Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it centers on a feast. One glorious meal full of complex carbohydrates, turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s all good, and almost nothing bad; except for the undeniable food coma that ensues. However, I commend such discomfort to a job well done.
The Thanksgiving meal is all about supporting ‘slow food’. The meal takes all day – and in many cases, perfect collaboration between a dozen family members to ensure its success. Such hardwork surely deserves a drink, right? Here are three beers that will make your thanksgiving awesome.
Brooklyn Lager – Brooklyn Brewery
One of the most important beers of Thanksgiving is the one you drink while watching football or in between games of basketball or soccer in the backyard. You need something light, crisp, and sessionable. But most importantly, you need a beer that will cool you off after a surprisingly sweaty touch football game with your extended family.
Brooklyn Lager is a Vienna lager – meaning the style originated in Vienna, Austria. This class of lager is typically reddish brown or copper colored with medium body and slight malt sweetness; complimented by a crisp and clean hop bitterness.
This Vienna lager is true to its style, with a pungently sweet and spicy floral aroma. It pours a nice amber or copper color with a crisp white plume for a head. The malt is delectably sweet from hints of caramel and butterscotch and the finish is dry, slightly bitter and smooth. You can drink this beer all day long. Whether you are just watching football or trying to cool yourself down – this is the beer of choice for all you east coasters. Keep throwing these ones back at dinner – because it is a nice compliment to the turkey you have on your plate.
Pliny the Elder and La Roja
After sipping on Brooklyn Lager for the last few hours, your pallet is going to be searching for something to wake it up. New flavors are needed to compliment all the delicious food and get your Thanksgiving feast buzzing.
The next two beers are game-changers and will surely divert your attention from that pile of food in front of you. The first beer I recommend as the guest of honor at your dining table is Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing Company. This beer is the king of IPAs (its actually a Double IPA). It is an immensely hoppy beer – but not the kind of hoppy that can leave most drinkers dejected and unsatisfied.
The flavor of this beer is sweet upfront with tastes of citrus and caramel. Then a wave of piney hops overtakes your mouth cleansing your pallet and setting the foundation for another citrus-like, but almost grapefruit finish. This beer is really exciting. The beer pours a dark amber with a thick off-white head. The aroma reminds you of standing out in the forest breathing in the scent of fresh pine trees. The dryness of this beer leaves you craving more until you finish the entire bottle. Pliny the Elder will match your turkey and ham particularly well because of its potent hop character that slices through these fatty meats, balancing your meal to perfection.
La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin Brewery in Michigan is a completely different animal than the first two beers we have discussed. I chose this beer for all of those that want a beer that makes them think of wine. La Roja is the perfect compliment to a turkey and mashed potato dinner. Although La Roja is an amber ale, the flavor is mildly tart and very engaging. Let the beer warm up and you’ll be asking yourself, who needs pinot? This beer has more flavor and more complexity than any red wine. Although it is hard to find – if you can get your hands on La Roj it will turn your Thanksgiving into a feast fit for a king.
The beer is brewed in flanders tradition, meaning it is brewed with specific kinds of wild yeast to produce a sour flavor. This particular beer is deep amber in color and despite the initial sour fruit notes, the backbone is an earthy caramel and spice flavor. The beers taste is developed through natural barrel aging and then blended from barrels ranging in age between two and ten months. The complexities of this beer are perfect to match a slab of gravy-topped turkey – the sour fruits will surely rival the need for cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Remember that Thanksgiving is not just about food and there are a number of beers that can change the way you think about your meal. Be thankful that there are world-class breweries providing us such quality beers. Hope you enjoy these selections!
Next month we will be recommending the 12 Beers of Christmas!