Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.
Thanksgiving is coming up in a few days. Have you stocked up on beer for the big bird day?
Usually, food writers like to talk about wine with the meal and how hard it is to find something good that goes with everything on the table. (“Cabernet Sauvignon is so bold that it dominates the bird so where you just can’t taste the meat.” “Nothing but a sweet wine can stand up to the cranberry sauce.”) If you find all of that talk too confusing or too dull, so be it. Just remember, the easiest answer is one that applies to beer as well as wine: Drink what you like.
But if you enjoy studying the nuances of a drink and trying to figure out what on the table would go with a certain beverage, then pop a few tops and start sampling.
The easiest way to start is to think about all that food you’ll be serving. If you’re following a traditional Thanksgiving, it will be turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, green bean casserole or some variation. Just about everything on that list is a seasonal item, brown or earthy in color, suggesting for fall and winter.
So, why not think seasonal with your choices?
Darker beers or winter warmers are natural partners to this magnificent feast, as are pumpkin ales or yeasty bock beers. Here are five beers that have been featured in previous Beer of the Week write-ups that would do justice to your harvest celebration.
Chimay Grand Rèserve — Flavors of bread warm out of the oven and caramel candies mix with autumnal pear, fig and apple all mingle in this extremely rewarding creation. Think of how they will enhance the flavors of every item on your table, including the notoriously fussy cranberry dish. You may want to get this in 750 milliliter bottles and impress your wine-loving friends with how fine a beer can be.
St. Peter’s Old-Style Porter — Porter is a winter warmer, the kind of brew you want with mashed potatoes, gravy and buttered bread. You could even mix it with sparkling wine in a 5:3 porter to wine ratio for a very different party drink known as a Midnight Sloosh.
Newcastle Brown Ale — The “never bitter beer,” as this satisfying brew has been dubbed, adds a pleasant sweetness to the meal, whether in contrast to butter-basted meat or as a malty complement to the bread in the stuffing or the spice in the pumpkin pie. It is so food friendly, it could sidle up to just about everything on the table.
Franziskaner Weissbier — Though this beer generally goes best with lighter fare, which is anything but Thanksgiving dinner, there’s something about the citrus quality with notes of clove and nutmeg swirling aroun the palate that suggest it would be wonderful with sweet potatoes, all buttery and topped with toasted pecans and a dash of warm cinnamon and vanilla. With a bowl of those, who needs the rest of the meal?
Crispin Natural Hard Apple Cider — Refreshing in summer, Crispin is an equally welcome antidote to the heaviness you can feel while eating your way through the massive spread. Its acidity helps cut through the denseness of the gravy, the soup-sauce in the green bean casserole, even the weight of pumpkin pie.