This morning I chatted about holiday brews with CBC radio show hosts from Cornerbrook, Newfoundland to Vancouver B.C. —— sharing my top turkey brews, what to open with holiday pudding, and bottles for poppin’ on New Year’s Eve.

Beer brings one thing to the table that wine can not —— bubbles! Its effervescence literally scrubs your palate of rich, sticky fare.  So I challenge you to surprise guests with a beer at the table this festive season. 

The microbrew revolution means it’s nearly impossible to taste what’s happening from coast to coast, so I tapped some experts for their locavore recommendations —— and I’m sharing them all for you here, just in time for that last-minute beer run. Thanks to Joe Wiebe, author of Craft Beer Revolution, a guide to B.C.’s craft breweries, for his B.C. selections. In Quebec, I tapped two experts, Bernie Houde, owner of Montreal’s Alexandraplatz and Yan Lortie, a Beer Sommelier who writes a French-language blog on food and beer. Edmonton beer columnist, Jason Foster, for some local picks —— check out his musings OnBeer.org. And in Halifax, Andrew Connell, co-owner of Bar Stillwell.

So Canada, put the turkey on, and stick your bottles outside and let’s make this a Very Beery Christmas!

Best Turkey Beer

I always reach for a Belgian-style saison —— it’s peppery and herbaceous with a bone dry finish plus it’s got champagne-like bubbles for tongue-scrubbin’. Aw yeah.

What to Buy:

Across the country: Sofie, from Chicago’s Goose Island is available in most provinces.

In Nova Scotia: Big Spruce’s Cold Remedy on tap at select bars and possibly some growler stations at private stores.

Wild Card: In Newfoundland, saisons are hard to find, so grab Yellow Belly’s Cranberry Apple Cider.

In Quebec: Brasserie Dunham The Resurrection of Broderus, Flacatoune from Microbrasserie de Charlevoix.

In Ontario: Bellwoods Brewery Farmaggedon Brett-Barrel Aged, at their retail shop. Or head to Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing for their Earl Grey Marmalade Saison.

In Alberta & B.C: Driftwood’s Farmhand Ale from Victoria B.C, Category 12 Brewing’s Simplicity Ale, and Four Winds Brewing Saison for a citrusy hop take.

Best with Holiday Ham

Choose ales with caramelized, lightly roasted notes, sweet and spicy Belgian triples, or crisp, toasty lagers —— these malt-forward brews will tease out the ham’s caramelized crackling and smoke and their sweeter centres contrast with the savoury, salty hog.

What to Buy:

In Newfoundland: Quidi Vidi Honey Brown.

In Nova Scotia: Glenora Barrel Aged Strong Dark Belgian by North Brewing  available at their Halifax location and new Dartmouth spot as well as the private stores throughout the province.

In Quebec: Les Trois Mousqueteries Oktoberfest, 26 from Farham Ale & Lager, Microbrasserie Charlevoix’s Dominus Vobicum Triple.

In Ontario: Black Oak Nut Brown Ale, Stack Brewing Les Portes de L’Enfer.

In Alberta and B.C.: Alley Kat Amber Ale, Smoked Dunkelweizen from New Westminster’s Steel & Oak Brewing.

Best with Dessert

For dark chocolate, fruit cake and fruit-based desserts, I reach for coffee-and-chocolate forward stouts and porters. Next to strong cheeses like stilton, or grandma’s rum cake, I reach for a port-like brew —— a Vintage Ale or Barley Wine.

What to Buy:

In Newfoundland: Mill Street Vanilla Porter, Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout

In Nova Scotia: U-889 from Boxing Rock, Smorter by Tatamagouche.

In Quebec: St. Ambroise Vintage Ale, St. Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout

In Ontario: Grand River Russian Gun Imperial Stout, Wellington Russian Imperial Stout, Mill Street Barley Wine, Forked River Weendigo.

In B.C. Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine, Driftwood Blackstone Porter, Mill Street Barley Wine

Best for New Years Eve

The great thing about beer is that no matter how fancy you get, it’s a democratic beverage. For under $20 you can buy the best beer in its class, choose a celebratory bottle that’s got champagne-like bubbles, and maybe even a cork and cage, and suddenly you’ve brought the best bottle to the party.

What to Buy:

In Newfoundland: Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus, Microbrasserie Charlevoix.

Nova Scotia: Stillwell Two available at Brewing North’s retail locations, Bishop’s Cellar and on tap at Stillwell.

In Quebec: 8e Jour Microbrasserie Charlevoix, Célébrante from Brasseur du monde.

In Ontario: New Lang Syne by Beau’s

In Alberta: Westmalle Triple, or be different and bring a Cyser (a blend of apple cider and mead) from Fallen Timber Meadery.

In B.C. Dagerrad Brewing’s Anno 2016.