Beer Tips for the Holidays

From left: © Jack Muldowney, The Hop Review,; © Melinda Jane Myers
Rebekah Graham from The Publican in Chicago shares her beer wisdom for the holidays.

The über–beverage coordinator of Chicago’s beer-and-pork epicenter, Rebekah Graham is a wine sommelier, a certified Cicerone Beer Server (all of the waitstaff at The Publican are) and an avid home brewer. Her beer list offers 60 to 70 options at any given time. “The idea is that we can get you to try something you’ve never tried before,” Graham says. “If you say you want an amber ale, for example, we might guide you to a Belgian version.”


Belgian and Half-and-Half
At Westmalle, a Trappist brewery, there’s a tradition of mixing equal parts tripel (a strong blond ale) and dubbel (a milder brown ale). “The result is highly aromatic and robust,” Graham says.

Rosemary Ale + Smoky Lager
Graham combines these two for a savory blend that’s great with a cheese plate. Try the La Socarrada rosemary ale with Schlenkerla Helles, a smoked German lager.

Cherry Lambic + Chocolate Stout
“Chocolate and cherry are such a classic match,” Graham says. “The tangy lambic lightens the stout; the stout lends depth to the lambic.”Home brewing for me is like jazz,” Graham says. “I always start with a simple plan but end up going to the cupboard to add things like chiles and chocolate.”


  • Oysters + saison
  • Ham + IPA
  • Roast beef + porter


To preserve the fizz in an open bottle of beer, Graham likes the Hermetus sealer. From $10;

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