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Christmas Day doesn’t have to be about Prosecco and whatever commercial lager is on offer at your local supermarket. Embrace the wealth of choice available to you from the artisanal world of craft beer. With choices ranging from light and refreshing to the sweet and sticky, you’re sure to find a beer to go with just about any festive dishes.

Not sure how to pair? Don’t feel pressure; it’s quite often simply a case of what feels right. Your choice of beer can be a subtle compliment to your food, but can also serve to cleanse the palate and counteract strong flavours. Take for example the classic fare of smoked salmon, maybe served on costini with some indulgent cream cheese of your choice. It’s still early in the day, too, so remember to play the long game*, so you can make these choices light, sparkling and maybe even tart.

Sour beers having been gaining popularity for a while now, and range from slightly sour to mouth-puckering acidity. If you’re feeling brave then why not try Wild Beer Co’s Sleeping Lemons Gose, the saltiness should compliment the salmon / cheese combination, the preserved lemons giving the salmon their natural serving partner, while the acidity cuts through the fat and oils.

When it gets to the main course, we normally opt for traditional goose, turkey or / and gammon joint. If you’re taking a break from wine or you’re simply not in the mood, there are other options. The saltiness of the ham works well with sweetness of stronger beers like Belgian Tripels, like Westmalle. If goose is served then the dense, dark flavours of a Dubbel will compliment the stronger, gamey flavours. The most popular choice is turkey, even though you’re sick and tired of it after the second day of leftovers! It’s good to remember that this is a meal full of rich gravy and naughty trimmings, so try to choose something to cover the range of those flavours. The hop bitterness and fruity flavours of a red / ruby ale will cut through the rich flavours while the robust and sweet character of crystal malts really work with the turkey.

Dessert? Already? This will very much depend on your food options. Look at what’s for dessert, and compliment . A rich chocolate dessert such as mousse will bring out the sweetness in stouts, while dark chocolate flavours back up those bitter, roasted malts. If traditional Christmas pudding is your thing, then try complimenting those heavy, fruity flavours with a complex Imperial Stout. Rain Shadow from Buxton Brewery is a great example. Just a small glass, mind.

Cheese boards pair beautifully with stronger, sweeter beers. The current trend of Double IPAs, or DIPAs as they’re known to their friends, tend to be somewhat sweet because of the higher alcohol levels; you’ll find this an indulgent and satisfying tipple to help polish off creamy blue cheeses. It’s about experimenting – with so many cheese and beer styles to choose from, do a little research beforehand and see what works for you.

* You don’t want to be asleep by mid afternoon in front of the James Bond film, do you?

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