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Fergus's Festive Favourites

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

Fergus, in Christmas-mode (well, we may have photoshopped it, slightly)It's that time of year again and Sarah has asked me if I could write a festive feature. As you may have guessed already I said 'of course', except I didn't want to write the normal beer and festive food match, I think by now you'll already know how to match beer to food (if not, may I suggest this book). This is a beer match to those occasions that we find ourselves in over the Christmas period. Tally-Ho1) It's Christmas Eve, your child has finally gone to sleep, but the slightest jingle of sleigh bells or crack of a roof tile under the sole of an arctic snow boot will see them bolt upright in bed. At this point the charming tradition your partner started of Santa magically exchanging your child's duvet for a brand new set every Christmas starts to feel badly thought-out. The duvet exchange itself is okay, just lift the old one off while the new one is being lowered, but swapping the matching pillow case is tricky and if you get it wrong the magic of Christmas comes crashing down. What you need is something to steady your nerves. Something that evokes the warming spirit of the Season, that gives you the that otherworldly courage of Kris Kringle himself. A sip of Tally-Ho it is. Adnams Sole Star2) It's Christmas Day, Merry Christmas! Or at least that's what you would say if it wasn't 2:30am and you hadn't just been woken up, having had 20 minutes sleep, to the high pitched shrieks of 'he's been, he's been!' As you sit cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by a pile of freshly shredded wrapping paper trying desperately to look excited and surprised, perhaps a small glass of Sole Star might be just the thing to reawaken your spirits. Okay, it is quite early, perhaps too early for a beer, even one at 2.7% abv… or actually, is it early or is it really late? Adnams Ghost Ship can3) You've made it through the early hours, you may even have managed some breakfast and peeled some sprouts but now, sleep deprived, you are tasked by a diminutive sergeant major-type to construct a complex model using only small interlocking pieces of plastic, known to its victims as LEGO. A steady hand and a focused mind are required, but your mind is a fog. What better way to clear the decks spiritually and organoleptically than a can of Ghost Ship. Adnams Sole Bay Celebratory Beer4) Right, it's time to pass around the presents, you know, the ones you bought, not the ones Santa dropped round. These are the ones you'll actually get the credit, or the blame, for. The next few minutes will decide whether you're really going to have a Merry Christmas. It's too late to do anything about the bunny rabbits on the gift wrapping, you'll have to pass them off as Australian reindeer, but you can still set the scene and get everyone in the right mood, so break out the Sole Bay Celebratatory beer, pass round a few chilled flutes and chillax (or whatever awful word we're using by then). Jack Brand Dry Hopped Lager5) The presents have gone well and dinner has been devoured, apart from the Christmas pudding, because there is always too much Christmas pudding. Some of you may be asleep on the couch, but the kids are still running around like particles in a small hadron collider. There's only one thing for it, get the television on and watch whatever family-friendly blockbuster you can find, the more stomach-churningly cute the better, but while the room fills with the stench of goodwill open a bottle or two of Jack Brand Dry Hopped Lager and delight in its peachy aromas and crisp dry finish. Jack Brand Innovation6) Christmas Day is over, everyone had a nice time and now it's Boxing Day, or Stephen's day, either way it's a whole different day. This time the relatives are dropping by, inevitably, despite everyone agreeing they will only be buying presents for the children this year, someone has gone and bought you something. This was expressly forbidden but there was no formal written agreement, and arguing with someone trying to give you a present is unreasonably seen as rude. You're going to look thoughtless and miserly unless you can hand over something - and look, what's that in your hand? A glass of Jack Brand Innovation, hoppy, spicy, luxurious. Why you spoil us, sir. Disaster averted, reputation intact. Thank you, beer. 7) Christmas and boxing day are done, you've even been back to work for a few days and everything has returned to normal. The box marked 'Festivities' is ticked for another year, but wait, it's not finished yet, what's this... New Year's Eve! Ah, New Years. For some, it's the tradition of celebrating the successful circumnavigation of a pale blue dot around a flaming ball of gas, whilst the inhabitants of the blue dot hang on and make promises about giving up things. For my younger self, an opportunity to pay three times the normal price to get into a place I couldn’t stand, where I had no choice but to stand because there wasn't any room. Now it’s a chance to catch up with a small group of friends and what better beer to match to that than the best beer in the world… the one you share with friends. If you have any beer matching suggestions, add them below. Cheers


Fergus Fitzgerald