Festive beers and cheers

homegating beer and snacks

In America tailgating is very common. I have seen it a few times, weather permitting in the UK at rugby games but the season is mainly in cold weather and somehow it always seems easier to pop in to a pub, or do some “homegating”, set it all up at home. The atmosphere is not the same but the comfort levels are sky high.

The sun is shining today but cold winds are blowing from the east and with a box of beer from Beer52.com and rugby on TV it was a “homegating” day.

Beer52.com asked me to review their Christmas beer selection, I got one box of six beers, no other compensation and all opinions are my own. In the background there is also a bottle of Santa Pawns from Brewdog.


Artisan beers from Beer52.com


My favorite was the Rouge beer, an amber ale from the Rouge brewery in Oregon, USA. This claims to be from Santa’s private reserve, we must have similar taste! There is nothing rouge about the beer but perhaps this is more a description of their Santa.


Rouge beer from Rouge beer Brewery


Beer52.com is a great example of guys who followed their passion and set up a company. It was founded by James Brown and Fraser Doherty. James launched Beer52 after he went with his Dad on a road trip round Europe on a Harley Davidson. They stopped in loads of pubs and micro breweries on the way and James wondered how he could bring the amazing beers these micro breweries were making to more people. This was tree years ago and they already have 12,000 members.

I love a good pint and we have a few artisan beer bars in town, the thing is that I am very picky. I like ale, darker beers, more towards bitter than floral or sweet notes and tend to always go for the same ones. The box is a great way to try new beers. I struggle every year what to buy M and  a beer club membership would be a great Christmas gift as he has everything and loves beer.


Special offer: If you are interested you can get £10 off when you sign up using the code FOODEATLOVE10 at Beer52.com. It is a great way to discover hand picked artisan beers you might not try otherwise.


This is what I ended up making, perfect as a snack and easy to make more of if you want something more substantial or if you have more friends coming around. I had some chipotle cooked beef cheeks from the day before left over that I used up here but any braised beef will work.


– Pulled beef cheeks with maple syrup and hot sauce glaze 

– Beef cheek cubes with maple syrup and hot sauce glaze served with chipotle chile 

– Salted rice malt marinated prawns with avocado on a garlicy dip 

– Butter bean and fennel humus with carrot sticks and nachos



Hot maple glazed pulled beef cheeks 

preparation time 5 minutes

cooking time 15 minutes

oven 140C or 284F

serves 2-3


  • Cooked beef cheek cubes, see recipe here
  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup Maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 knob of butter

Add Maple syrup, butter and hot sauce to a pan, melt the butter and let the caramel cook undisturbed until it starts to reduce and get sticky. Add the beef and make sure it gets hot throughout.

Spoon in to either small burger buns or pastry cases. I bought ready made puff pastry and cut out rounds. I sprinkled with sumac and sea salt flakes before filling them with the pulled beef.


pulled, maple and hot sauce glazed beef


I had some of the Hot maple glaze left over and cubed some beef cheek and added chipotle that had cooked with the beef for serving for a little extra kick.


beef cheek cube with hot maple glaze and chipotle


Rice malt marinated, seared prawns with avocado and a garlicy dip

preparation time 5 minutes depending on how many prawns you are cooking

cooking time 3-4 minutes + 15+ minutes for the marinade 

serves 2


  • 4 raw prawns
  • 2 tbsp salted rice malt
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • oil for cooking

Dipping sauce 

  • 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • a small pinch of salt


  • Sliced avocado


Peel and de vein the prawns. Make a cut to split the prawn half way.

Mix the salted rice malt and a pinch of sea salt and marinate the prawns for about 5 minutes.

Make the dipping sauce and set aside until you are ready to serve.

Heat oil in a pan and sear the prawns just before serving. Place on top of the dipping sauce together with the avocado.


salted rice malt marinated prawns with garlic dip


Butter bean and fennel dip 

preparation time 5 minutes 

cooking time 0 minutes 

serves 4


  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained
  • 1 small fennel, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • Olive oil, about 1/2 dl or 1/4 cup but more if necessary

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until quite smooth. Plate and add more olive oil and garnish with sesame seeds and more parsley and serve as a dipping sauce.

This dip will go with pretty much anything, I served it with carrots and nachos as I had it at home.


butter bean and fennel hommous




I found a bag of Munchy seeds as well. I added some to the pulled beef and just served the rest as they were.


Munchy seeds


All that was left was to pour myself some beer and tuck in! A perfect way to spend an afternoon.


pouring beer


homegating beer and snacks


I read the Fermentation magazine in half time and their “Christmas Survival guide” is hilarious. A nice beer does make everything better!










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