Every year on my blog I write a post about what beers to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t do this soley because the variety of dishes served at this meal are just waiting to be paired with some great craft beer, but instead because its an opportunity for beer education. What better way to pass the time at the dinner table than discussing new and different beers that (in all likelihood) your family isn’t familiar with? Beats Grandma asking about your ex in front of your new beau, or talking about another family member’s digestive status….
I asked a few of my Hop Press brethren to chime in about what they would bring to their family’s Thanksgiving celebration, and a little justification about why. I hope you enjoy our selections, and I invite you to share your own in the comments!
1. Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin – Shipyard is festive in flavor and color. The amber base goes well with the all-at-once style of a Thanksgiving dinner. Also, what’s a Thanksgiving dinner without a rolling buzz.
2. Saison Dupont – Dupont also goes well with a variety of foods but adds a bit more bright flavors and effervescence which help scrub and cleanse the palate.
3. Anchor Steam – Anchor Steam is a lager and the lighter body might suit some to accompany the belly busting meal. The hoppiness is bright and present but not overpowering, providing a balance to the meal.
1. Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen – Every year before the big meal, the air would be chilly, yet refreshing. As I didn’t want to eat anything before dinner, an Oktoberfest really hit the spot with its light, biscuit characters, almost like an appetizer before stuffing myself later.
2.3 Fonteinen Doesjel – I consider wine a nice drink with thanksgiving dinner, for its flavorful in small volumes. The perfect beer to takes its place is a strong lambic, or gueze. 3 Fonteinen Doesjel is a great brew, giving me satisfaction in flavor as well as accentuating the staple cranberries at many tables.
3. Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine – After dinner, Anchor’s barleywine goes extraordinarily well with pumpkin pie. The pie has the spice while the beer has the toffee and caramel notes that balance ever so well together.
1. Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze – For me, the epitome of nuanced, reasonably acidic gueuze. So much going on – lemons, funk, light oakiness, effervescent carbonation – and perfect as an aperitif.
2.Dupont Avril – A “table beer” from the brewers of Saison Dupont. 3.5% alcohol, lively green olive and herbal notes. This is a lighter-bodied saison that still leaves plenty of room for the main course.
3. New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red – I’m sort of an unabashed fan of most New Glarus offerings, and the fruitiness and mild tartness of Dan Carey’s fruit beers (see also: Raspberry Tart, Apple Ale, etc.) can serve the role of a liquid equivalent to cranberry sauce. At 4% alcohol with some residual sweetness, it also pairs well with a variety of dessert courses without overwhelming one’s palate.
1. Victory Prima Pils – Like others, the pre-beer can’t make me too full or spoil my palate for one of my favorite meals of the entire year. This year I had picked up some Victory Prima Pils to start us off. Light enough to not be filling with only enough hops to make it interesting and not overwhelm…
2.Farnum Hill – Extra Dry Cider – For the meal… I am going to go a bit out of the box on this one. I have a couple of bottles of this… very dry and clean on the palate.
3. The post-beer is somewhat up in the air at the moment… only because I can’t decide which of a couple I might go with. It will likely be a “game day” decision as the football games after the main meal will take center stage versus the dessert. The choices will either be one of the Sierra Nevada 30th brews (I favor the Barleywine) or a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot… the combo of the meal and the ABV in either of these should ensure that I am peacefully snoring by halftime.
1. Brooklyn Brewing Co. – Brooklyn Lager – After reading the other’s contributions I found that I liked the idea of a “pre-meal beer” so I have amended my list to include one. This has a nice clean finish and doesn’t weigh you down before a heavy meal ahed.
2.Allagash Curieux – This one has just enough complexity of flavor and spice to go well with a lot of the dishes on the table. And it’s a bit “out there” so it makes for good conversation.
3.Windmer Brothers – BRRRbonThis sweet, dark brew with a touch of bourbon (from barrel-aging) will be a great pairing with pumpkin pie – bringing some depth and richness to the spiciness. I wouldn’t pair it with Pecan pie, though, might just be far too sweet and take it over the edge.
1. Chimay Grande Reserve is a great beer for turkey – spice to match the extras on the plate with the meat and enough strength to not be killed by it.
2.Fuller’s ESB is another great choice. Full bodied, rich, fruity – nice.
3.Goose Island Sofie would be another. Dry and fruity, a little spicy and tart, easy drinking. Lighter than the other two choices I’ve put forward which might help with the huge pile of food on the table!
(Special thanks for weighing in even though the UK doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving!)
1. For appetizers and cheese plate before the meal: Upright Brewing’s Four orCascade Brewing’s Apricot Ale (more widely available).
2. For the turkey and all the trimmings: Chimay Grand Reserve.
3. For dessert: Great Divide Yeti (such a favorite, our dog is named Yeti).
4. After dinner sipping: Mother of All Storms by Pelican Pub and Brewery. Just released. Oh. My. God. It’s soooo good!