Great Beers for Your Thanksgiving Holiday
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the chill in the air, the colors, the smells, and really anytime I can put on my giant, 10 year old, black pea coat and pose about town. Over the past week or so, a few friends have asked me what beers they should bring for various Thanksgiving celebrations. Since I’m a partner in Atlanta Beer Tours and co-host of a recently proclaimed “New and Noteworthy” beer podcast called BeerPop!, (both with Aaron Rolka) people think I know a lot about beer. Since I don’t like talking to people or repeating myself*, here are my thoughts on the best beers for Thanksgiving, loosely based on course.
The Big Dinner!
Quads are my go-to Thanksgiving beer. Whether traditionals from Belgium or something newer from the US, quads provide a spice and kick that make them uniquely suited to match with the Thanksgiving classics.
Pairing a quad with your main course is a great choice. Turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans and most casseroles will line up great with the dark fruits, caramel and creamy mouthfeel of a great quad. Quads are high in alcohol with most options at or above 10% ABV, so maybe share some.
Serve an 8 ounce pour in a Tulip or nice wine glass at around 60 degrees F.
Saisons are a great T’Givs alternative to the darker, heavier quads. Typically these farmhouse ales are lighter, both in mouthfeel and in alcohol content. Even so, they will give you the classic spice characteristic that goes well with meats and veggies while the dryness balances well with sweeter dishes.
Serve an 8 to 12 ounce pour in a tulip or nice wine glass at around 55 degrees F.
Ok, you’ve finished your third plate, have had a long nap and now it’s dessert time! I’m going to assume you have a pumpkin pie or a pecan pie (if not both) included in your options for sweets. I know I will. What I’ll be drinking with mine is a delicious stout. Nothing too high in alcohol, just dark roasty malts and a little sweetness to pair with the sugar and spice of the pie. Just had a thought… put whipped cream IN the stout! Sacrilege? Maybe. Delicious? Almost certainly.
Serve a 12 to 16oz pour in a rad Stout Glass or in a tulip between 55 and 60 degrees F.
Sure, eating a big meal, spending time with loved ones and being thankful that you have those two things are what Thanksgiving is about, but the majority of the day will be spent hanging out, watching football, sneaking food before dinner and eating leftovers after. For all of that we have pumpkin beers! They aren’t pretentious, are fun to try and some are actually pretty damned good.
Serve — Your call. Obviously if you like to smell the beer, tulips are nice. If you don’t care, pour it into a pint glass or if it’s before noon, use a coffee mug like your old pal Dan. Around 50 to 55 degrees F.
Let me know what you had and how you liked it! Have a happy Thanksgiving!
*simply not true.