Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving beer pairings

Thanksgiving is, or ought to be, a holiday of great decadence. If you're not overeating, and imbibing to match, you're missing the point.

Wine is a more traditional beverage than beer to pair with Thanksgiving dinner, but beer is more than up to the task. It's no knock on wine to notice that beer comes in a far greater range of styles and flavors.

I'm actually tasked with bringing beer to a small Thanksgiving dinner, so I've been thinking about this. I'd like to bring a variety of beers to cater to individual preferences and different foods.

A nice go-to Thanksgiving beer is New Belgium Hoptober. The fall seasonal (7 percent ABV, 40 IBUs) from the Ft. Collins craft giant is a well-wrought, hop-forward golden ale.

It's somewhat unusual to find a hoppy golden ale — usually they're pansy beers meant to avoid offense. Not this one. It has a wonderfully complex hop flavor from Centennial, Cascade, Sterling, Willamette and Glacier hops.

Hoptober should pair well with a typical Thanksgiving dinner. It also doesn't hurt that Star Liquors in Durango has Hoptober 12-packs on sale for $9.99.

Another favorite is Durango Dark Lager (5.8 percent ABV, 20 IBUs). This is a local beer that I periodically re-discover to my delight. Durango Dark would pair well with desserts such as pumpkin pie, and its malt-forward taste provides something different from Hoptober. If you live outside Durango and can't find Durango Dark, Session Black Lager (in the stubby bottles) is very similar.

Porters are also great in this vein, and Ska's Ten Pin Porter, Santa Fe's State Pen Porter and Deschutes' Black Butte Porter all come with the Soggy Coaster stamp of approval.

For a fancy wine-like presentation, Steamworks' Spruce Goose Ale is a personal favorite, and the spruce taste should pair well with fall harvest flavors on Thanksgiving.

Finally, if there were ever a day to drink really strong beers, Thanksgiving is it. Imperial stouts and barley wines can offer complexities not found in lesser beers.

Experiment. The internets are full of posts like this, so feel free to Google "Thanksgiving beer pairings" for other suggestions. Try what you like, and let me know how it goes.

1 comment:

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