts + malty lager

If your plate is groaning under the weight of cabbage rolls, pork cutlets, potatoes and other hearty eastern European dishes, a malty lager — one that says “Munich” or “Bavarian” on the label, for example — will pair beautifully with your feast. Sure, you’re pairing two kinds of carbs, but a powerful lager brings a crisp finish that will help cleanse your palate between bites. Even potatoes can’t slow down this bubbly sip!

omment from @jadranka_savelli that reads, ‘Cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, pork cutlets, blood sausage.. A typical Croatian feast double heart emoji’ Comment from @girardtanya that reads, ‘@_montanapretty Borscht, Cabbage Rolls, Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Carrots, Beer!’

Jamaican oxtail and curried goat + stout

While Jamaica’s fabulous climate might make you think of lighter-bodied brews, stout is popular in this island country. It makes sense: All those molasses-like, roasty flavours and aromas in the brew perfectly balance the bold spices (especially allspice, a holiday hero) in classic dishes, like oxtail and curried goat.

If you’re alternating sips of stout and sorrel drink, you’ll create a gorgeous harmony. The beer’s chocolatey aroma plays really well with the almost-berry-like sweetness of the hibiscus flowers in the sorrel drink.

Comment from @mdavy1 that reads, ‘@staciousnicess my family tradition menu oxtail, curried goat and definitely sorrel drink all around and to top it all off Jamaican fruit cake yum emoji

Portuguese salt cod and potatoes + pale lager

In some European cultures, a proper holiday meal means fish. And if your background is Portuguese, that’s likely going to be salt cod. The rich, hearty flavours of the Christmas Eve dish bacalhau de consoada, or salt cod with cabbage, potatoes and eggs, will leave you satisfied — and oh-so-thirsty. Washing it down with a pale lager, which is crisp and offers top-notch thirst-quenching power, is the ideal way to balance the brininess of the fish.

Comment from @adelia_marchese that reads, ‘We make traditional Portuguese dish on Christmas Eve consisting of codfish with potatoes and eggs. It is so delicious @dom_is1’ Comment from @sovcat13 that reads, ‘Baccala- roasted then tossed with parsley- garlic black pepper and olive oil, calamari, tuna/olive pasta, fried baccala and shrimp, and baccala chickpea soup’

Italian-style feasts + pilsner

Some Italian-Canadian families who put turkey on the table also fill their plates with old-country comfort foods, like lasagna, penne, gnocchi and chicken, veal and/or eggplant parmigiana. (Their nonnas wouldn’t want them to leave the table feeling less than full, after all!) With these hearty mains, a pilsner is an ideal match. The bold hops accent the basil, oregano and other herbs in sauces, and the light body won’t leave you feeling stuffed. PSA: Leave room for panettone!

Comment from @danielanutella that reads, ‘@christina.capp98 always the lasagna and chicken parm. And endless dinner rolls and Roma pizza in case you’re hungry after five courses sweating/smiling emoji’ Comment from @bnags16 that reads, ‘@grammer10 Italian Christmas food, gnocchi, cutlets and eggplant parm’

Pancit, lumpia and other Filipino classics + Belgian-style wheat beer

With its aromas of spice and citrus, a Belgian-style witbier (pale wheat beer) has a lot going on — just like your lola’s lovingly prepared feast of Filipino must-eats, which balance sour, sweet, spicy and salty flavours. The idea here is to pair complexity with complexity. Plus, the orange aromas in many of these brews will complement the dose of citrusy calamansi you often get in Filipino favourites.

Comment from @tanyav0324 that reads, ‘@sean_m71 usually we enjoy pancit, spring rolls, breaded shrimp and scallops along with much more.’ Comment from @veepee7 that reads, ‘@eeeedmac We are having world famous lumpia (spring rolls) mask face emoji Canadian flag emoji’

Tourtière and butter tarts + brown ale

If you’re travelling down the traditional roads of Ontario and Quebec cuisine, choose a nutty brown ale as your companion. This brew is a hearty partner for almost-too-rich tourtière, and it offers up a brown-sugary sweetness that may remind you of the caramel-flavoured filling in an old-fashioned butter tart. Nutty brown ale also pairs tastily with all your fave butter tart variations — we won’t judge if you’re #TeamRaisin or #TeamPecan.

Comment from @lucillestpierre that reads, ‘French-Canadian tourtière, ham, mashed potatoes, salad, veggies, and lots of cookies, and butter tarts!

Desserts all the time + fruit beer

Some would say we’re saving the best for last — and maybe we are. When it’s time to belly up to the dessert table, by all means sweeten up your beer as well. A berry-flavoured option can complement both fruit and chocolate in whatever desserts you load up on your plate(s). And, hey, it’s the holidays, so have seconds.

Comment from @kcrmb that reads, ‘The best part of my holiday meal is dessert! I love fruitcake, shortbread, cookies and almond crescents - yummy!’

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