Barley + Rye: Four beer pairings for your holiday meal

Have a heady Christmas with Hop City
Mina Holliday, Hop City Beer & Wine

You love your Grandma. You crave the ham. No one feels the need to justify why there are so many pies. Still, there are a number of connoisseurs and novice fans alike who understand that Christmas dinner and the festive spirit require drinking a healthy selection of beer.
Delicious, flavorful beer. No one’s knocking the Burgundy. But Christmas dinner is the stuff beer pairings are made of. To that end, I connected with Mina Holliday, the “raconteur of refreshment” at West Midtown’s Hop City Craft Beer & Wine, for her take on bringing perfect pairings to your dining table.

Since 2009, the nationally reputed shop has cultivated a loyal following by offering a wide assortment of products—about 1,800 beers and 1,100 wines—sold by engaging staff members, in an easy-to-navigate layout organized by style. The store hosts weekly tastings across the street at Octane Coffee almost every Wednesday night, and their homebrew classes Saturday afternoons are for those green to grain and the more experienced. The beer and wine haven offers pairing collaborations with some of the city’s favorite dining destinations: Bocado, The Optimist, and JCT Kitchen are upcoming events.

Holliday’s selections include bottled varieties and one draft option from Growlertown, a colorful wall inside the store that showcases up to sixty brews on tap, just waiting to go home in your 32-ounce or 64-ounce growler. Go forth and drink beer. And, Merry Christmas.

Bosteels DeuS Brut de Flanders (Belgium)
“Everyone knows the best way to begin an evening is with some bubbles. What better start than a little-known-but-fabulous (Biere de) Champagne. Bright and effervescent with hints of vanilla and citrus fruit, this will pair well with cheeses or a variety of amuse-bouches.”

Three Taverns Feest Noel (Decatur, GA)
“Growlers are perfect for big family gatherings, and the draft-only Christmas offering from the freshmen brewery Three Taverns is a great accompaniment. Feest Noel is dark but not too dark, deftly spiced but not overdone.This Belgian-style Noel has hints of caramel toastiness, and as it begins to warm, it shines when combined with rich holiday fare.”

Sixpoint 3Beans (New York, NY)
“Why drink just coffee, when you can have your beer, too? Made with romano and cacao beans, plus cold-brewed Stumptown coffee, 3Beans is dark without being heavy, with a bitter lushness that could stand up to both spiced desserts and richer chocolate.”

Goose Island Gillian (Chicago, IL)
“Call me crazy but I firmly believe that no beer meal is complete without a sour beer. Gillian is a complex, delicious farmhouse sour aged in a variety of wine barrels, then blended with strawberries, honey, and white pepper. The strawberries are present, but the sweetness has mellowed with age. The rich wine and oak flavors come through next, with hints of honey. Lastly, you get just a bit of pepper, enough to leave you wanting more. There are layers and layers to discover with this beer, and the joy is in that journey.”

Hop City Craft Beer and Wine is located at 1000 Marietta Street, Suite 302, 404.350.9998.