Thanksgiving is a day when food in all its abundant glories is the feature of the day. It is a day filled with indulgence, if not over indulgence. The day often culminates with a mid afternoon nap commonly referred to as a food coma. However, some great beers are also a very welcome sight on this food-filled holiday.
Many beers find their place alongside the turkey and accouterments. These beers pair better than many wines and they enhance the dishes with a wide variety of flavor possibilities.
Here is a short list of great beers to have on hand this Thanksgiving that will please everyone. Find beers that are delicious on their own, but also add a wonderful flavor depth to the bounty of food set before us.
Sam Adams Boston Lager: Anyone can enjoy this beer and it adds a wonderful depth of flavor with a fairly low ABV. The rich semi-sweet malt is the perfect match with roasted turkey while still having enough heft to balance stuffing and sweet potato casserole equally. Sadly, this is a beer that many craft lovers overlook, but do yourself a favor and keep some on hand for your Thanksgiving meal and leftovers.
Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale: The dark fruit and subtle spicing of Belgian yeast makes Abbey Ale a great beer for Thanksgiving. The mild 8.2 percent ABV will bring a subtle warming effect and loosen up the conversation. Abbey Ale has enough heft to find a home with any pairing on the table but goes especially well with turkey and cranberries in any style of preparation. The sweet malts make a great match with many desserts. This beer is perfect for any family members who have not tried craft beers yet.
Dogfish Head Noble Rot: While this is a perfect beer to bridge the gap for wine lovers at the table it is goes well with the dinner as a whole. Noble Rot has some truly beautiful aromatics of the saison yeast strain with touches of lemon, spice, and a subtle amount of tartness blended with grapes for a subtle wine flavor. The dry finish makes this a truly refreshing beer that can cleanse the palate perfectly. This is most definitely the beer of choice with the main course. The natural juice in the dish with melt into the malt bill and the citrus and wine-like flavors of the beer will elevate the turkey to new levels.
Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale: Each year Firestone releases its much beloved anniversary ale around Thanksgiving. The beer is a blend and not a standard brewed beer. The process is very similar to wine blending that many wineries use when looking for its blends of wines. The rich malts with notes of bourbon barrels create a beer that drinks like a fine cognac. At 13.8 percent ABV this is a beer that has a punch and can end the holiday dinner on a high note. It also goes well with dessert.
No matter what you drink give thanks that you are able to spend the day with family and friends and share your bounty of great beers with them.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.