Central Market's Justin Vann on His 5 Favorite Holiday Beers

Now that is a festive-looking beer.
Now that is a festive-looking beer.

Two weeks ago, we featured our favorite local beers to take home for the Thanksgiving holidays.

This week, we turn to Central Market's beer badass Justin Vann for his thoughts on the five best craft beers for the holidays. You might know Vann from Central Market's aisles, or you might know him as the mad genius behind the beverage blog Weapons Grade.

The beers Vann selected for us will do double-duty for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, and function equally well for enjoying on your own as much as they make great as party gifts for a host. Cheers.

5. Liefman's Goudenband

Vann says: "Look just hear me out, maybe a Belgian sour brown ale wasn't the first thing you thought of when you started looking for holiday beer, but I can't recommend this highly enough. Holiday food always does well with a splash of acid (cranberry sauce), so why not add alcohol to that equation and call it a day? This would be especially good with any duck situations. For those unburdened with an irrational hatred of fruit beer, try the Cuvee Brut- Leifman's dry cherry beer."

4. Eastcider's "Gold Top" Cider

Says Vann: "Cider has a natural affinity for pork, and so does Houston in the throes of the holidays. I think we should be drinking more cider, and this holds especially true now. However this is a special cider, made in the UK (until its Texas cidery is built) from both English heirloom and Texas apples. Made in a dry English style, Gold Top is more complex than the ubiquitous macro-ciders we see everywhere. Cider will go well with a lot of other holiday dishes, but honey-glazed ham and cider is an earth-shattering pairing you must try at least once. Also don't forget: Cider is naturally gluten free. Throw the Redbridge in the trash and upgrade to the king of gluten-free booze."

3. Rochefort 8

Says Vann: "Oh man, Rochefort is available in Texas again! Now that we need no longer get this beer on the black market, its time to stop hoarding it and start drinking it with food. This is your option when you feel like drinking a rich, opulent beer with a dish of similar weight. Rochefort comes in three strengths: 6, 8 and 10. Since I have to choose only one, I think the 8 is the most versatile. It's rich enough to handle sweets, but it won't overwhelm savory dishes either (as long as they're heavy). Think about it, Belgian strong ale and pumpkin pie. Maybe try it with good fruitcake, if there is such a thing."

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