Craft Beer and Holiday Cheer

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By Natalie Cange

It’s no secret that during the holiday’s people are more likely to give in to indulgences. And while stuffing yourself with signature holiday fare such as turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, decadent pies and other sweet treats is par for the course from Thanksgiving through the New Year, it seems a new player may be stepping onto the holiday scene — craft beer.

There are plenty of local breweries around Boulder with an array of beers to cater to different taste buds. And this year they’ve prepped and stocked for the upcoming holiday season and winter months, ready to appeal to the public’s penchant for holiday spirit, craft beer style.

From Avery Brewing Company, West Flanders Brewing Company, FATE Brewing Company, Mountain Sun Brewery and even Shine, there is a diverse collection of local seasonal beers to indulge in this holiday season.

While it seems beers on the darker end of the spectrum such as stouts and porters are always a hit during the winter months, pumpkin flavored ales, dark IPA’s and saisons are popular during this time at breweries around Boulder as well.

“Part of the fun of drinking all these different craft beers is pairing them with different flavors and foods,” said Erin Casey, a bartender at West Flanders.

“I especially like saisons during this time of year, they go well with everything, but I sort of imagine having it with a really savory vegetable stuffing,” Casey said.

Saisons are generally highly carbonated with a “fruity yet slightly peppery profile” that make them a great match with a variety of different foods and a favorite during this time as well.

Porters and stouts pair well with roasted meats and desserts, which makes them a popular pairing with holiday fare. These beers can also be used with your feast in a less traditional way.

“With turkey I’d say a stout or a porter would go well because it’s a really heavy beer with some really strong characteristics. You could even make a gravy out of a beer like that if you wanted, for the turkey you could brine it with a stout or a porter,” said Ross Selese, a bartender at West Flanders Brewing Company.

At FATE, there are currently 16 core beers on tap, 10 of which are seasonal brews at the moment.

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“The most popular beers during this time definitely have to be the Chai Pumpkin Saison, the Pumpkin Ale, and the Cocoa Coffee Stout. The Saison is my favorite though, ours is super unique,” says Chris Gentry, an employee at FATE Brewing Company.

However, not everyone in Boulder will be celebrating the holidays with fancy feasts and drinks. Gentry, despite working at one of Boulder’s most popular breweries, said on Thanksgiving he’ll be drinking “a PBR and playing video games — if I’m lucky, maybe a 20 count of McNuggets.”

For those who do plan on having a more traditional holiday experience this year, Erin Casey from Fate Brewing Company suggests pairing seasonal ale’s or IPAs, which all have “crisp flavors” with customary side dishes such as “green beans, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and any other veggies you might be having.”

Justin Adkins, the assistant general manager at Mountain Sun said “stout season” is their busiest time of year. “We have kind of a cult following when it comes to our stouts,” he says.

Adkins enjoys having his stouts with a nice piece of pie. If you are still left wondering about which beers will go well with your holiday feast, then refer to the graphic below.

So if your holiday plans seem a little monotonous or routine this year, try having a local craft beer while you stuff your face surrounded by friends and family. And if all else fails and you’re still not satisfied, at least craft beer has higher alcohol content.

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