When Don Farion and business partner Dean Mallel opened the first BierCraft Restaurant on Commercial Drive over a decade ago, they had no idea they were on the leading edge of a trend that would one day see Vancouver labelled as “The Craft Beer Capital of Canada.”
Now, the addition of two more BierCraft locations and the opening of Bomber Brewing has Farion as impassioned as ever to share his love of great food and even better beer. With a history of palate-enlightening Beer Dinners and three consecutive “Cicerone vs. Sommelier” wins, Farion is Vancouver’s reigning champion of Beer Pairing.
As a Certified Cicerone, talented chef, and accomplished brewer, he’s the perfect person to give us some beer pairing tips and tricks for some classic holiday favourites.
1. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing
Something malt forward but dry and clean, a Marzen or Brown Ale would be perfect. Perhaps the Bomber Marzen or Hardy Brown from Moody Ales.
2. Glazed ham
Always great with a light smoked beer, try a German Rauchbier or Steel & Oak’s Smoked Hefeweizen.
3. Minced meat pies
An Abbey Dubbel, such as the Grimbergen Dubbel or Cuvee Van de Kaiser.
4. Brussel sprouts, spinach, chard, or kale
Green vegetables are difficult to stomach for some people, and they can be equally difficult to pair. Black Lager works well, so go with Steel & Oak’s Dark Lager or Asahi Black.
5. Pumpkin or sweet potato pie
Go with a spicy, complex strong beer – try Rochefort 10 or a big Barleywine, like Apex from Bomber or Phillip’s Trainwreck.
6. Christmas pudding or fruit cake
Something big and malty, like a Barleywine, Dopplebock, or Belgian Dark Strong. Paulaner Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator, or St. Bernardus ABT 12.
7. Yule log
Definitely Chocolate Porter – perhaps Longboat by Phillips or Bomber Choqlette Porter.
Unsurprisingly, Winter Ales and Christmas Spiced Beers pair effortlessly with gingerbread. Anchor Christmas Ale and The Grinch from Bridge Brewing are two of my favourites.
9. Mint and chocolate
Finish strong with an Imperial Stout, like Driftwood’s Singularity or Parallel 49’s Imperial Stout.