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Thursday, December 24, 2009

For Christmas Dinner, Go Thick, Dark, and Spicy with Seasonal Ales

Posted By on Thu, Dec 24, 2009 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Yulesmith Holiday Ale from San Diego's AleSmith Brewing. - WWW.TWINBEER.COM
  • Yulesmith Holiday Ale from San Diego's AleSmith Brewing.
While worthy of its time-honored place at the head of the Thanksgiving groaning board, turkey deserves a day off at Christmastime, just as our taste buds deserve a little wintertime variety. What, then, to serve in its place?

To be worthy of the Yuletide table, a main dish must be dramatic, dazzling and, well, big. Individual pot pies and dainty lamb chops won't do. Neither will stews or casseroles or platters of pasta, because part of the drama is the carving up of the thing, whatever it is. And this being the holidays, the dish should reflect a festive spirit; the idea is to inspire a chorus of ahhhs as you schlep the platter into the dining room.

You could get all Dickensian and roast a goose, or go the Scandinavian route: Norwegian pork chops with caraway sauerkraut; Finnish baked ham with rye-dough crust and turnip pudding; or an especially gluttonous example of Swedish smorgasbord involving sausages, spareribs, pickled herring, eels, stacks of cakes and cookies, and plenty of beer and aquavit to wash it down. Standing rib roast, wild boar, a whole roasted carp, or a saddle of venison have their aficionados as well.

Whatever it is, the ideal accompaniment is several bottles of Christmas beer, the thick, dark, spicy brew that's a hallmark of the season. Like Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Anchor Christmas Ale, or Yulesmith Holiday Ale from San Diego brewer AleSmith. Seek out these and others today at The Jug Shop (1590 Pacific at Polk) or K&L (638 Fourth St. at Townsend). Choose from a tempting variety of the imported, the domestic, the sweet, and the brawny and enjoy a Christmas meal to remember. Your guests and your taste buds will thank you for it.

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Matthew Stafford


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