It is well-known throughout the Mid Atlantic that I am a turkey junkie – a bona fide garley turkicanus freak. I tweak my brine recipe, stock up on fresh herbs, arrange my aromatics, and abhor the practice of stuffing the turkey with, well, stuffing. Long and short, I like Thanksgiving. And what better way to celebrate than by cracking open a couple of brews. But with all the options, which one to choose? There are a number of styles that pair well with turkey or will accent another portion of your traditional Thanksgiving fare. With just one more beer-shopping day until Thanksgiving, here are some suggestions for great beers to enjoy with your meal or to kick back with while enjoying the Lions/Bears game.
(NOTE: I have broken this list up by style, and have included examples available at Walt Disney World. If you’re celebrating at home, feel free to substitute your own local favorite.)
1. Sam Adams Boston Lager – Ok, I know I said I’d be suggesting styles. But frankly, with the widespread availability, Boston Lager is a simple yet effective pairing with turkey. Malty and crisp, it doesn’t overpower and accents the mild flavors of the bird.
2. Saison – Farmhouse ales such as Ommegang Hennepin and Saison Dupont provide a spicy and herbal contrast without overpowering your Thanksgiving meal.
3. IPA – No meal is complete without an IPA option. Personally, I’d rather stick with one that has a more earthy tone such as Bell’s Two Hearted. But options such as Cigar City’s Jai Alai or New Belgium’s Ranger IPA work well, too. With an IPA, the turkey is really the complement to the beer. The turkey can help cut some of the lingering bitter notes present in most IPAs.
4. Winter Ales – Spiced ales and lagers prevalent throughout the holiday season pair well with dessert, be it pumpkin or apple pie (those are the only two choices). Grab Sam Adams Winter Lager while at The World, or try any of the dozens of choices at your local bottle shop.
5. Imperial Stouts – A meal in and of itself, Imperial Stouts boast roasty, chocolaty flavors with enough bitter to balance out the sweetness and an alcohol warmth stemming from the oft double digit ABV%. Bells Expedition Stout is my personal go to, but most every craft brewery has their own version. This style is a bit elusive at Walt Disney World, with the only one I’ve seen pop up on occasion being Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout. If you have a chance, seek out one of Cigar City’s offerings, and be sure to grab one or two from your local.