Thanksgiving is QUICKLY approaching!
I just received my latest work schedule and realized it's only two weeks away!
Where did the time go!? Time to start planning recipes and drink pairings!
In this blog, I'll give you tips on how to choose what beer to pair with your holiday meal and a few of my top picks for each course!
What Do I Look For When Picking a Beer?
When choosing your Thanksgiving beer, here are a few key factors to look for:
1. A juicy sweet or nutty malt profile
2. Fruity esters from yeast
3. An herbal malt and/or hop profile
Turkey is already on the dry side, so you want something to counter that. Also, there's that beautiful caramelized skin, so a sweet/nutty malt will enjoy that. The fruity esters from the yeast in some beers will add a juicy note.The herbal malts/hops will find a friend in the thyme and sage that is found in most Thanksgiving stuffings and sides.
**I also encourage you to find beers in 22oz or 75omL bottles. Thanksgiving is about sharing! Not to mention, they will look great in your tablescape!**
Course 1: Greeting Guests / Appetizers
While the bird is cooking or finishing up, greet your guests with an aperitif: something light, spritzy, palate cleansing and approachable to get everyone in the holiday mood! Also choose something that will go with whatever small bites you may have out.
Here are a few of my suggestions:
Here we have two Belgian-style Golden Ales, a Saison, and a Witbier. All are medium-light body with estery Belgian yeast strains and contain enough bitterness to finish crisp on the palate. They will pair with a range of appetizers from a charcuterie plate to sausage balls!
Tip: When choosing the beer for this course, I always choose a beer that I would equate to sparkling wine such as Champagne, Cava or Prosecco!
The Main Course: Turkey, Ham & All The Fixins'!
Like I said earlier, you want to choose a beer here that will not clash in dryness with the turkey. Think buzz words such as "juicy" and "smooth". Something with a caramel or sweet malt that will pair with the crackling juicy skin. Think "thyme" and "sage". I find that the beer I pick for the bird almost always pairs with all the sides as well: stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry compote, etc.
Side note: If your main meat is ham, choose a beer with roasted barley or black patent malt. The astringent note of the malt is a beautiful pairing with the saltiness of the meat.
I have plenty of options here that range across the board in flavor:
There's a little bit of everything to please everyone here! The descriptions of these beers pretty much speak for themselves on why they pair with Thanksgiving food:
Ommegang Abbey Ale: "Ale brewed with Licorice root, star anise, sweet orange peel, coriander, cumin. Rich, fruity and aromatic Burgundian brew." This just screams "Thanksgiving"!
Schlafly Quad: "...notes of stone fruit from a Belgian abbey yeast strain and the taste of sweet toffee from a touch of Belgian Candi syrup."
Little Harpeth Bison Bock: "...presents a slightly malty aroma with toasty notes in the flavor as well. European noble hops balance the malt sweetness with a slightly spicy but smooth dry finish."
Jackalope Bearwalker: "Pure maple syrup is infused during the conditioning phase, and is noticeable from start to finish. Chocolate malts add roasted notes to the flavor and aroma."
Sierra Nevada Celebration: "Famous for its intense citrus and pine aromas, Celebration is bold and intense, featuring Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops." The key to why this IPA pairs so well....caramel malt!
Blackberry Farms Fall Saison: "A blend of floor-malted barley and two types of rye malt gives this Saison a copper color and a silky sweet body with a hint of rye spiciness. Additional conditioning on Oak lends pleasing notes of light toffee and vanilla."
The Finale: Dessert / Digestif
When I think of Thanksgiving dessert, I think PIE! The following beers will pair with an array of sweet treats....or can be enjoyed on its own!
Some of your options here include Pumpkin Ales, Imperial Stouts, Barleywines and Fruit Lambics:
Delicious beers that will stand up to the sweetness of most desserts!
Just as a reminder....
YOU know what YOU like. When in doubt, always go with the beer you enjoy!
This is an exciting time of year, so enjoy every minute of it!
I hope this guide helps you prepare for your holiday meal.
Tag me on Instagram #LanaDelBeer and let me see your pairings!
Welcome to my blog! I want to show the world a simple meal paired with craft beer can elevate their dining experience to unique levels. Cheers!