Some people believe, as per tradition, that Thanksgiving is a chance to enjoy the splendors of a great meal with loved ones and take time to be appreciate one’s blessings. Whatever. Most of us loathe and denigrate the day, seeing it at as a mandatory family reunion rife with awkward interactions and pathetic gluttony. At the very least it’s a day off from work. Whether your Thanksgiving will be spent relaxing and indulging in delicousness or wallowing and listening to your Aunt Edna talk about her arthritis, beer is here to help you enjoy the good and tolerate the bad. Here are the best beers to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.
Before The Meal
At this point in the day, you’re probably sitting on a couch, watching football and smalltalking with your Uncle Jim. The ideal beer for this period of the day is light so that it doesn’t fill you up, residually bitter so it stimulates your appetite, and varied in flavor so that it prepares your palette for what’s to come. We’re talking conversation-starting beers that are friendly to both your stomach and the taste of the hors d’oeuvres.
Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA
This beer is a whirlwind of refreshing and deep flavors, including grapefruit, pine sap, cedar, and toasted malt. It tastes like carefree comfort, which is the only way we want to feel during the hours preceding our Thanksgiving meal. Just the right amount of hops balanced with creamy carbonation makes for the perfect beer to relax to.
A saison, this beer is savory yet delicately sweet and a light under your tastebuds’ ass. It has the aroma of fresh-baked bread, layered with pepper and lemon and a mellow bitterness lingering on the back of the tongue that will leave you eager to get to the dinner table.
Sam Adams Little White Rye
The subtle honey-like sweetness in this beer makes it the perfect companion to a cheese tray and the sage flavor will prepare your tongue for the herbs in the meal you’re about to consume. The slight taste of coriander mellows it out.
Dig in! You want a beer that will compliment all of the flavors — the savoriness of the turkey, the sweetness of the cranberry sauce, the creaminess of the mashed potatoes — of the meal on your plate without overpowering them. You also want something that feels special and indulgent since it’s a holiday and you’re not at work.
This beer is made by aging a Tripel Ale in Jim Beam bourbon barrels, making for a beer that is elegant and soft yet robust and deep. The taste of bourbon is subtle, supplemented by notes of vanilla and coconut.
Unibroue La Fin du Monde
“The End of the World.” With notes of candy sugar, toffee, pepper, clove, pear, and white grapes, this beer makes the good flavors better and the bad ones tolerable. It feels opulent and mystifying on the tongue.
The Bruery Autumn Maple
This is basically a dish in a bottle, which may be overwhelming for some but intriguing and stimulating for others. It’s brewed with yams and bursting with the flavor of maple syrup and molasses, complimented by cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, caramel, vanilla, raisin, and prune. This is perfect for the person who wants to take their love of pumpkin beer to the next level.
When it’s time to eat sweet things, you want a beer that is just sweet enough to compliment the dessert without stealing the show. It’s all about balancing the sweetness and other flavors so that each can be appreciated.
River Horse Milk Stout
The flavor of this beer is a bit muted and subtle, which is exactly what you want as your meal is coming to a close. There’s hints of roasty bittersweet chocolate, balanced by a mild astringency.
This beer is a good companion for a chocolatey dessert, since it has hints of vanilla and caramel and is rounded out by figs and cherries. The body is light yet soft and creamy.
Bolita Double Nut Brown Ale
Nutty and raisin-y, this beer is best paired with a fruity dessert.The brewers recommend accompanying it with a cigar, a suggestion that we condone.
Thanksgiving is what you make it, and these beers will make you thankful for fermented wheat and hops and hopefully all of the other good stuff in life – family, friends, safety, health, or whatever has come your way recently or ever. Wishing you a happy and classy Thanksgiving from of Iron and Oak.