Highland Hangover, $13.95

The last few weeks of every year for me are usually crammed with holiday gatherings filled with spreads of delicate hors d'oeuvres and rich foods. And, along with the overload of intricate fare usually comes an abundance of wine.

For my "off days," I wanted to take a breather from both, and Scottish Arms' Highland Hangover (Scotch eggs, baby bridies, sausage rolls and smoked salmon) from the brunch menu let me do just that. For the dish, beer seemed to suit both the pairing and the season.


Belhaven Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, Scotland, $6 draft

Embracing all things Scottish, I began tasting through the variety of Scotch ales on tap. It was the final taste of this lingering brew that won me over. Roasted aromas seep from the glass followed by caramel sweetness. Dried fruit notes with slight undertones of spice and black tea. Although the flavor is a bit in your face, the smooth carbonation and mild hops are what keep it as a great pairing beer. The touch of honey proves to be a refreshing balance to the savory plate.

Grozet Gooseberry and Wheat Ale, Scotland, $8 by the bottle

Foregoing the wine for this dish, I did stumble upon a beer that had some strong resemblances. The prominent berry taste provides enough fruit to the beer without being overly sweet and even gives a subtle sourness that is an exciting component in the pairing as a whole. Forceful effervescence is the perfect counterpart to the abundance of breaded and heavy sides. Although it's an uncommon flavor profile for most, one can find familiarity in its style - a wheat ale.

Strongbow Cider, England, $6 draft

Ciders are becoming more and more popular in St. Louis restaurants. Their easy drinkability, versatile audience and pairing abilities have made them a staple on any craft beer list. Crisp and lively, England's top cider is neither sweet nor sour. Apple fruit is noticeable but not exaggerated. Reminiscent of a sparkling wine, it is rounded and balanced and gives a touch of lightness to the otherwise weighty meal.

Scottish Arms, 8 South Sarah Street, Central West End,

STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann gained a passion for all things epicurean by working in the luxury restaurants and hotels of St. Louis and San Francisco. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience.