Thirsty Pilgrims Knew the Possibilities of Pairing Beer With Holiday Meal

HOUSTON, November 7, 2006 -- Saint Arnold Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewery in Texas, has a tip for those who want an authentic holiday meal: pair the feast with craft beer. According to the diaries of those on the Mayflower, one of the reasons they chose to land at Plymouth Rock was that they ran out of beer. "Our victuals being much spent, especially our beer," read one diary entry.

That may have been the last time America''s settlers ran short of beer. They soon learned from their Native American neighbors how to make beer from maize and most likely enjoyed beer at the first Thanksgiving. Saint Arnold Brewing Company says any authentic holiday meal deserves a fresh, flavorful craft beer.

"Saint Arnold and other American craft brewers offer a terrific variety of styles and flavors, making beer a superior alternative to wine," said Saint Arnold founder Brock Wagner, who serves on the board of directors of the Brewers Association. "Everything from appetizers to the final slice of pumpkin pie can be enhanced by the right selection of a fine brew."

At any given time, Saint Arnold Brewing Company has five year-round brews along with a seasonal offering on store shelves. The brewery recently shipped Saint Arnold Christmas Ale, which is available on tap and in 12-ounce bottles sold in six-packs and cases. It is available throughout Texas at grocery and liquor stores, bars and restaurants.

The best beverage to pair with any food ultimately depends not just on the main ingredient, but the herbs, spices, preparation and accompanying dishes as well. The trick, says Wagner, is to pair delicate foods with delicate beers, such as Saint Arnold Texas Wheat or Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer. Foods prepared with earthy herbs such as sage do well with hoppy beers like Saint Arnold Amber Ale and Saint Arnold Elissa IPA. Richer fare can be paired nicely with bigger beers, such as Saint Arnold Christmas Ale or Saint Arnold Brown Ale.

"Caramel, toasted grain, coffee and even chocolate flavors prevail in certain beer styles, making it easy to pair with traditional holiday fare," said Wagner. "The fun part is experimenting and discovering the many ways beer flavors marry with different foods better than wine."

Wagner offers the following tips for serving beer during the holidays:

  • Buy fresh. Be sure to buy beers made by American craft brewers. This will ensure that you are getting fresh, flavorful beer produced with pride right here in the USA.
  • Use pitchers. Present the beer in a way that encourages sharing. A perfect way to do this is to pour bottles into a glass or clear plastic pitcher that can be passed around the table. Just don''t put out too much beer at one time: one to one-and-a-half beers per person should be enough beer on the table at the beginning of the meal.
  • Options are nice. Just as some like dark meat and some like white meat, you''ll find that some of your dinner companions may prefer one style while the others go for something different. Offering two different choices can help to keep everyone happy.
  • Glassware matters. While pint glasses are perfect for the pub, brewers have long used stemware for special beers. A thistle glass or "old-fashioned" glass is great if you have it, but wine glasses work well too. Otherwise, small glass tumblers that hold six to eight ounces have a pleasant feel to them and still help to mark the meal as a special occasion.

About Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Saint Arnold Brewing''s ten brews are made and sold by the company''s staff of 15 dedicated employees. The brewery is located at 2522 Fairway Park Drive and its free brewery tour and tasting is offered every Saturday at 1:00 P.M. For more information on Saint Arnold''s five year-round and five seasonal beers as well as root beer, log on to