Thanksgiving week is finally here!
Now comes the dreaded question: How do I pair Thanksgiving dinner with booze? If you’re still struggling to pair your dinner with the right alcoholic beverage, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Who says you need to have wine with Thanksgiving dinner? Why not swap out your wine with some brews? I chatted with Erica Shea and Stephen Valand of Brooklyn Brew Shop, all about how to pair beers with your Thanksgiving dinner.
Before we dive into details, Shea and Valand want you to know that “Our number one rule when it comes to pairing beer with food is, first and foremost, to pick something you know you like. It’s easy to get swayed by a list that says ‘x beer goes with y food,’ and it likely does, but if it’s a beer style that you aren’t a fan of, no matter how well it pairs with your marshmallow sweet potatoes, it’s not the beer you should be serving for your whole family.”
When it comes to setting up your festive meal, the brew shop owners recommend three to four beer styles per Turkey Day meal. Although we love all beer, here at Booze & Brews, Shea and Valand recommend avoiding IPAS; they told me that “A big IPA is going to fight against all the flavors on your Thanksgiving plate rather than compliment them.” They suggest if you want to showcase a local IPA, do it pre-meal while everyone is arriving.
To help avoid getting stuffed during the meal between bites and brews, Shea and Valand suggest keeping the alcohol (ABV) fairly low for the meal. This way, you won’t fill up on beer alone, but if you do fill up on the beer, we won’t judge. The holidays can be hard, after all.
Don’t forget to remind yourself that you are getting beer for everyone, not just yourself. If your guests are particular when it comes to their beer, ask them what they like.
One of the best pieces of advice the brew shop owners have is “Holiday meals are great times to try out new styles without having to drink the whole six-pack yourself (that’s what guests are for, right?). We also always recommend supporting your local craft breweries. Whether you’re hosting or traveling, the other beer fans at the table will be excited about something that isn’t available in their neck of the woods.”
Here’s what the experts said to pair for your Thanksgiving Day favorites with:
Turkey with gravy and a Belgian Saison
“They’re bubbly and really dry—hopefully unlike your turkey, which is tender and moist. Besides family, turkey is the most important part of the day for many, so a Saison will let you fully taste the bird and cleanse your palette as you move between sides.”
Stuffing and a malty brown ale
“A brown ale is essentially the bread of beers. Few things are quite as cozy as a plate of stuffing with a subtly sweet brown ale.”
Sweet potatoes (with or without marshmallow) and a boozy brew
“We brew a Bourbon Dubbel that we absolutely love pulling out at Thanksgiving. It’s a Belgian-style ale brewed with bourbon. It’s a little boozy and warming and perfect for the day.”
Pumpkin Pie and a coffee-filled stout
“We just released a kit to brew Beer Geek Breakfast Stout by Mikkeller (a Danish brewery who recently opened a brewpub at Citi Field). It’s smooth, a little sweet, boozy, and filled with coffee. So it wakes you up a bit from your tryptophan turkey-coma.”
If you’re a beer lover who is looking for the perfect holiday gift or want to try your hand at brewing your own beers, don’t forget to check out brooklynbrewshop.com.