Like many Americans, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And like most serious beer lovers, I’ve spent some time thinking about what styles go best with the Turkey Day feast.
I’m something of a traditionalist when it comes to holiday food and drink. On Thanksgiving, I think the house should be filled with the aroma of herb-roasted turkey.
To go with the bird and fixings, I like French-style biere de garde, Belgian-style saison or dubbel, or German-style dunkel or amber lager. Each style is distinctive on its own but versatile enough to pair with the crazy quilt of dishes on the Thanksgiving table.
Best of all, you can find fresh American craft beer takes on all of those styles, now. Look for the likes of Lost Abbey Avant Garde Ale, Ommegang Hennepin, Boulevard Nommo and Brooklyn Lager, and do some mixing and matching to find your favorite pairings.
Because the holidays coincide with colder weather and the release of stronger, darker seasonal styles, it always fun to stock up on winter warmers, porters, stouts and Belgian quads to sip with dessert (or even as dessert) or after dinner.
Here are four new beers that fill the bill:
Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout — A blend of dark roasted organic chocolate malt and and organic cocoa, beautifully blended in a delicious stout that really delivers rich chocolate aroma and flavor with a subtle touch of vanilla bean. Perfect for dessert on it’s own or try it with panna cotta or make a float with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
Terrapin Liquid Bliss — Terrapin’s latest one-off in the ongoing Side Project series is a chocolate porter with a twist. Along with chocolate malt and cocoa nibs from Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co., it’s brewed with peanut butter and boiled peanuts. The result is a slightly nutty aroma, but not much peanut flavor. For more of a Reese’s experience, try it with a slice of peanut butter pie.
Left Hand Fade to Black Vol. 4 — In the fourth year of its winter series, Left Hand goes to the bitter and dry side, inviting comparisons to the bracing after-dinner pleasures of Italian amaro. The black ale is brewed with dark chocolate malt and Columbus and Centennial hops, which come together in roasted and citrus aromas and flavors. Try it with Stilton or Gorgonzola cheese or a shot of Fernet-Branca.
Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple — Something like a cross between a quad and a strong pale ale, this crisp, sweet Belgian beauty follows in the footsteps of the classic Gulden Draak dark triple. The 9000 is a deep amber brew, which gets a secondary fermentation with wine yeast to reach 10.7 percent ABV. Fruity, spicy notes and champagne-like carbonation make it a natural with a cheese plate or a slice of New York-style cheesecake.
— By Bob Townsend, AJC Drink blog