Halloween is over (boo....that's a sad "boo" not a scary "boo") and that can only mean one thing: time to put up the Christmas Tree! Just joking, but the holidays do kick into high gear November 1st at Party Mart. Which can mean only one thing: gift sets GALORE.
It is also time to pick out my top picks for beers to pair with the Thanksgiving bird. Almost all of my choices are large format bottles because they look great on the table (and good for sharing....if that's your thing...). And don't worry, the juice is great too. So let's get started:
5. Brooklyn Hand & Seal
"Hereupon witness both our Hand and our Seal, both of them demonstrations of our promise that this fine ale shall be worthy of your table and all the brilliant times that you bring to it. So say we all."-Garrett Oliver
This special release from Brooklyn Brewery is a barleywine style ale aged in Four Roses bourbon wood clocking in at 13.3% ABV. It is released in a large format size bottle (750mL) because, according to Garrett, it meant to be shared. What better time to share & be thankful than at Thanksgiving? Look for rich & sweet flavors of nuts, caramel, toffee, coconut and a kiss of a balancing hop presence on the finish.
I recommend enjoying this brew as an after-dinner cordial or with your pie of choice.
Also, buy an extra one to lay down to taste in the future & see how it has changed. Your future self will pat your past self on the back.
4. Schlafly Quadrupel
If I could break dance, I would in honor of the malt Special B. I love the flavor it imparts in Belgian/Belgian-style brews. Here are the official tasting notes from Schlafly on their Quad:
Our Quadrupel features notes of stone fruit from a Belgian abbey yeast strain and the taste of sweet toffee from a touch of Belgian Candi syrup. This mahogany-colored ale is fermented with a distinct Belgian abbey ale strain, then bottle conditioned with extra sugar and yeast for at least two weeks. European hops add balance to the sweetness of the malt and yeast.
The notes of sweet toffee will be a perfect partner to the crisp savory skin of the bird while the nuttiness of the malts will meld into the juicy white meat. This is a beautiful thing because since the beer & turkey will be balancing each other out, each bite you take will be as juicy as the first. You may eat more than you anticipated (but it's the holidays, so calories don't count). The 12% abv is going to act as a cutting force thru the creamy side dishes & fats of whatever else you may be having (i.e. ham). This is a versatile beer because you could enjoy it with dinner or dessert. It would love to find solace with a sexy creme brûlée.
3. Ommegang Abbey Ale
So you may thinking to yourself, "I'm sensing a pattern here, Lana....".
Yes, I love the Belgian beers.
Which leads me to one of the best breweries today in the USA that makes Belgian-style brews: Brewery Ommegang!
Abbey Ale is their flagship brew:
Ale brewed with Licorice root, star anise, sweet orange peel, coriander, cumin.
Now, doesn't that sound like Thanksgiving in a bottle!? Let me go ahead & add here that if you have the proper glassware (in this case, a goblet or chalice), please put it to use. Not only will you look awesome drinking out of a goblet, you'll be enjoying the beer the way it is meant to be. Notes of honey, caramel & toffee from the malts just beg to be paired with your turkey. The spices the ale was brewed with will complement any spices you may have in your bird or in the side dishes such as the stuffing loaded with fresh aromatics (parsley, sage rosemary, thyme, etc).
Scarborough fair, anyone?
This beer also finished off-dry so that will act as a cleansing agent on your palate. Drink this beer with your main courses.
2. Schlafly Biere de Garde
I won't lie...there's never been in a time in my life when I'm like, "Dude! I'm craving a Biere de'Garde!" But after reading "The Brewmaster's Table", I really want to get to know this style better. Garrett Oliver says this is THE Thanksgiving beer. Do I question him? Of course not!
What is a Biere de Garde? Basically, it's a French farmhouse ale that was traditionally brewed in the spring, stored during the cold months, then brought back out to drink for the farm workers when it got warm again to quench their thirst. It is a sweeter & richer cousin of Saison.
Boom. Now ya know.
Official Schlafly tasting notes: Our Bière de Garde invokes the tradition of the farmhouse ales of Northern France, renowned for their subtle aromas of apricot and allspice. Four different types of malt create a toffee sweetness, while French Strisselspalt hops add a subtle spice flavor. The beer is fermented with a distinct French farmhouse ale strain, then bottle conditioned with extra sugar and yeast for at least two weeks.
This will be the most versatile beer of all the ones I've listed. Let's look at the facts: Medium body, 7% abv, zippy & crisp, very approachable. Notes of apricot, allspice, toffee, spicy hops. The sweet backbone from the malts will complement the crisp juicy skin & succulent meat while also pleasing the sides. The notes of allspice & spice from the hops will please any food made using herbs. This description reminds me of an Argentinian Torrontes...so offer this beverage to a white wine drinker & see what they think.
Pair this with your main courses & sides.
1. Schlafly Pumpkin Ale
First, I want to recount to you one of my first experiences with this beer.
Four years ago, I had a Schlafly Pumpkin Ale on tap at the brewery with a Monte Cristo that was filled with roasted turkey & cranberry glaze, then deep-fried & topped with powdered sugar with a side of mashed sweet potatoes (it was worth the calories).
I kid you not when I say I have tears in my eyes right now remembering that moment. Seriously, beer & food can make an impact on you! It was stellar.
Official Schlafly Brewery notes: Our Pumpkin Ale blends the spices of the harvest with full-bodied sweetness for a beer that tastes like pumpkin pie. Pounds of pumpkin form a malty foundation that supports the fall flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
This is definitely my favorite pumpkin ale we get all year. It's not Thanksgiving till someone makes the pumpkin pie. How about you drink yours this year?
Enjoy it with dinner or for dessert.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and treat yourself to something special! Fill your bellies & your hearts with what you're grateful for. I'm grateful for good beer, good food, & good company. Cheers.
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!