The best Thanksgiving turkeys are often brined with salt and herbs, roasted with frequent bastings of butter, and seasoned with rosemary, sage, and pepper. Complement the herby and buttery flavor of juicy and savory roast turkey with a saison, or farmhouse ale. Often Belgian or French in style, saisons will provide a slightly fruity and slightly hoppy flavor that brings out the flavor of the herbs while balancing the saltiness of the dish. The lighter flavor and body of the saison will also pair well with the heavier dishes at Thanksgiving, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy.
Since saisons can range from fruity to slightly bitter, you want to be sure to choose a brew that will complement the foods you’re serving. A fruity saison may be too overpowering for a savory meal, but a robust and earthy saison such as Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale will please your guests with its balance between malty and fruity.
Image courtesy of Smuttynose Brewing Company
Candied sweet potatoes get their sweet, caramelized flavor from brown sugar, butter, and pecans. The caramel notes in a good Scotch Ale will accent the flavors in candied sweet potatoes, making this delicious dish even more delectable. Since Scotch Ale is sweet without being cloying, it also compliments saccharine dishes such as cranberry sauce and baked apples.
The caramel flavor of the Founders Brewing Company Dirty Bastard will complement the sweetness of your sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, while the smokiness will bring balance to your palate.
Image courtesy of Founders Brewing Company
Pumpkin beer is the natural choice for a dessert beer on Thanksgiving! The spicy notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves in pumpkin beer will enhance the flavors of a rich pumpkin pie. Pumpkin beer has a hint of sweetness, since it’s brewed with actual pumpkin, that will mix well with dessert. Most pumpkin beers are not heavy in hops or bitterness, so there’s no worry about ruining your palate at dessert time either.
Pumpkin beers abound in the aisles of your grocery store and liquor market, but a few craft brews stand out from the rest. The Out of Your Gourd Pumpkin Porter from the Washington-based Redhook Brewery is a full-bodied, dark pumpkin beer brewed with pumpkin puree, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
Image courtesy of Redhook Brewing