My latest article for Thanet CAMRA's Ale of Thanet publication covers food and beer pairing with a Christmas theme. You can check it out below or find the original here. December has been a lean month on the blogging front; work, family, holidays and colds have all got in the way a bit. I'm looking forward to really picking things up in the new year.
For many of us, Christmas dinner is the most important meal of the year. It’s the focal point of the holiday season; it’s something we look forward to and plan for weeks. With our friends, family and loved ones around that table, it’s important that the meal is just right; and for some, it’s one of the few occasions where thought is extended beyond the food, to the drink pairing too.
***Boxing Day brings the worst food hangover of the year; eating will be the last thing on your mind. Until lunchtime! Then suddenly that hotchpotch of Tupperware and foil in the fridge becomes a limitless treasure trove of potential. Lightly toast some thick white bread and get building; hunks of cold turkey, slices of stuffing, finely shredded white cabbage or really crisp iceberg lettuce, a cold sausage if any are left and then spoonfuls of spicy, tart, fruity chutney. Pair with a James Bond film and a glass of good pilsner and you’re set.
The lineage of the lager beer can be traced back to a single parent. Pilsner Urquell is characterised by its bright golden colour, its foamy head and the generous use of noble Saaz hops. Brewed in the Czech town of Pilsen since 1842, it’s responsible for spawning the vast majority of beer consumed worldwide. Whilst the modern day SABMiller incarnation might not compare to the unfiltered, unpasteurised original, it manages to stand head and shoulders above the majority of macro lager. Heavier in body than most, Pilsner Urquell balances caramel sweetness with punchy bitterness. The Saaz hops lend a uniquely recognisable herbal quality and there’s soft carbonation throughout. It’s full but light, snappy, crisp and dry, it arrives and then vanishes; this is what defines Pilsner Urquell and this is what makes it perfect for the Boxing Day sandwich.
You need something robust enough to stand up to those rich flavours, but a heavy beer would just be too much. Urquell will happily hold its own, but it’s light enough to stop you feeling weighed down. Delicious!
***Christmas is a time for friends and family, it’s a time to enjoy good food, good drink and good company. Whilst we’re happy to make beer a part of our everyday lives, we seem to turn to wine for the special occasions. Save an extra place at the Christmas table this year, a place for beer.