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With the year drawing to a close, brewers are pushing hard to ensure the high demands of the festive season will be met. Weather it’s the end of year work function, the increase of sunshine hours compelling us to dust off the BBQ or the extended family and in-laws coming over for Christmas lunch at your place. Summer is when we most like to enjoy our favourite hop infused beverage.

A big part of the festive season focuses on food. We will likely spend hours getting the ingredients and recipe right, but only to often people will neglect the importance of what beverage will go best with the food on the table. Beer and food matching can be a simple or complex as you like. For, like wine, beer comes in endless varieties.

One of the first things I learnt when pairing food with beer was the 3 C’s. Complimenting: When you choose a pairing with similar flavour profiles. Think a bold stout with some nice dark chocolate. Contrasting: When you go to the different end of the flavour spectrum as to accentuate the flavours of both the food and the beer. Finally, Cutting: This is where the beer flavour cleanses the palate. Such as the freshness of a good pilsner which will cut through fatty foods, making each bite like having your first over again.

How you apply this is really up to you. But to give a topical example, Christmas classics such as honey glazed ham – which has a rich and salty profile – pairs well with something not too hoppy. A perfect option would be a wheat beer. Wheat malt pulls a bit of sweetness from the pork and also gives these beers a soft, bready sweetness that latches onto the glaze.

So, take a moment when you are next putting together a menu or meal to think how you can take it to the next level with a great beer match.