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Wednesday Food: Holiday Beer Pairing Part 1

I thought I’d celebrate the mouth-watering season of winter and holiday ale with four posts of recommended pairings.

This week we begin with 2º Below Winter Ale, from New Belgium.  Though not the highest-rated of holiday ales, it is one of the more ubiquitous, and therefore a good starting point.  I like that they went with an ESB for their winter special– not a heavily spiced ale, which so marks this brew season.  It pours golden amber with a fluffy, ivory head, and gives off a medium, well-carbonated body.  The flavor is a nutty malt, with a slight earthy bitterness and floral hop background.  Alcohol content is 6.6%, higher than it tastes and very drinkable.  It also makes for an affordable party favor selection.

One of the nice features of the New Belgium website is that they enlist a variety of chefs to suggest food pairings for their different beers.  While their year-round offerings are pretty mediocre (excluding a number from the Lips of Faith series) and distinguishable by trademark malt-forwardness, providing an online resource for matching food with styles is a nice convenience.

I paired 2º Below with Korean barbecued beef and a quick cucumber kimchi.  Neither food nor beer overpowered the other, and the refreshing taste of hops cut into the spice and umami of the slightly sweet beef.  The recipe came from Jenny Kwak’s Dok Suni: Recipes from my Mother’s Korean Kitchen, a book I would definitely take some time to page through.  The kimchi was a little disappointing because it was basically just cucumber salad, though I suppose that’s exactly what kimchi is without time to ferment.

Which seasonal beers do you most look forward to this time of year?

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December 1, 2010 - Posted by | Wednesday Food

6 Comments

  1. I left a half gallon of dried fruit macerating in a bowl of rum all day, and am tempted to just eat that for dinner. Not sure of the appropriate beer pairing.

    Comment by jms | December 1, 2010

  2. Something light.

    Comment by ben | December 2, 2010

  3. OMG. I want that Korean Kitchen book. This all sounds heavenly!

    Comment by Hill | December 2, 2010

  4. jms, sounds like a shot of bourbon will do you right.

    Comment by ebolden | December 2, 2010

  5. ebolden, it’s like you were there.

    Comment by jms | December 2, 2010

  6. I dare say we’d get along just fine.

    Comment by ebolden | December 2, 2010


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