Don’t Forget the Wine and Craft Beer Pairing

Thanksgiving is the time of year when our tables’ are lined with mouth-watering dishes such as broccoli casserole and most importantly, turkey. This is the one holiday where we can indulge in a gut-busting meal and the calories won’t count. We give thanks for the friends and family surrounding us and round off the day by making sure the television is tuned in to our favorite football game.

Most families have the dishes down pact a few weeks or month in advance, but what about the drinks? What goes best with turkey that also pairs well with football for easy drinking?

To find some expert recommendations, we turned to Marie Cummins, beer expert and blogger at Down the Hatch, a phenomenal resource for people who want to drink something of quality and a few guys from reputable breweries. Without further ado here are some libations, beer and wine included, that might be a welcomed addition to your libations table:

“I love pairing Belgian beer with food. They are inherently suited to drinking with a good meal. Westmalle Dubbel is regarded as one of the best Dubbels, yet still easy to find at most places that carry craft or imported beer. The fruity esters brining in the notes of prunes, figs, dates and apples will work perfectly with a roasted turkey, but not work against any sides such as sweet potatoes and herb stuffing. A medium body with tempered alcohol completes its compatibility with Thanksgiving,” Cummins shared.

Saisons are another type of craft brew that should be welcomed at the Thanksgiving Day table, like Sofie from Goose Island.

“Farmhouse ales also pair excellently with food. They often have a dry finish and an effervescence that make Saisons compliment even complex meals. Like Dubbels, Saisons benefit from fruity esters commonly used in Belgian style ales. Sofie has notes of orange citrus, apple, white pepper, and lemon zest. The dry mouthful is crisp and compliments everything from turkey to green beans to cranberries,” Cummins continues.

Here’s what the brewery experts suggested:

Session Fest | Full Sail Brewing Co. | Hood River, OR
“I think our best pairing with turkey would be Session Fest. It is a full-bodied Amber lager that balances caramel notes with a clean hop flavor. I think the malty caramel flavors would pair well with the roasted meat, while the hop notes would underscore the traditional Thanksgiving herbs of Sage and Rosemary,” James Emerson, Executive Brewmaster from Full Sail Brewing Co. shares.

Hazed Hoppy Session Ale | Boulder Beer Company | Boulder, CO
“As Colorado’s first craft brewery, we’ve had 35 Thanksgiving celebrations to get this right,” Dan Weitz of Boulder Beer Company proudly shares. “We like to pair turkey and gravy with Hazed Hoppy Session Ale. With the floral aroma of Hazed complements with sweetness of the turkey, its body is unfiltered and fairly malty for this style of beer, which pairs well with both the texture of the dish and doesn’t overpower it like an IPA might. At 5.0% ABV, Hazed won’t accelerate the tryptophan, but leave you ready for the next course!”

Old Chub Nitro | Oskar Blues Brewery | Longmont, CO
“As it gets to be dark beer season Old Chub Nitro fits well because of the smoky, chocolate and bit of coffee flavors,” Chad Melis from Oskar Blues Brewery inputs.  This brew is the first American craft canned nitro beer.

For those of us who prefer wine over beer we’ve rounded up some wines that might best complement this year’s prized turkey. We all realize or will soon come to realize that there is not one specific red or white that will complement every dish on the table, but you’ll find you can’t go wrong with a versatile wine. Here are some styles versatile enough to be introduced with the cranberries, sweet potato casserole with marshmallow and of course, the turkey.

If you’re a red wine drinker, a Pinot Noir might be most suitable for this occasion. Light in body and softer on the palate, a Pinot Noir takes the win over a Cabernet or Merlot this Thanksgiving Day.

For white wine lovers, a fuller-bodied white will pair well with the richer of dishes on the menu. A California Chardonnay should be sipped in between bites of mashed potatoes and gravy for optimal taste.

If you’re into bubbly, sparkling wines, you’ll be pleased to hear the sparkling wine is not known to overpower lighter dishes. And since this style comes with a celebratory feel, it’s perfect for the day we give thanks.

Let’s not forget the Rosés, perhaps the most versatile of them all. Rosés are usually reasonably priced, so a couple bottles won’t dig too much into your Thanksgiving Day food budget.

As we give thanks this Thanksgiving, let us feast and drink some of the finer brews and wines available to us, but not get too overwhelmed with the pressure to please all taste buds. Have at least one white, one red and maybe one rosé so your guests can easily drink something they prefer. And although we’ve suggested some wonderful brews, you can tailor it to your liking by choosing any Dubbel, Saison or Farmhouse Ale you’re familiar with. Happy feasting!

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Jeannette Swanson is a freelance writer who found her love for the media field in Chicago. She lives in California and contributes to a handful of online publications both in and out of state. When she's not trailing behind her two-year-old son or making sure the house is mess free by the time Mr. Swanson comes home you’ll find her with a crochet project in lap.

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