It’s the season for Friendsgiving celebrations, holiday season and family reunions, and as any good guest knows, it’s rude to show up empty-handed. A bottle of wine is a no-brainer, but what if your host prefers hops over grapes?
One of the biggest misconceptions about beer is that it’s not as elegant as wine or spirits. But as any craft beer lover can tell you, beer can be just as complex, refined, and, of course, delicious as more traditional dinner dishes. You already know that many people will show up with a boring bottle of wine they picked up on the way; why not switch things up a bit and impress your host with a great bottle of beer?
As Thanksgiving approached, we asked some of our favorite beer industry professionals what their bottle to give the host to at a fancy dinner party or vacation get-together. Their responses range from 2.5% ABV to 10.2%, so whether you’re looking for something big and boozy to make everyone feel festive or something light to bring to a more relaxed affair, you’ve got to. lots of options. Find out what they had to say below.
Drie Fonteinen Cuvée Armand & Gaston
The beer I would bring to a fancy dinner would be Cuvée Armand & Gaston by Drie Fonteinen. This spontaneously fermented Belgian Lambic blend brings minerality, funk and complexity. The aromatic profile is complemented by a pleasant acidity that captures the true essence of the Beersel Lambic producing region. No beer (or wine) lover can refute the depth and purity of this bottled expression from the 134-year-old Drie Fonteinen brewery. If you want to raise the bar, show up with the 1.5L version and you will truly be the hero of the party!
Imperial Stout Samuel Smith
Style: imperial stout
A real classic, a perfect beer for the after-dinner party and I think it pairs really well with nuts and chocolate. Yes, it’s a filling beer, but it doesn’t take much. A few ounces shared with friends and family is enough.
Boon Brouwerij Kriek Perfect Marriage
I love bringing authentic fruity Belgian lambics to parties – that’s the brewer’s champagne in my book! Popping a 750ml bottle of fruity cork-finish bubbles is a great starter. If large sizes aren’t available, an arrangement of smaller 375ml bottles with a cork finish can be just as fun and offer some variety. One of my favorites is Boon Brouwerij Kriek Marriage Perfect – this beer features an incredible integration between well-aged, spontaneously fermented lambic and wild cherries. It’s strong by Lambic standards at 8% BAC, but not too tangy and funky, so as a result, it’s a crowd pleaser. Frank Boon is one of the world’s most respected brewers of these beers, and he passes his magical brewery down to his two sons Jos and Karel, who are just as passionate and connected to the process as their father.
Cantillon Lou Pepe Raspberry
Another fruity Lambic that will delight beer lovers is the Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise. This is a fine example of a raspberry Lambic with a little more funk but lots of delicious fruity character enhanced by natural bubbles from packaged bottles. If you ever visit this working brewery museum, located in the city of Brussels, you can only fall in love with beers.
Dupont With Good Wishes
Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux is the upscale version of the Dupont Season, and it always has its place at my Thanksgiving table. The name of the beer literally means “good wishes” and there’s no better way to show that feeling than at Thanksgiving. It’s a traditional Belgian season that’s a bit more funky and flavorful than the base Dupont season. The beer is flavorful enough to withstand big sides like salad dressing, macaroni and cheese, and sweet potatoes, but light enough that it doesn’t make you feel overly full.
Call me a traditionalist, but I’m a big fan of some classic beers. And when it comes time to pick one to bring to a friend’s party, especially those who know and appreciate great beer, it’s always a challenge. There are almost endless choices that would be welcome at a fancy dinner or beer tasting, so while there is no wrong answer here, I would be happy to bring a bottle of Raspberry. from Lindeman at the party. While it might not be the most breathtaking choice for some, this beer is easy to pair with a large main course or a good dessert, or just enjoy on its own. Fruity, not too tangy, slightly earthy, this is one of the classics, and still so impressive after all these years. Greet!
My favorite gift for the holiday season is Allagash’s Curieux. They’ve been making this Bourbon Barrel Aged Tripel for over 15 years, and it’s epic. It’s a beer with a lot of provenance and credibility in the industry to satisfy the demanding sensibilities of any beer geek and is relentlessly delicious – in case your host is kind enough to open it while you’re at it. It is particularly well suited for the holiday season as it pairs extremely well with a wide range of foods and is ideal for sipping while standing above a plate of cheese. So many good things here.
Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet
Looking to impress your guests with a fine beer? Look no further than the Tripel Karmeliet from Brasserie Bosteels in Belgium. This classic Tripel style has the effervescence of champagne and will pour with rich foam and deep golden color into a glass. Expect a nice balance of honey, ripe apple, pear, citrus, spice and delicate floral hints of hops in the aroma. On the palate, the sweet attack notes give way to a clean finish that is only slightly bitter.
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