Friend of LouisvilleBeer.com, Bucky Knaebel submitted this timely article and asked me if I happened to know a place to post it in Cyberspace (yes, he used that word). I obliged, but only because we’ve never posted an article about pairing beers and Thanksgiving dinners. AND, because I liked the article. And Bucky. And Turkey.
Enough about me, take ‘er away, Bucky…
The Bird and the Beer
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Pairing Beers with my Thanksgiving Meal
I’m the cook of the house and I start prep work on Wednesday. While the bird is brining and the pies are baking, beer is being consumed. This is when out-of-town family rolls in, personal space is invaded, and it’s the right time for “Daddy’s Little Helper.” I’m going for something strong like Oak Jacked from Uinta’s Crooked Line. It’s a warming 10.31% and being that the night before Thanksgiving is legally the last day of the year in which you are allowed to drink pumpkin beer, that’s when you should drink it. You are a damn fool if you pair pumpkin pie with pumpkin beer.
Onto game day. Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep that in mind when you reach for you first beer. While preparing the meal, I’ve usually got a lager or pilsner within reach. The goal here is to enjoy the day but not enjoy it so much that you are ready to air all your familial grievances at dinner resulting in an upturned table. This year I discovered and will recommend West Sixth’s DankeChain as a smooth entry for this portion of the day.
The big dance: Thanksgiving Dinner. From a palate perspective, this meal is all over the place and that can lead to some trickiness when choosing a beer. You have your sweetness with sweet potato casserole. The umami* from your dressing. The rich/salt coming at you from mashed potatoes and gravy. The greens from your… greens (I’m just talking out of my ass at this point). And the bird. That easily overpowered turkey meat. I’ve found the best option for this meal is the Saison/Farmhouse Ale. It compliments without overtaking. Hennepin from Brewery Ommegang is available locally and will be my beer du jour come Thursday.
Dessert!! You’ve cooked all day, consumed more than your fair share, washed a dish or two or three hundred… if you aren’t at this point drinking something heavy and dark, you are failing at life. I’ve been sitting on an Old Imperial ’37 from Great Flood for just this occasion (HEY EVERYBODY, LOOK AT ME!! I’VE GOT AN INCREDIBLY RARE BEER). Seriously, grab a porter or a stout and go knuckles deep into some pumpkin pie. You deserve it.
Cheers to you and yours!
*this is a foodie buzzword that literally means nothing