“I love matching food with beer. I genuinely believe it’s a superior pairing to wine.” Dan Keane, head chef at Stack A restaurant at Urban Brewing in the Dublin docklands, knows that’s a big statement to make.
But he’s convinced it’s true – so convinced that he’s put together a selection of beers that he reckons go perfectly with a traditional Christmas dinner.
“Historically Ireland is a beer-making country over a wine-consuming country – it's part of our heritage,” he says. “You can absolutely match your Christmas dinner with beer.”
Here are Keane’s suggestions for the big meal.
For chicken liver pâté with caramelised red onion and toast
Pair with a tradition lambic beer with a fruit component, as the acidity and high carbonation will help cut through the fat in the pâté, cleansing the palate and making each mouthful taste like the first. The fruit element adds a different dimension which enhances the starter as a whole.
For roast turkey and ham with all the trimmings
Pair with a saison due to their smoother texture, slightly higher carbonation, and slight taste of herbs and spices. A saison compliments this main course on many levels by enhancing the sweet ham, cutting through rich potato gratin and complimenting herby stuffing.
For brandy-flamed Christmas pudding with crème anglaise
It would be very easy to pair this with a stout, but instead, I’m going to suggest a red ale, as its deep caramel flavours will enhance the sweetness of the dried fruit in the pudding.