“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”
You know what, oh faithful readers? I’ve been kind of mellow these last two posts. It’s time to dust off the I Like Beer Official Soapbox and preach a little about Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving should not be a hurried meal between football games or a few leaden hours spent with people you don’t like but are nevertheless related to. It should involve food made with love, shared with people you love, in a place where you feel comfortable. And — my own humble opinion — it should involve good beer.
This is not in any way a dig on wine at Thanksgiving. Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Barbera — they’re all delightful with the requisite roasted entree, be it bird or squash or what have you. But too often the only beer consumed on Thanksgiving is fizzy yellow soda water, advertised by athletes gone to seed.
Let’s stand up and take back beer on Thanksgiving. Let’s have GOOD beer with our turkey and trimmings. Let us, in fact, give thanks that we have beer to drink. Remember, the Pilgrims originally landed because they were out of beer (among other reasons, admittedly). This is an American tradition. Let’s make it happen.
Now, enough ranting. Let’s talk about great beers to go with your Thanksgiving feast.
First off, when you talk about food and beer pairings, you almost always have to talk saison. While Belgium is the home of these lower-alcohol, unfiltered golden ales, there are some good ones made right here at home. I’m a big fan of Boulevard Brewing’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale. It opens with a crisp spiciness that primes the palate, then moves into citrus and caramelized malt, finishing clean. Saison is like champagne; it goes with almost every food, and turkey is no exception. Crack open a 750ml bottle of this and pour for the family, or pick it up in newly available four-packs for individual consumption.
Want something a little more substantial? How about Korbinian, a doppelbock from the (arguably) oldest brewery in the world? This product of Weihenstephaner in Germany has a lactic richness overlaid with dark fruit, spice, and brown sugar. It’s emphatic enough to hold up to gravy and sweet potatoes, but won’t either get in the way or overwhelm you with alcohol. This wonderful beer is available at Twin Liquors for $3.29 a bottle, guaranteeing you will still have money left over for holiday shopping.
Finally, what about beer with dessert? It’s not as far-fetched as you might think; sweet and dessert beers are a growing, yet old, body of alcohol. Unibroue’s Quelque Chose is a rich, sweet, cherry-laced brew with enough alcohol and acid to keep it in line. Whether dessert is pecan pie, brie with fruit, or pumpkin cheesecake, Quelque Chose is a perfect pairing. Production of this beer is limited, but I have a small supply at the Galleria right now. And if Thanksgiving isn’t at your house this year, Quelque Chose is a beer designed for aging; the drink-by date on the back involved the year 2025.
I hope that this has convinced you to toss out the cheap stuff and enjoy the whole Thanksgiving experience with some good beer. And if you’re serving pumpkin cheesecake with Quelque Chose, drop my invitation by the Galleria store.