November 26, 2009


Beer, Turkey, and Pilgrims: You need to read this article before Thanksgiving. (Maggie Dutton, November 14, 2007, Seattle Weekly)

This year I'm giving thanks that I don't have to write one of those compulsory "What wine goes with Thanksgiving?" columns. I get so sick of reading the same regurgitated tips. To me, a gluttonous meal in honor of the Pilgrims deserves an appropriate beverage, one to sip or guzzle as personal tendencies allow. When I think of the epic turkey-day meal, my brain conjures large tankards of rich ale, the kind I imagine the Mayflower passengers might have enjoyed.

But which beers? When pairing beer with food, I think of the crisp hop notes of a lager as being akin to white wines and the malt-dominated flavors associated with most ales as approximating the impact of red wines. But it's not that simple. Hops have a bitterness that I consider a stand-in for wine's acidity because it has a similar tongue-cleaning effect; hops will help cut through the heavy flavors of a mushroom gravy, sausage stuffing, or Yorkshire pudding. However, malt is essential to complement all the nutty, browned-butter flavors lurking on the holiday table. Without enough malt, your beer will taste sharp and cheaply dressed. The key is balance, with plenty of impact.

Go for a beer that's amber or light brown in style. I think an ESB—which typically has more pronounced malt to go along with its strong bitter flavors—is a natural for Thanksgiving.

We're going with the two we have in the fridge, which nicely represent people who came to the New World seeking a new life: Guinness Stout and Miller Chill.

[originally posted: 11/27/08]

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Posted by at November 26, 2009 12:36 AM

Ah, Miller, the Kool-Aid of bottled beer.

Posted by: Ed Bush at November 18, 2007 10:40 AM

I'll be drinking wine, thank you. Quality wine - and I won't have to pay for it.

Posted by: Brandon at November 18, 2007 2:55 PM

Wine is foreign.

Posted by: oj at November 18, 2007 7:21 PM

ESB is wordless proof of God's existence.

Posted by: Palmcroft at November 18, 2007 8:33 PM
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