It took a few years for most of us to either realize or be told that Santa doesn’t exist*. But it probably took us even less time to realize that the milk and cookies being left out are actually consumed by us parents OR we who enjoy leaving a beer and cookies out on a nightly basis. If they have to be eaten, might as well put out the good stuff, right? Here is a nowhere close to exhaustive list of beer and cookie pairings for the upcoming holiday.
Hardywood Gingerbread Porter and Ginger Snaps
If we are being honest, I love gingerbread. I don’t go as far as making it the focal point of all my Christmas libations, but I do partake. I do recognize ginger can be overpowering, which is why I went for something roastier like a porter rather than just a spiced ale. Hardywood literally has made a name for themselves on the backs of their gingerbread beers. What I enjoy about this particular iteration is the exclusion of lactose in the final product. That keeps the bite of the ginger in the beer, while the wildflower honey and dark malts elevates the natural flavors of (what is probably) a $5 bag of gingersnaps.
Toppling Goliath Holidotz and Thumbprint Cookies
We are going to take this one in another direction. Rather than the spiced world of gingerbread, we are going to dive into the fruitier side of Christmas (with the exception of that weird aunt of yours’s fruit cake…yuck). Thumbprint cookies are basic on the surface: shortbread filled with a jammy surprise in the middle. Shortbread is really the star of the show, with its sweet and rich flavor. What we will want to do is pair a beer like Holidotz with it. A lager (which is RARE for winter beers) that teems with cranberry, apple, and cinnamon. It’s clean enough that it won’t overpower the shortbread flavor, and pairs perfectly with the fruity middle.
Lagunitas Unrefined Shugga’ And Supreme Detroit Style Pizza
Why pizza? With the years going by and our waistlines getting larger, we may as well cut out that processed sugar and have a meal once Tiny Tim goes to bed. Don’t let the name fool you. Brown Shugga is an IPA wrapped in a balanced body. This amped up barleywine version takes that to the next level with a touch more sweetness from the use of cane sugar. Now for the pizza. If you have never had Detroit Style pizza, hop on the bandwagon and make it a staple (shoutout Little Beast in Washington, DC). This pizza is somewhere between the most known New York/New Jersey Style and Chicago Style. Denser, yet with a very light crust, this pie needs a bigger beer to match with. The addition of toppings like sweet peppers, caramelized onions, woody mushrooms, and (if you must) sausage, the earthy flavors play perfectly with deeper malt flavors of the beer.
In summation, remember: Christmas is only a kids’ holiday if you let it be. Control the narrative. Have a beer.
*apologies if I’m breaking the news to you