The holidays mean delicious food, and the only thing as exciting as that is having the license to couple said food with alcohol. Joy to the world! We enlisted Michael D. Isley, owner of Isley Brewing Company, | to give us expert pairing suggestions. Take his guidance to heart and eat, drink craft beer, and be even merrier than usual this season:
Baked brie: Dubbed “World’s Best Appetizer” by us just a few seconds ago, there’s no better way to get your guests to flock to the kitchen than by serving this dish…with an amazing beer. Isley recommends either their Blueberry Plain Jane, a Belgian White, or their famous Choosy Mother, a peanut butter porter. “The light bodied Belgian will please the palette and coordinate nicely with the creaminess of the brie,” Isley says. However, if you’re looking to fast forward a few courses (which we totally support), “the Porter will offer hints of chocolate, peanut butter, and oats, and will complement the richness of the brie, making it feel more like dessert.”
Beef tenderloin: Naturally, the only suitable mate for this fine food is something tall, dark, and…hopsome? Yes. Isley recommends their Tall, Dark, and Hopsome Double IPA as a fabulous mate for anything beefy. Although this 2014 award winner is “big, dark, and mysterious, with hops galore,” and has 8.1% ABV, it is still a very approachable beverage, and will look (and taste) great “standing up to beefy goodness.”
Gingerbread cookies: Hold the milk; pair these cookies with Isley’s new IPA, Wolfman’s Brother, and your smile could be comparable to the gingerbread man’s you’re about to bite off. Isley describes the hops used in this beer as “fruity with a touch of pine and pepper,” and the bitterness as mellow and light, which will provide a delicious balance to the cookie’s sweet and spicy flavor.
Honey baked ham: This traditional dish calls for an equally traditional beer: Isley’s Off the Boulevard Irish Red. “The beer has a light biscuit body, slight roastiness, and a clean, dry finish,” adds Isley. By pairing it with this easy drinking red ale, the dynamic sweet and salty flavors of the ham will be able to shine through.
Pumpkin pie: We’re proud advocates of pumpkin flavored everything, and we’re happy to say that Isley supports us. He recommends pairing this dessert with their Stunt Dubbel, a pumpkin Belgian Dubbel. The beer, just like the pie, has a smooth, rich mouth feel with pumpkin and spice flavors, and the lower carbonation leads to a mellow flavor as you drink. “The combination will be the ultimate pleasure for the senses to round out your holiday meal,” adds Isley.
Turkey and gravy: Let the star of the meal shine it’s rich, delicious light, and pair it with an easy drinking beer like Isley’s The Bribe, an Oatmeal Porter. This Porter has hints of coffee and chocolate, and although the beer looks heavy due to its dark color, Isley assures us that is it surprisingly light. “The oatmeal lightens up the body and makes it a very easy drinking beverage – the ultimate mid meal beer.”
Any other tasty food: Isley says that Isley Plain Jane, their Belgian White Ale, is a great match for most holiday cuisine. Slightly spiced with a citrusy aroma, this ale is full of personality, (and ironically, anything but plain) but it won’t overwhelm your palate when coupled with flavorful fare.
To try these pairings for yourself, head on over to Isley Brewing Company, where all of these beers are available in both 32 ounce and 64 ounce containers. Cheers!