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Thanksgiving 2017 Beer Pairings

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for each other and the many blessings we share. And eat a lot of food, watch football, perhaps enjoy a beverage or two. There are many options for wine pairing, but not everyone is a wine drinker. There is a tremendous variety of craft beers out there for just about any taste. Below are DE Brew Trail recommendations for pairing beers with food.
Before & After the Meal Guests may arrive before the sit-down part of the meal. Some may stay after to digest the food and watch a little football. For these situations, it’s probably not the best idea to break out the Belgian Quad or Barleywine. Besides being relatively heavy bodied, the high alcohol level may not be the best way to start the festivities or prepare to go home (ALWAYS have a designated driver if you plan on drinking). The most popular mass-market light beers are in the range of 4.1-4.3% alcohol by volume (ABV). Thanksgiving isn’t the time to drink or provide your guests with flavorless cheap beer. There are some excellent lower ABV craft beers that won’t break the bank and pair well with appetizers.

  • One of the best values in this style is 16 Mile Responders Ale (4.1% ABV). It’s a light bodied, crisp, clean Blonde Ale with a light malt flavor, reminiscent of a light Pilsner or Kolsch beer.
  • Saison is a lightly fruity, mildly peppery/spicy style with high carbonation. Some good options for this style are Allagash Hoppy Table Beer, Ommegang Hennepin, Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace, and of course Saison Dupont Belgian Farmhouse.
  • If you want to bump up the flavor without adding much more ABV, try Weyerbacher’s Dallas Sucks (4.5% ABV). What it lacks in alcohol, it more than makes up in flavor. It has a traditional West-coast hop flavor but is low in bitterness. Perfect for pairing with assertive cheeses, warm dips (cheese, crab, artichoke, etc). I’m all about multi-tasking and this brew is great to start the party and to watch the Dallas game starting at 4:30. Go Eagles!
  • Another hop forward sessionable beer is Founders All Day IPA. All the flavor you want in an IPA, but at 4.7% ABV.

The Big Feast If you’re like my family, there are a lot of choices to fill your plate. There are also a lot of different flavors and textures, which can make it kind of tricky to pair with. For this, let’s focus more on the hot sides and meat. The colder sides tend to not take up as much real estate on the plate so there is less of a need to pair up.

  • Saisons work well here as well. One that DE Brew Trail will be enjoying is Saison du Buff, a collaboration between Victory, Dogfish Head and Stone Brewing. Its flavor profile is almost like liquid stuffing because it is brewed with Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. This year’s version was brewed by Dogfish Head and should be readily available
  • Amber or Brown Brews. Malty, caramelly (I just made that up) brews complement the food coming from the oven very nicely. Oven baked items can undergo a Maillard reaction and browning that enhance the flavors. The kilned malts in amber and brown beers undergo a similar process and pair well with roasted or smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, warm rolls, etc. Some of my favorites are 16 Mile’s Tiller Brown, Ommegang’s & Flying Fish Abbey (Belgian Dubbels), Bell’s Best Brown Ale and Dogfish Indian Brown Ale.
  • If you really like cranberry sauce or just want a little extra boost with dinner, another option is Long Trail Brewing’s Cranberry Gose. Gose (pronounced Go-suh) is a German style typically with a mild sourness and some saltiness. Cranberry is a very good flavor choice for this style.

Dessert Ah, dessert. I don’t always have room for dessert. At first blush, you might think, “Beer with dessert?!?”                                                  Yes, there are actually quite a few beers that pair excellently with desserts. If you’re full, pack some to go and enjoy some of these AS dessert! Here’s a few of DE Brew Trail’s favorites. 

Glassware For some, this is a bit of a sticky subject. Sure a typical pint glass will work, but its original purpose was as a shaker and is not very well suited for all beers. Drinking out of a can or bottle also does not let you fully enjoy the aroma, which really affects taste. Try a tulip or wine glass. A smaller sized glass will also allow you to share while still enjoying yours. Some of the beers listed have a hefty ABV so if you’re enjoying different ones throughout the meal, it might be better to share.
What I’m drinking…Here’s what I’m bringing to the family get-together: Weyerbacher Dallas Sucks, Dogfish Head Saison du Buff, Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel, Troeg Mad Elf, Victory Black Forest Cake and, as a bit of a wildcard, Dogfish Head Pennsylvania Tuxedo a pale ale brewed with spruce tips. Think liquid Christmas tree. I already told the wife (who doesn’t drink) she’s driving home. I will be enjoying most of these in a 5 ounce tasting glass from the Delaware Wine & Beer Festival. Although not a beer, I am also bringing a bottle of Liquid Alchemy Beverages Glogg-Toberfest, a spiced mead that will go extremely well with dessert or just on its own. You’ll have to visit LAB for the correct pronunciation. I’d just butcher it.
Please leave a comment on Facebook with your own recommendations and what you’ll be enjoying with the feast. 

DE Brew Trail T-Day selections

DE Brew Trail T-Day selections