Turkey day is right around the corner and with it comes a cornucopia of meats, homemade casseroles, sweet potatoes, cranberries and a plethora of pies and desserts. But which beers to drink with this veritable smorgasbord of flavors ? Since everyone seems to be talking about this, here’s a few North Texas selections I go for
As the family trickles in, a variety of appetizers are laid out for the guests to munch on while they wait for uncle so-and-so or aunt this-and-that to arrive. While there will be the inevitable waft of horrible perfume and after shave as you go through the required hugging, there is no need to drink bad beer while having those deviled eggs, spinach and artichoke dip or hummus.
Go for something effervescent, light and yet flavorful. My recommendations would be Lakewood Brewing Hopochondria, Martin House Salty Lady, Community Wit or any of the Collective Brewing sours such as their Petite Golden Sour or the Urban Funkhouse Saison.
The main fest
Besides the traditional turkey, our family usually also has ham and a little layered pork dish I make. In addition, you have the green bean casserole, usually with mushrooms, the broccoli cheese casserole, the sweet potatoe casserole with the gooey marshmallows on top and the acidity of the cranberries. Sweet, nutty, roasted, caramel, sour, cheesy, …. A palette of flavors that would make any beer lover scratch their head trying to figure out what to serve.
I am lucky enough to still have some Lakewood Dame du Lac in my fridge, which proved to be nothing but magical last year. They say that Biere de Garde is a true chameleon when it comes to beer pairing and I have to say that in this case it proved absolutely true. But since there’s very few of those available, I’ll provide two different recommendations:
For the lovers of the hop bells, I would recommend Community Mosaic. Strong and fruity enough with the aromas of grapefruit, pine, citrus and tropical fruits, it will cut through the richness of the cheese and gravy. But the sweet backbone of the Maris Otter malt provides that caramel character that pairs so well with the roasted turkey and honey glazed ham.
Alternatives are the Deep Ellum IPA or Peticolas Velvet Hammer, the latter being only available in growlers, but a classic in my book.
For those that are not a fan of IPA’s, I’d suggest going dark. Not literally, so leave that light switch alone, but grab something on the dark side of the
force beer spectrum. I was pleasantly surprised recently by the Oak Highlands Charity. A German style Alt-bier with a sweet but not cloying maltyness that would work well with the wide spectrum of flavors on your plate.
Solid alternatives would be any of the Dunkelweissen beers, such as the one produced by Franconia, a Vienna Lager, of which there’s several in North Texas, or a Schwarzbier like Rahr’s Ugly Pug. That latter one may even persuade Uncle So-and-so to have his first craftbeer with his turkey.
In our family we usually find a whole range of pies. From chocolate, over cherry to pumpkin and pecan. From sweet, to tart, to earthy and nutty. Usually paired with the obligatory scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Sweet, dark, heavy and strong is my motto for a good dessert beer. By now, Lakewood Temptress, Community Legion, Deep Ellum Double Brown stout or their Four Swords quad and 903 Sasquatch have become classics in the North Texas area and any of these will do. But if you happen to have a barrel aged version of one of these, I’d open it, sip slowly with dessert and then retreat outside with a good cigar to enjoy the remainder of the bottle.
Personally, I have a few bottles of Braindead Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel Hammer of the Gods (classified as an Imperial Wheat Porter) in the fridge and plan on cracking one of those. I was tremendously impressed with it during last Saturday’s release event and can’t wait to have my piece of warm pecan pie, ice cream and a glass of this. After which, I will find a comfy spot in a recliner and drift off in a happy food coma.
You have two days left to go stock up the fridge. And remember, any time spent around a filled table, with pleasant company and good beer is a time to be cherished. May your thanksgiving days provide you with all that and more.