Ahh Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time for a beer. A Christmas Ale here, a Tripel there, even Santa’s Little Helpers have their own beer thanks to Danish brewer, Mikkeller. So, which beer will go best with this Christmas?
Utilising Nielsen sales data, local news media has reported that the traditional mass-produced Australian lagers and brands will still dominate the Christmas tables of Aussies this year. However, the rise of the craft beer sector and boutique imports has certainly made the choice of beers to pair with Christmas bigger than ever.
Last year I asked a number of Australia’s brewers which beers they would be drinking on Christmas day and what food would accompany those beers. This year, I put the same questions to the those who help the brewers distribute and sell those beers – the importers, distributors and beer shop owners.
So, which brews will our Aussie distributors and retailers be cracking open tomorrow during their Christmas dinner? Surely, the best beer sellers will also be able to pitch us a perfect food pairing for those beers as well.
Todd Barac – Phoenix Beer
The National Sales Manager for WA based distributor, Phoenix Beer, will no doubt be celebrating another successful year after acquiring the accounts for some of the Australia and New Zealand’s most sought-after new craft beer brands, building ontop of their impressive list of international accounts. Phoenix now distributes Temple, Moon Dog, Yeastie Boys and Garage Project.
“I’ll be getting together with my family on Christmas night and enjoying Christmas Dinner with one of my all-time favourite beers in Triple Moine,” said Todd.
“Being such a sweet, easy drinking brew, it goes with just about anything that is likely to end up on my plate on Christmas Day, and as such it has become my default ‘Christmas Day Beer’. It has wonderful flavours of honey, raisins and cloves that match beautifully with the richness of hams and Christmassy meats, but its crisp, tangy finish means it doesn’t overpower the meal.”
“It isn’t too heavy and cloying like a lot of other blonde style beers either meaning I can squeeze in an extra helping of trifle which is always good. At 7.3%, I might get the missus to drive though!”
“The only downside is that I have to share it with my brother-in-law who has also developed a taste for it – tis the season for sharing I suppose.”
Eden Gilbert – Blackhearts & Sparrows
Eden is the beer manager for Melbourne’s Blackhearts and Sparrows and Atticus Finch. Blackheart’s outlets in East Brunswick and North Fitzroy have been in the centre of a craft beer bar boom this year. New bars and venues in Melbourne’s inner north have been embracing the modern wave of craft beers faster than any other region of the city. This year Blackhearts also opened a new store in Kensington and they have just announced that they will open a fifth outlet in partnership with St Kilda’s Local Taphouse, on the former site of The Local Bottleshop and Provisions.
“I reckon once the dust has settled from a busy Christmas trade, a case of newly arrived Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop Ale might be under the tree from Santa,” noted Eden.
“It’s the time of year for this Hop Ale’s aroma (a bit like the real Christmas tree), it’s beautiful creamy head and that red-amber beer just matches the Christmas decorations in the house. I’ll be drinking them on Christmas day and also taking a few away with me down the coast.”
“Freshly barbequed chilli and garlic prawns washed down with this cold citrusy hopped ale, says ‘relaxation’ to me.”
Dan Rickard – Calibre Craft Beer Trading
This year Dan made the leap from Sales Rep with Innspire to running his own distribution business with Calibre Beer. He is focusing on bringing Australia’s best craft beers to parts of the country that beers the likes of Red Hill Brewing, Kooinda and Nail Brewery have never reached before.
“Coincidently, my beers for Christmas will be almost exactly what I put in these fantastic gift packs that I recently put together, ” Dan remarked cheekily.
“I will be at home this year with the wife and kids with no travel, so I have chosen some big beers!”
“I will be sipping a 2011 Nail Clout Stout with some fantastic Cognac soaked Christmas pudding and custard, sounds like a good match I hope it adds up!”
Adam Betts – Northdown, Craft Beer Movement
Adam spent a large chunk of this year travelling the country with Danish brewer, Christian Skovdal Andersen of Beer Here, facilitating a number of collaborations with Australia’s small brewers, such as Red Duck and Moon Dog. Adam also released his own collaborative brews with Christian: Victoria’s Secret, Cool Hops and RyeFix.
Victoria Secret, the Beer Here/Northdown collaboration a wheat beer with the hopping regime of a double IPA is on top of Adam’s Christmas drinking list.
“I’ll be drinking it while there is still some left. It’s a perfect beer for Australia’s summer. Hoppy wheat goodness.”
“I’ll be drinking it next to the laptop catching up on work, probably by a beach though, along with a food match of grilled fish with squash and halloumi salad.”
John Cope-Williams – Better Beer Imports
Through his Better Beer Imports business, John Cope-Williams imports and distributes many of New Zealand’s most popular craft beer brands, including Epic, 8 Wired and Emersons.
John’s Christmas drinks plan is a simple and tasty one, and a familiar classic for many Aussies, with apple cider and seafood.
“Tomorrow I’ll be drinking Zeffer Apple Cider with fresh seafood and twenty hour slow cooked pork belly.”
From all at Australian Brews News, we wish you a very merry & beery Christmas, and a very safe and happy new year.