Prepare for a winter of sweet content by pairing four James Squire craft beers with recipes that are perfect for the colder months
James Squire

11 Jul 2014 - 11:30 AM  UPDATED 24 Jul 2014 - 2:50 PM

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you’ll understand when I say that Ned Stark was right – winter IS coming, and preparation is key. Unlike the world of Westeros, however, we needn’t worry about White Walkers or feuding kings – rather we should turn our attention inwards. And by inwards, I mean specifically our stomachs.

Night falls more quickly, it’s harder to get out of bed in the morning and, let’s face it, TV is way better in the colder months. As a result, you may find yourself spending less time enjoying a James Squire craft beer or cider while out and about and much more time snuggled up at home – but that doesn’t mean your gastronomic adventures must come to a halt.

In fact, winter is the perfect opportunity to give free rein to your culinary creativity and let your imagination run wild as you craft a feast that can only be improved with a craft beer match. That’s because winter brings with it the opportunity for more complex, hearty flavours.

Here are four food and James Squire craft beer pairings perfect for thawing your bones...

James Squire Jack of Spades Porter and stew
If you haven’t got a slow cooker, take your right hand, lower it to your waist, form a fist and bring it swiftly upwards to deliver yourself a well-deserved upper-cut. Slow cookers are the single greatest cooking invention known to man, requiring a ridiculously low amount of effort from you in order to create a delicious, tender meal from seemingly boring ingredients.

Don’t underestimate how delicious a cheap cut of meat and some vegies can taste after being gently roasted all day while you’re at work. Plus, you get to arrive home to your house smelling delicious.

For a pairing made in wintry heaven, try this slow-cooker barbecue pork stew with a James Squire Jack of Spades Porter. The caramel, toffee undertones of this craft beer work perfectly with the smoky, robust flavours of the pork. Winner.

James Squire The Constable Copper Ale and roast lamb
For some reason, many people are terrified of roasting meat. This is all the more baffling when you consider that it’s literally a two-step process – you put the meat in the oven, then take it out again some time later. Maybe it’s to do with getting the timing right and the potential for over-cooking, but the way some people baulk at the thought of cooking a roast, you’d think it involved heading out to the paddock to slaughter said roasting beast, rather than simply nipping to the supermarket to grab a pre-marinated version with detailed instructions on the back.

However, this common misconception that cooking a roast is in some way challenging can actually work in your favour. The next time you have people over and serve them up a classic Sunday dinner, they’ll be so overwhelmed by your culinary prowess they’ll rave for months!

If you’re looking for a fool-proof roast recipe, try this roast lamb idea and serve it with a James Squire The Constable Copper Ale. The crystal malts in the beer will make the richness of your lamb sing, while the hoppy flavours will provide a bit of balance to your roast’s heaviness.

James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale and pesto pasta
Nothing says comfort food like a really good Italian dish, and when it’s cold and grey outside a hot, steamy bowl of pasta is the perfect balm for a chilly soul. While spaghetti Bolognese is always a winner, you know you can do better. In fact, you owe it to yourself to branch out from the same dish you’ve been making since your uni days and add some contrast to your pasta repertoire.

This rocket and pumpkin pesto pasta is hearty without being heavy, and it’s perfect for when you have your veggo friends over. Paired with James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale, the spicy freshness of the rocket will leap out of the dish at you, while the toffee notes of the beer will balance the tanginess. Top with copious amounts of Parmesan cheese, obviously.

James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider and pork, apple and cider pie
There’s a perception that cider is a summery sort of drink, when in fact it’s an ideal year-round tipple that is rapidly gaining favour amongst Aussie craft beer aficionados. Like craft beer, there are levels of style, complexity, taste and aroma to be explored and savoured, with James Squire Orchard Crush Cider converting non-cider drinkers to the delights of ‘apple wine’ and ‘pear wine’.

A perception we’re happy to confirm, though, is how well apple cider goes with pork. Try this tantalising pork, apple and cider pie recipe with a glass of James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider. The subtle sweetness in the pie is offset by the crisp finish of the cider. Beautiful!