Just the other day, as the wife was cooking up dinner I decided to open my very last seasonal beer. My last beer of Christmas, as you could call it was the Belgian 9% Abbaye Des Rocs Spéciale Noël, the beer I never got round to opening over Christmas (it was kind of a backup beer). A sweet centred Belgian strong ale with upfront carbonation and spicy mixed raisin like fruit notes. Worth getting again next Christmas I would say, but more memorable for how awesomely it pairs with sugar glazed ham and layered potatoes, my complements to my missus Helen for this one.
Firstly the gammon joint was boiled to remove it's salty edge before being simmered in cider with onion, cloves, bouquet garni and peppercorns. After this the ham was roasted with wholegrain mustard, cloves and dark brown sugar resting in more cider. Whatever liquid was left in the roasting tin was used as sauce.
It sure is delicious, and pairs effortlessly well with this beer. Upfront carbonation lifts the fat whilst the beer's sweet, spicy centre marries well with the sweetness of the glaze. Subtle spicyness is a big feature, and sweet clove notes really resonate together between the beer and the ham. In conclusion, it rocks even more than the Christmas dinner or Christmas pudding pairings of last year. As a bonus it was even picked at random (being one of those beers your sure you've tried before but can't remember) so a new resolution for this year is to keep up the beer-food pairing experimentation.