AleIf you're like most dedicated ale lovers, you believe that it's a shame to relegate its consumption during the holiday season to football games. Fortunately, seasonal gatherings offer many opportunities to bring your favorite ales to the table. Following are just five of the many ways that you can use ale to provide a festive note to holiday feasts.
Serve Sparkling Mead During the Appetizer Course
Mead is an ale that uses honey as a base, providing it with a sweet tang that's appropriate for an appetizer course that includes both sweet and savory snacks. It pairs well with everything from cheesecake bites to smoked salmon pate. Sparkling mead also provides a festive accent fitting for holiday gatherings.
Serve a Fruity Ale During the Salad Course
Apricot, apple, or berry ales are ideal for serving with a fresh salad. Their fruity notes bring out the fresh green flavors of the salad and also serve to the clear the palette for a savory soup course or main dish.
Serve Pumpkin Ale During the Soup Course
Pumpkin ales are seasonal favorites that are very popular in autumn. They pair well with all types of savory soups, but they're especially suitable for serving with soups that use plenty of autumn vegetables such as squash, turnips, and sweet potatoes.
Pair the Main Course With an Appropriate Ale
If your circle of family and friends tends to prefer beer over wine no matter what the occasion, consider offering an ale option for the main course along with a traditional wine--or even leaving the wine out altogether and letting the ale be the star of the show. Pairing ale and food involves the same basic strategy as pairing wine and food. Serve lighter ales with most seafood and chicken entrees and darker ales with red meat. If you're serving salmon, mackerel, black cod, tuna, or any other oily fish with a relatively strong flavor, choose a full-bodied IPA. A light wheat ale is an excellent choice for serving with a traditional roast turkey.
Choose a Deep, Rich Ale for the Dessert Course
Some seasonal ales are so rich and dark that they can be served as a dessert in their own right. Chocolate, hazelnut, or coffee ales, for instance, make an excellent grand finale to a sumptuous holiday feast, and they're even better when served with a small dish of top-quality French vanilla ice cream.
Ales can be purchased online from companies such as HWC.