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For Your Holiday Meal, Go For A Cold One

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A challenge: This year instead of finding the right Chardonnay or Merlot for your holiday feast try pairing your meal with beer. That's right, beer.

Garrett Oliver is the man posing this challenge. He is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery. He is also the editor-in-chief of the recently released book, The Oxford Companion to Beer, a major reference book chronicling beer from A to Z.

For those that would scoff at the idea of pairing fine food with beer, Oliver says think again. In an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin, Oliver says beer used to be one of those fascinating American offerings that "got turned into plastic."

"I grew up with bread that supposedly stayed fresh in that bag for two weeks, and we all know that's not bread," Oliver says. "We did the same thing to beer in this country. We took something which had the broadest range of possible flavors and turned it to a little fizzy ghost in a can."

But now, with more than 1,700 breweries in the United States, craft beer is undergoing a resurgence. Oliver says breweries are recovering and rediscovering a wide range of flavors. He adds that the days of the same old "gas station beer list" are over and that many deli's now carry dozens of domestic and imported beer.

For those on a budget, no problem. Oliver calls beer "an affordable luxury." He says some of the best beer in the world can be found at your local supermarket for less than 2 dollars a bottle. And to avoid the classic beer burp, Oliver suggests savoring one or two bottles instead of the entire six pack.

Oliver offers some of his holiday beer suggestions in a tasting with Tell Me More producers Sanaz Meshkinpour and Brakkton Booker.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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