This a late offer of help to all those mind wrestling over what to do with beer and food over the Christmas period.
Two of Australia's leading beer educators - and good brew judges - Kirrily Waldhorn and "Prof Pils" Pete Mitcham got together over a chat about the Ballarat Beer Festival next month and came up with a menu for Santa's big celebration.
Seafood Christmas Lunch
“This is where Aussies get to shine! We love having that cold seafood buffet kind spread at Christmas, but most people wonder what can I pair it with?” said Mitcham. “A simple, clean crisp lager is the perfect match for any light seafood, but when you get to oysters or mussels, look for something a bit darker and richer.”
Top picks for light seafood: Lagers - Hawthorn Brewing Co New World Lager, Stockade Brew Co ‘Duel’ Hoppy Lager. Top Picks for oysters, mussels etc. – Cockies Brewery Surf Coast Blonde, Mildura Brewery Honey Wheat, Little Rivers Brewing Co Hefeweizen.
“With lots of elements to consider, from the juicy creaminess in the meat, the crackly skin on the outside, and even the potential BBQ seasoning, you need something that’s not too heavily bodied that will take away from the delicateness of the chicken, such as an Australian Pale Ale,” he said. Top Picks: Quiet Deeds Session Ale, Odyssey Craft Brewing Co Calypso Pale Ale, Barrow Boys Pedlars Pale Ale.
The Traditional Roast Pork
“If you are indulging in pork, look to pair it with a beautifully rich Scotch Ale,” said Kirrily. “Christmas roast pork will likely have some sort of sweet glaze, perhaps honey, maple or marmalade and will generally be caramelised so the Scotch Ale with its decadent dark fruit and sweeter notes, will complement the glazing perfectly. “This is also the perfect alternative if you’re looking for something with the intensity of a rich red wine,” she said. Top Pick: Fury & Son Scotch Ale
“Everyone has ham, it’s a Christmas classic and given we are in Australia, where we would expect a warm sunny day, look to a beer style such as a spritzy and refreshing Saison. “This farmhouse style of beer offers up some farmhouse funk and fruity ester characteristics, which will contrast the saltiness of the ham perfectly. It’s delightful when served in a champagne flute and every bit as elegant!” said Kirrily. Top Pick: Bells Beach Southside Saison.
Beer lovers can pick up more hints from Waldhorn and Mitcham at the Ballarat Beer Festival on January 21. The pair will be holding beer education classes along with around 40 brewers and 200 beers. Tickets from www.ballaratbeerfestival.com.au.