We love to cook. Carefully choosing the recipes, going shopping for the right ingredients, prepping, rubbing, marinating, setting the table. It all comes together when we sit down around the table. Of course Thanksgiving (especially for 14) requires even more than our usual amount of organization and effort. But not to worry, we’ve got it in hand. From the organic turkey that I just started brining to the pies my wife started putting together last night, we have it down to a science.
But then it comes time to plan the beverages. I know that many people prefer wine. It still has a stranglehold on fancy meals the way beer has a lock on the ballpark. But I want beer and I want it to truly compliment the meal that we have worked so hard to create. In fact, I want it to pair so well that it might seduce a few of those wine drinkers away from their Zinfandels and Rieslings.
The problem is there are not obvious pairings for the traditional array of turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. If you’re having pork or sausage then a good German Helles or Dopplebock is the way to go. Brown Ale or Porter with your burger. A biting IPA or even a Imperial Russian Stout to go with that rich and spicy chili. But turkey, green beans and sweet potato casserole? That’s not so obvious.
The best source of advice on pairing food and beer can be had from Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery and author of the monumental work, The Brewmaster’s Table. He recommends Bierre De Garde (which like Saisons tend to vary wildly within the limits of the style). Having tried it myself on several occasions I can agree with himi that it’s a good choice.
Personally, I am hoping for a growler of Burton (English Style) IPA from the new Barren Hill Brewery to pair with my turkey. Balanced and understated in terms of hops it should go nicely with the earthy flavors of the meal while biting through the fat of all the butter and gravy.
What about you? What beer best complimented your Thanksgiving? Please let us know. In the meantime, let me wish you and yours a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.