Holiday Food & Beer Pairings

christmas holiday beer and food pairings

christmas holiday beer and food pairingsCondensed from an article in the Huffington Post – Holiday Food & Beer Pairings by Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head

This is the de facto way into many a holiday meal and, while wines may go pretty well with some cheeses, the carbonation and diversity in beer make it a better partner. The bubbles in beer exfoliate the tongue of the fatty weight of the cheese to prepare you for the next bite. Some great combinations:

  • Fresh mozzarella and a nice bready, spicy white beer like Avery White Rascal or Allagash White.
  • Sharp aged cheddar with a hoppy beer like Russian River’s Pliney the Elder or Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.
  • Roquefort or a big stinky bleu with a beer with some serious body and darker roasty grains, like Thomas Hardy’s Ale or Deschutes Abyss.


  • Sirloin steak is usually paired with dry, tannic red wines; however, this classic dish is a great partner for spicy beers like Saison du Pont or Chimay Red.
  • A pork chop’s lighter meat has more subtle flavors so you don’t want to overpower it with too big of a bee so opt for a German bock, like Schneider Aventinus or an Amber Ale like New Belgium’s Fat Tire.
  • Glazed ham is both sweet and salty, so it needs an earthy and fruity beer as a partner, like Theakston Old Peculiar Ale or Brooklyn Brown Ale.


  • New England clam chowder is a thick, rich soup that has a lot of tongue-coating cream and a salty flavor, but it can be overwhelmed by too strong a beer. Opt for a stout, like Murphy’s or Guinness.
  • Lobster is a dish that goes really well with traditional lager, like Heineken or Yuengling Lager.


  • Grilled tuna (assuming it is lightly seasoned and unadorned with a heavy cream sauce) goes well with a mid-body lager, like Troeg’s Troegenator or Sam Adams’ Double Bock.
  • Fried fish and chips needs a beer that is dry and bubbly enough to cut through the palate-coating batter. I recommend Bink Blonde Hoppy Golden Ale or Birra del Borgo ReAle.


  • Whether it is pure chocolate bars and candy or rich chocolate cakes, I think the ultimate beer and food pairing is any type of chocolate and dark roasty imperial stout. Try Ten FIDY from Oskar Blues or Chicory Stout from Dogfish Head.