Turkey Day 2020 will be here soon. So, before you head out for your stock-the-fridge weekend shopping trip, we wanted to add to your list. Instead of waking up on Thanksgiving morning to fry your turkey and grabbing ‘whatever is in the fridge,’ we thought we’d offer a list of beers that pair well with some traditional Thanksgiving foods. Disclaimer: if you’re drinking craft beer with friends and family, watching football, giving thanks, and eating way too much food – you’re already winning. There’s really not a wrong beer choice. But if you’d like to get all snobby and beer nerd-y with your selections, here are some options for you.
This is obviously the star of the show, and you want it to remain that way. You need to find a beer that won’t overpower the turkey (and gravy). You need something that can cut through the fat of the turkey skin and gravy. We recommend a good, dry, bubbly saison. If you can find one that’s been aged in oak … bonus points. We recommend Monday Night Barrel Farm Blend #2. Saison + grisette + Brett gives a great and fruit-forward combination of flavor that will dance nicely with the turkey.
Yes, we all know the name of the store where you’re going to get it, but I’ll stay general and say honey-glazed ham.
Playing Robin to the turkey’s Batman, honey-glazed ham finds its way onto many tables this time of year. The glaze on the ham brings a level of sweetness that shouldn’t be overlooked. A honey-glazed ham also brings some some salt to the party, so a good quality hefeweizen is the perfect way to balance it all out. Arches Queens Weiss is a very nicely-balanced beer that continues to turn heads in the beer snob world. Pro tip: if you want to stick to just one beer throughout the meal, this one (or any good hefe) will likely be your best bet.
First things first – it’s dressing, not stuffing. If you want stuffing, hop in the car and drive about 8 hours north. We do dressing in the south.
Ok – back to beer stuff. Dressing is one of my favorites, and it has the backbone to stand up to heartier flavors. The spices in it are a great compliment to one of the world’s finest beer styles – the winter warmer. A traditional winter warmer does not have spice added to it, but I love those that add a slight kick of winter spice … clove, nutmeg, cinnamon. Every year I look forward to the release of Anchor Christmas Ale. The recipe is always slightly different (45 years and counting) and I can’t wait to get my hands on some this year!
Green Bean Casserole
Green bean casserole – that delicious scoop of gooey-yummy covered in the crunchy fried onions. YES! There is a great pile of flavor in that sinful concoction, so once again we need to find something that pairs nicely with it without detracting from the casserole. Also – cream of mushroom soup adds a heft to the dish, so a lighter-bodied beer works well here. I like Creature Comforts Table Beer does the trick. It’s flavorful but super light (at only 4.2%.) It’s going to compliment the casserole without attacking the taste buds.
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows
Sweet, sweet, sweet. This dish might as well be dessert. The sweet potatoes already carry plenty of sweetness, and then you added slightly melted marshmallows on top … stop it. You need a beer here to completely counteract all that sweet. We go with a hop-forward IPA as the yin to the sweet potatoes’ yang. Think of this as the Thanksgiving version of salty vs. sweet – just like when you go to Wendy’s and get a Frosty and french fries and they taste so good as compliments to each other. There are so many great ones to choose from, but today we’ll go with Wild Leap Coast West Double IPA. It has a strong hop flavor, but it’s not over-the-top with bitterness (only 49 IBUs). The best part is – it runs at 10% which makes listening to the same story from your drUncle all that more palatable.
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without pumpkin pie. Winter spices plus sweetness give this one a pretty powerful taste, and one that needs a strong beer to stand up next to it. You need to find something that packs some punch, but won’t be too overpowering. We think a good porter has the perfect combination of roastiness and intensity to not only compliment, but actually enhance the flavor of the pie. Printers Everyday Black, roasty and not too heavy, will be a great buddy with your dessert. (Side note: Printers has a very cool story – totally worth a visit!)
And to cap it off, because getting through all of the dishes (or being forced to watching Detroit Lions football) can be not-so-fun, you might need one more to finish the day in style. What better way to cap it than with a super heavy barleywine or quadrupel? If you’re looking for a barleywine, head over to Dry County for Damn It All! At 11.5%, combined with all of the tryptophan in the turkey, you’ll be sure to be asleep on the couch before the Steelers kick off. If it’s quadrupel you’re after – grab some Wild Heaven Eschaton. This one gets bonus point for bringing in the holiday spices you’ve already been having all day. This one is always one of the highlights of my year!
Happy Turkey, everyone!!Let us know what YOU’LL be having on Thursday.