Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving this year or going to a family or friends house, if you are a beer lover, you probably will want to share some interesting beverages to help make the day even more memorable. To some, the first thought may be wine, but really, beer goes very well with any aspect of the day’s meals. I know at our family gathering, there is an early part of the day leading up to the main course where people are arriving, food is being prepared in the kitchen or even the backyard (my brother cooks a turkey in the fryer and I bring the oysters for grilling and shucking). Tradition! You may want to bring some interesting beer just for this time.
An aperitif is an alcoholic drink offered before a meal to stimulate the appetite (or even the mind - my addition). It should prepare you for the main course, setting a proper frame of mind and preparing your gastro visions of the feast to come.
Of course, the usual main course which may offer the traditional turkey and all the fixings. There are many great beers that will compliment the main course enhancing both the array of foods and the lively conversations around the table.
And what would Thanksgiving be without the desserts. Some may not consider beer as a component of the dessert menu, but some beers can enhance the desserts or if you have real beer lovers in the group, can even stand along as a dessert. Let’s take a look at some considerations.
Allagash Curieux - This is a beer that can provide a very interesting opening round. It could be served with the main course or even as dessert, but I offer it here as an aperitif. First, this is a Belgian-style tripel ale that has been aged in Jim Beam bourbon barrelsfor eight weeks. The combination of the bourbon and oak and spicy yeasts make for not only an stimulating drink but good conversation. It is rated at 94 points on BeerAdvocate. About $20 / 750ml
Dogfish Head Pennsylvania Tuxedo - This is a beer you may want to consider just for the wow factor. This seasonal beer is brewed with spruce tips. If you have not had a beer with spruce as an ingredient you are in for a treat. It is like nibbling on a Christmas tree, so it will certainly get everyone in the mood for the next big holiday coming in about one month. About $11 / 4-pack
Unibroue La Fin du Monde - This is perhaps one of my favorite beers and for the money, can't be beat. Brewed in Canada using an authentic Belgian style, is a perfect pairing with a turkey dinner or any time of the year. Thanksgiving will not be the end of the world if you offer this beer (see translation of the name). About $9 / 750ml
Founders PC Pils - Full of effervescence and a slight hoppy spiciness. A good choice for those that love classic clean, crisp pilsner beer. About $12 / 6-pack
Ommegang Rare Vos Amber Ale - Ommegang does beer well—pick a style. Amber beers simply offer themselves well with lighter foods. This one adds a note of caramel with a touch of sweetness and a spicy finish. About $13 / 6-pack
Devils Backbone Vienna Lager - No hops here, just a touch of sweet malt and caramel. This beer style will pair well with your main meal and this beer is a great example of the style. About $11 / 6-pack
Allagash White - This a traditional Belgian-style wheat beer spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel. It is fruity, refreshing and slightly cloudy in appearance. A classic food beer and always a safe choice if thinking about what to drink with a great meal. About $11 / 4-pack
Chimay Première Ale (red) - You could choose from any of these classic Trappist ales and do well. This one is in the middle, you can choose to go higher (blue) or lower (white). Simply put, Belgian beers are a perfect and easy choice with most meals, especially Thanksgiving. About $12 / 750ml
Lindemans Lambic Kriek - This is a classic Belgian lambic, full of effervescence, cherry and sweetness. Offer a sample to the person who says they don’t like beer. It also comes in a raspberry (Framboise) or peach (Pêche). About $11 / 750ml
The Bruery Autumn Maple - This is what my favorite beers of autumn and Thanksgiving. Knowing is is brewed with yams, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, molasses and maple syrup, it’s easy to see that this beer was made for Thanksgiving dinner. About $13 / 750ml
Ballast Point Victory At Sea Imperial Porter - Full of roasted barley notes, brewed with cold brewed coffee and whole vanilla beans, plus with the added coffee it may just delay that “help-me-find-the-couch” feeling. About $17 / 6-pack
Stone Coffee Milk Stout - Milk stouts offer a touch of sweetness and smoothness to beer. Great with many sweet desserts or as a dessert on its own. About $12 / 6-pack
Be a Thanksgiving hero to all of your beer lover family and friends. Show off you beer prowess by sharing one or more these excellent beer choices—or better yet, one from each category. Thanksgiving is about spending some comfortable time with loved ones, recalling and sharing blessings and lots of great food. And beer certainly pairs oh so well with all of that! Cheers!
Jack Perdue is a regular beer blogger at DeepBeer.com and contributor to beer-related adventures on Twitter @DeepBeer. He is a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and studying for the next level of certification. He has worked at a prime bottle shop on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for over 8 years and has toured many fine beer locations around the world, with more lined up on his bucket list.