Seasonal Beer and Food for the Holidays – A Perfect Pairing
Seasonal beer sales are on fire right now and the Brewers Association, the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, has a web site and brand database dedicated to information on seasonal beers. Right now seasonal beers are the number one selling craft beer style, and information on fall and winter seasonals, and the food they pair with, are on the minds of many going into the holiday season. In a recent Brandweek article The Nielsen Company stated seasonal beer sales were up 29% in dollar sales.
“The web site, SeasonalBeerAndFood.org, is for beverage and food lovers interested in trying different beers at different occasions and seeing what food these beers pair with,” stated Julia Herz, a spokesperson for the Brewers Association.
Styles of seasonal beers for the Fall and Winter include:
- Marzen/Oktoberfest – Originally referred to as Marzen meaning March, these are brewed in the spring and aged, and then tapped in the Fall. In Germany, they are known for being fermented in caves in March and intended for tapping at the end of summer. This is an amber lager originally created in 1840. It is a classic malt-based beer that has good body and complexity, and averages 5% alcohol by volume. Food Pairings: Marzen matches the flavors in meat dishes like roasted pork tenderloin and pot roast.
- Pumpkin Beers – Ah, pumpkin beers! This style features the best of a very versatile ingredient of the season, pumpkin. Pumpkin beers come in all styles, flavors and strengths and can be ales or lagers. The final beer is based on the brewer’s choice and vision. Enjoying your local brewer’s interpretation is definitely a worthy way of ringing in the Fall. Food Pairings: Depending on the brand it may go well with pork chop, roasted corn and chicken chowder and pumpkin pie.
- Harvest Ales – Featuring local ingredients or ingredients of the season, Fall Harvest Beers can be wet hopped (hops are added straight from the field), have freshly malted grain, and more. These beers are usually stronger in alcohol to help warm the pipes and traditionally feature ingredients that are harvested in Autumn. Food Pairings: Fresh hop beers, for example, are wonderful with strong, rich food like fettuccini alfredo, and also are great with bold, sweet desserts.
- Winter and Christmas Ales – These beers are best enjoyed by the fire with a loved one. They are usually bigger in body and mouthfeel and are very warming, making them perfect for a cold, snowy day. In addition to malt, wheat, and other fermentables, Winter Ales often feature spices and herbs. These beers are perfect for making a memory, and are full of get-to-know-me tastes, flavors and aromas that linger. Food Pairings: Try with hearty red meat dishes and wild game, strong cheeses, dark chocolate and caramel desserts.
Visit www.seasonalbeer.org to view all the seasonals listed searchable by state availability. All information in the database is direct from the breweries.
Based in Boulder, Colo., U.S.A., the Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade and education association for American craft brewers and the community of beer enthusiasts. Visit the website: www.beertown.org to learn more. The association’s activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festival sm ; Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; American Craft Beer Week (May); Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of 17,000+ homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association.