Pairing beer and turkey

turkey and beer


Yes, you read about it first here at Molloys… we just love craft beers! As your friends and relatives make a welcome return from far-flung shores, it’s time to show off a bit, with a wealth of craft beers that have sprung up in the last year! We also love the fact that, unlike wine, each person can have their own, and also chop and change throughout the meal! I’m all for the season of giving & sharing, but beer’s different!

First-up, lagers are good all-rounders with most dishes. Avoid anything too hoppy, as it will more than likely overpower the juicy subtle flavours of turkey breast meat. Northbound Hop Series IPA 47 junkies (yes, we have some!)– get your fix on another day! Tom Creans, Peroni, James Boags (an Ozzie favourite), Sam Adams (for Stateside siblings) and last but not least, especially if you are having Crimbo beyond the Pale: Clever Man Atractor.

We would suggest something light and interesting to get the gastric juices flowing, and to go with the starter. Mild IPAs or American Pale Ales would be good choices, and we’ve loads to choose from. New in, we’ve Handwerk’s Friday – a good intro to mild IPA (and appropriate for Christmas, which is Friday this year!) Founder’s All Day is another easy-drinker. Tried & tested IPAs include  Bo Bristle, Lagunitas or Reel Deel’s Jack the Lad and Kinnegar Scraggy Bay.

Then move it up a notch as the turkey & ham make an appearance. Turkey on its own is mild in flavour and texture, even when pimped up with some streaky rashers and butter. However, it is accompanied by a serious squadron of diverse flavours including quite a bit of fruitiness (cranberry sauce), some sweetness (honeyed parsnips), some sweet spice (clove-studded ham), herby stuffing, some crunch (if someone has mastered the art of crisp & crunchy roast potatoes), as well as the controversial Brussels sprout (no adjective can describe this…). Bring it on! (feeling the rumble-tums?)

A malty brown ale, perhaps with some sweetness would be wonderful to stand up to this cacophony of flavours. Its maltiness mirrors the crispy skin (hopefully not too crispy!) of the turkey and the crisp roasties. Top beer and turkey matches are Bo Bristle Amber, Kinnegar Backbone Amber, Carrig Brazen Amber, and if you haven’t yet tried them: Brewdog 5am Saint and Jack Cody’s Smiggy Amber. We’ve some limited edition Mór Barleywine from 8 Degrees, as well as their Snow Eater Red IPA (lovely maltiness) - well worth getting the sleigh out and turbo-charging down to your local Molloys.

If your ham is your vice, and the ham has a good layer of fat, choose a pils to cut through the fattiness. Try Jack Cody’s Puck Pils, Lagunitas Pils or the classic Pilsner Urquell.

While traditionalists are sipping their after-dinner port, flip open an oatmeal or imperial stout. O’Hara’s Leann Folláin is a winner – try it with selection boxes and chocolate-y Yule logs – but limited quantity! If you’ve some nice Stilton, look out for some Christmas ale to wash it down.

Finally, it’s not over til it’s over…. leftover turkey & ham tend to be souped-up with pickles and chutneys, and can open the door for strong Belgian ales like Duvel.

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