Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends around the comfort of a good meal and lively conversation. It’s a brief respite from the commercialization that comes on Black Friday and continues through Christmas. The All About Beer family, of course, gives beer the same kind of attention and thought as the food. So, here are our thoughts on Thanksgiving beer pairings and how we’ll be celebrating the holiday.
We wish you a very happy, peaceful, and filling Thanksgiving.
Notch Session Ale and Boulevard Brewing Co.’s Coffee Ale
As the parade hits its midway point and cooking ramps up I usually start with a Beer-Mosa (Belgian Wit, orange juice, shot of Tripel sec). From there it’s all about keeping a level head, so this year it’s the 4.5% hop-forward Notch Session Ale until the bird is ready. I have a variety of brown ales, a few yam beers and one brewed with cranberry to pass around the table during dinner. Afterwards I’m planning on opening a bottle of Boulevard Brewing Co.’s Coffee Ale—one I’ve been holding onto for a few months now. Hoping it will be just the ticket to pair with a slice of pecan pie.
—John Holl, Editor
Goose Island Beer Co.’s Lolita
I am guilty of doing what many of us do on Thanksgiving: drink beer, watch football and eat way too much. Throughout the day I sip on any number of different styles but when it comes to sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner there is only one style I reach for—a wild ale. All the gravy, turkey, stuffing and sweet potatoes are delicious but rich. I want a beer that is slightly refreshing, light bodied with a little funk and a little fruit. This year we will be sipping Goose Island Beer Co.’s Lolita. I think it is the perfect amount of funk with a complimenting raspberry tartness to balance out and complement the variety of flavors on my plate.
—Adam Harold, Director of Beer Programs
Full Sail Brewing Co.’s Session Lager, Oskar Blues Brewery’s G’Knight and Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock
I’ll enjoy a Full Sail Brewing Co.’s Session Lager to accompany, but not impede, the delicate outdoor task of frying a turkey; an Oskar Blues Brewery’s G’Knight to accompany the meal; and, if there’s any room left, perhaps a Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Bock to wash down dessert.
—Peter Johnstone, Art Director
Idle Hands Rosemary for Remembrance and Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale
I inadvertently left my Thanksgiving beer shopping to the last minute this year, so here’s hoping the beer store isn’t as hysterical as the grocery store (but I doubt it). My friend Lindsay is bringing a bottle of Idle Hands Craft Ales’ Rosemary for Remembrance, a Belgian ale brewed with sweet potatoes and rosemary and just about the perfect complement to a plate of roasted root vegetables. We’ll also be heading up to Oxbow Brewing Co. in Newcastle, Maine for a fresh growler of the brewery’s Farmhouse Pale Ale. Brewed with saison yeast and American hops, it’s one of the most drinkable beers I’ve ever encountered and a good one for dinner prep. I’m also on the lookout for a bottle of Sebago Brewing Co.’s Barleywine, a bourbon barrel-aged nap-inducer.
—Heather Vandenengel, News Editor
Anchor Christmas Ale
My Thanksgiving beer is more of a Thanksgiving beer story. As the 17th-generation descendent of original Mayflower voyagers, my family throws one hell of a Thanksgiving dinner with seating between 75 and 80 people. However, the dinner hands as far back as anyone can remember keep the dinner dry of alcohol. However, as soon as tables are cleared, the dishes are done and everything is put away, we hightail it over to cousin Prudy’s house where she has another late-night snack of turkey sandwiches and a wide range of beer. It has been our tradition to open a magnum of the previous year’s Anchor Christmas Ale. Everyone gets a 6-ounce pour for a toast to our family.
—Daniel Bradford, Publisher
Southern Tier Brewing Co.’s Pumking
I feel like Thanksgiving officially marks the end of pumpkin beer season, and since I’ll take any excuse to drink Southern Tier Brewing Co.’s Pumking. I can’t think of a better meal than Thanksgiving to pair with this beer. A good saison would do the trick, too. It can help cut through the richness of the gravy and mashed potatoes as well as help to cleanse the palate in between bites.
—Kelly Parisi, Marketing Associate
Alaskan Brewing Co.’s Smoked Porter
I’m looking forward to enjoying Alaskan Brewing Co.’s Smoked Porter with our family dinner this year. This has been one of my favorite beers for more than 15 years. Last year, my wife and I had it for the first time with our Thanksgiving dinner, and the light smoked flavor was a perfect savory complement to gravy, oysters, mashed potatoes and roast turkey. This year’s meal is a much larger family gathering. Alas, Smoked Porter for all! I can’t wait to see how my father-in-law reacts.
—Chris Rice, Vice President
Rogue Ales’ Hazelnut Brown Nectar
This Thanksgiving I will be traveling to snowy upstate New York. I think Rogue Ales’ Hazelnut Brown Nectar will be the perfect way to warm me up after our trip. I remember the first time I opened one of these lovely beers and smelled the amazing hazelnut aroma. I thought they should take this exact scent and create a candle! You just want to keep smelling it! Once you get around to tasting it you will be delighted with the nutty brown notes with hints of chocolate and caramel. Who needs dessert? I will just have a few of these!
—Brandi LaDue, Event/Consumer Marketing
Brewery Ommegang’s Biere D’Hougoumont
I’ve only had the pleasure of enjoying this brew once, but it was borderline life-changing. While I’ve always enjoyed anything produced by Brewery Ommegang (although my Game of Thrones obsession renders a bias), their Biere D’Hougoumont is one I wish I could enjoy this Thanksgiving. Rich, malty, and with a touch of fruit, this Biere de Garde would be perfect on a cold day with a slice of pie.
—Tabitha Hunt, Intern
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Celebration Ale and Highland Brewing Co.’s Cold Mountain Winter Ale
Last December, my wife and I moved from North Carolina to California. Now, on our first Thanksgiving 3,000 miles away from our family, we’re breaking from the tradition of the big turkey dinner in favor of a long hike and picnic with turkey sandwiches. Blasphemous as that might sound, we won’t be skipping the beer. I’ll pack a cooler with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Celebration Ale for the end of the hike. Another treat will come later Thursday night when we open a 2012 bottle of Highland Brewing Co.’s Cold Mountain Winter Ale. It should be the perfect complement for a cold night, and I’m excited to get a taste of my home state.
—Jon Page, Managing Editor