The Nobler Thanksgiving Beer ListNovember 20, 2012
Now that Adam has you covered for the wine selection on Thanksgiving, it’s time to turn your attention to the minimal or non-wine drinkers in the holiday clan. While you might be tempted to gloss over the beer choice and stick to something basic and simple, to me, on a day where we honor the pilgrims and native Americans by stuffing our faces on border-line traditional food and stare at glowing boxes of football players bashing their heads together, it’s a damn shame to fill yourself up on crappy beer. Particularly with all the amazing options out there.
I’ve seen a number of posts out there attempting to pair beer with the key food items on the Thanksgiving dinner table. But the obvious issue there is of course, after we fill our plates to the brim and smother it all in gravy, the meal sort of goes from a number of distinct items to a conglomerate of textures and flavors; sort of a Thanksgiving Megazord if you will (about time I slipped a Power Rangers reference into a post). This makes the aforementioned “pairing” a bit more difficult. And quite frankly, I think the pairing idea is a bit overrated. Whether it be wine, beer or otherwise, I always follow the mantra, “drink what you like”. So with that in mind, I’m throwing out some of my favorite beers that I think work perfectly for Turkey Day! The list may be a bit Northeast biased, so feel free to chime in with comments on some of your favorites as well!
Six Point Brownstone and The Crisp: The folks at Sixpoint have been consistently at the top of my beer list over the past few years and these two offer the perfect variety for your entire Thanksgiving day. Flavorful but not too intense the Brownstone is earthy and smooth making it a great beer option for the meal itself. The Crisp on the other hand plays the role of a lighter more, well crisp, option perfect for day drinking. If you can’t find Sixpoint in your area, the Victory Prima Pils is a great option in replacement of the Crisp, and Goose Island makes a solid beer called the Nut Brown Ale as well.
Goose Island 312: You might be tempted to load up on the pumpkin ales for this harvest based holiday but let me tell you why I’d suggest against it. Even though I tend to be a pumpkin ale defender, you’ll want to save the pumpkin excitement for that “pumpkin pie” bourbon you’ve got in the works. Instead, I’d suggest sticking with some fall seasonality and go with the 312; that is of course if you don’t have some Cow Thieves Witbier in your fridge. It’s funny to me how wheat beers have taken on such a summer connection. I think they make even better fall offerings and the 312 is one of my favorites. If you can’t find the 312, the UFO Hefeweizen from Harpoon Brewery and the suite of Blue Moon harvest beers will work just as well.
Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace: This unique farmhouse style Saison is created using a rare Japanese developed hop variety, known as “Sorachi Ace” which the Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster encountered and fell in love with immediately. To cap it all off, the brew is then re-fermented with champagne yeast in the bottle leaving one of the most perfect beers I have ever tasted. I was tempted to leave this off of the list as I’m not sure how available it is around the area, but I have started to see it pop up more and more. If you can get your hands on a bottle or two of this stuff, you’ll be proud to serve this at your Thanksgiving dinner. Or if you are a guest, you’ll quickly become the most valued!
Rogue Dead Guy Ale: This beer is aptly named for a post dinner drink as you might feel a bit “expired” from the day’s eating and drinking. And even though it’s not typically marketed in this way, the Dead Guy is full flavored and malty making it my ideal drinkers dessert. Sipping one of these as you settle into the night sounds like a fantastic way to end the Holiday. If you are looking for something much more dessert appropriate however, you can try Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout. It’s absolutely delicious but definitely a commitment. Full bodied, full flavored, and appropriately sweet, there’s no question that will be your last glass of the night. Like a warm glass of milk before bed time.