Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

5 beers to bring to Thanksgiving dinner (2008)

Its that time of year again – traveling through traffic, waiting in line at the airport, re-uniting with family, eating deliciously rich bounties of food and pie, smelling the kitchen flavors mixing in the air, relaxing with a full belly in the living room with “the guys” or discussing the recent election with grandma at the kitchen table… thanksgiving is a unique combination of food, drinks, family, awkwardness, love and dysfunction. 

Beer always has a place at my thanksgiving, and I love bringing beer for food pairings and sparking conversation to my thanksgiving dinner table. Some of these beers I chose for their novelty, discussability, some for their taste, and some that could be a gateway for non-craft beer drinkers to get into. Whatever you choose to bring to your own family dinner, don’t be offended if someone doesn’t like a beer. Remember, there’s a beer out there for everyone, it just might take a few tries to find the style that they like.
Last year, I recommended : Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale, Blue Moon Belgian Wheat, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout and Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic. For explanation of those choices, check out the 2007 Thanksgiving post.
So here are my five beers to bring to thanksgiving dinner this year:
1.) Budweiser American Ale – Now, for those beer geeks who are tempted to leap at my throat here, hear me out. If your family, like mine, has spent their entire lives drinking lagers, pilsners and things in a can, all of these other beers can seem “weird” “froufrou” “different” “strange” or even “scary.” But Budweiser’s decision to make an ale can be a type of gateway beer into other crafty brews that have been around longer. I’m planning on giving this one to my dad who’s obsessed with Bud Light Lime right now, to wrap his head around the taste of an ale. Its not intimidating, not overly strongly flavored, but is a different animal than the pilsners and the almost clear yellow drinks that my parent’s generation associate with beer. 
2.) Allagash White – This is a great wheat beer and I’m told that it goes very well with Turkey. Also, this beer is of an entirely different category than the typical ale or lager, but has a really friendly citrus/wheat taste that most people enjoy, without being really heavy on the alcohol. It’s almost a great alternative for white wine at dinner, and it can be served in wine glasses as an interesting presentation. 
3.) Rogue Dead Guy Ale – Once you’ve introduced the ale, an interesting comparison can be made between the Dead Guy ale and the Bud. The Rogue is a little sweeter and has more depth of flavor, and goes really well with some of the side dishes of a classic thanksgiving – green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce.  
4.) Peak Organic Maple Oat Ale – So, you’ve got a hippie aunt or cousin that loves granola, but they don’t like beer? What about this one – organic, made with local ingredients. A beautifully balanced and slightly sweet brew that seems made for the beginning of winter. This one is a nice complement to a lot of the earthy flavors of the meal. And if you’re having a 100 mile thanksgiving, then this is a must-have. 
5.) Sam Adams Chocolate Bock – This beer is a heavy dessert beer, that may or may not go well with pie, but is a good alternative to the post-dessert coffee. It has a mapley chocolaty taste and is thick, dark and warming. It’s a great end of the night beer, and something that you can take the large bottle of and pour into smaller glasses as almost a nightcap. Its taste is not bitter and is quite pleasing, even for those who have never had a bock before or don’t know what it is. Its also pretty easy to find and has a really neat bottle with a metallic emblem as the label. I found it on the end cap of my supermarket’s beer section. Its worth looking for, and worth picking up if found.
There you have it. Have a great holiday and enjoy it safely!
-The Beer Babe

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3 Comments

  1. Jez

    Nice option on the Bud Ami Ale. I had my first and only one of these last Friday, and thought, “These guys just fucked up. They gave me the ultimate ‘gateway’ beer. Follow a 12 of this with a Sierra Nevada pale, a mid level, such as the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, and then Three Floyd’s Alpha King and they’ll start on their own beer adventures.

    My dad and I shared a bottle of the Saison Dupont before Thanksgiving dinner. He dug it the most.

  2. The Big Tee

    I think that all of the beers you have listed are great if you’re enjoying Thanksgiving with fellow beer enthusiasts. However, when sharing the holidays with family and friends who think Mich Ultra is “the good shit” you have to cater to the palates of those around you. I’ll take Warsteiner, some Three Floyds Gumballhead, and a pack of Guinness. Not my favorite holiday or my favorite beers, but it’s family.

  3. Dr Beer Love

    I really like the idea of the Allagash White – I was thinking a witbier of some kind would work well – just did a Sweetwater Hummer this weekend that I thought would jive well with the feast.

    I’m going all in with one beer this Thanksgiving for all guests. Kind of rolling the dice a bit, but I think the Mahr’s Brau Christmas Bock is the perfect choice. The bready, toffee, caramel, fruity, spicy mix I’m hoping everyone loves with the turkey and dressing and all the other good stuff. At a bare minimum I’ll enjoy it. Of course I’ll have plenty of other stuff on hand just in case, but I bought enough of that for everyone and it’s a 25 oz bottle to boot. Happy Thanksgiving Beer Babe!

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