While the pilgrims probably drank hard cider, we’ll be drinking beer this Thanksgiving. Here are our top picks for beers to pair with everything from turkey and pecan pie.
Pre-Dinner Nibbles - We like to start things off with a beer that’s fresh and light. It’s a holiday and we’re about to eat a lot, so we’re not terribly concerned about alcohol content. All the same, it’s probably best to save the heavier beers for later.
• Fleur from Goose Island - Light and fresh, with a tart apple flavor
• Lambrucha from Vanberg & DeWulf - Fizzy and herbal
The Main Course - Between the roast turkey, the cranberry sauce, and all those side dishes, there’s a lot happening on a Thanksgiving table! For one beer that pairs well with everything, look to the Belgians. These wild fermented beers are packed with flavor, but have a freshness that cleanses the palate between bites and keeps the beer from overshadowing the food.
• Maudite from Unibroue - Rich with spicy yeasts with a crisp citrus finish
• Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale from Brewery Van Steenberge - Funky with lots of ripe fruit flavors and candy-like malts
• Hennepin Farmhouse Saison from Brewery Ommegang - Juicy fruit flavors with an earthy coriander finish.
Dessert Buffet - Now we can get into some richer and heartier brews. With sweet desserts, we really like a good barrel-aged beer. These have complex flavors of oak and bourbon that go well with all your favorite Thanksgiving pies plus that scoop of ice cream on the side.
• Curieux from Allagash Brewing Company - Vanilla, stewed fruits, and a hit of spice
• Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale from Lexington Brewing Company - As close to bourbon as a beer can get
• Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company - As rich and fruity as their Dirty Bastard, with a hit of bourbon goodness
Post-Dinner Lounging - For rounding out the meal and heading into the evening, we turn to the darker beers. Stouts and porters give us the espresso and chocolate flavors we crave after a big meal.
• Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery - Dark roasted coffee mixed with unsweetened chocolate.
• Milk Stout from Left Hand Brewery - Smooth and creamy, like an iced latte
• Imperial Stout from Samuel Smith Old Brewery - Molasses and chocolate edging into espresso
What beers will you be drinking this Thanksgiving?
Related: How Cold Should Beer Be Served?
(Image: Flickr member jenny downing licensed under Creative Commons)