My Kind of Beer with Chris Goddard
HOLIDAY SEASON PRIMER
The holiday party season is here and with it comes no shortage of opportunities to enjoy a cup of cheer, indulge in some delicious treats and connect with friends and family. To make sure that you are all set up for success you should partake in a little holiday season prepping before things get too crazy out there.
The Beer Pantry — I never like to be caught short when it comes to my beer fridge at any time of the year but especially during the holiday season. Our friends tend to be quite spontaneous so I always need to buy a few extra beers when I’m out just to make sure I’m well stocked.
As any regular reader knows, I keep a very nice selection of craft beer in my fridge for my guests but I do also stock a handful of European lagers — especially during the holidays. They are easy for my domestic drinking friends to enjoy and you can usually pick some great brands up for a pretty decent price. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a big selection of stouts, sporters and stronger ales hitting the LCBO shelves right now that would make a nice counter-point to the lagers. They can also double as a host gift if you decide to pop in at a friend’s house.
I also like to drop by my local fine food purveyor to pick up one or two cheeses to keep on hand. Usually something in the old cheddar category that pairs nicely with IPAs (or other hoppy beers) as well as something from the gouda family to match up with my slightly darker ales and perhaps a blue cheese to tame my stouts and porters. It’s always great to have a soft cheese, like brie (or something a little stinky) but some don’t keep as well as the harder cheeses so you should save them for the planned visits.
A-Caroling We Will Go — You can’t always host — sometimes you have to be the guest! If you have done the prepping above you are already well on your way to being a good guest. You should be able to call an Uber, grab some beers from the basement and be out the door in five minutes. But a good guest doesn’t just show up with a few tins clattering around in a bag, they show up prepared with a host gift. Just a small token of appreciation. For me, these gifts don’t need to be big or expensive but they should be thoughtful. My go-to is a nice Belgian quad. There are a ton of very limited release ones that hit the shelves in November and December in the range of $15 or less that are big enough to be kept in your cellar for a good long time so you don’t have to worry about them going stale. The seasonal quads don’t last long on the shelves of the LCBO so snag up a few interesting ones when you see them — you probably won’t get a second chance to grab them.