Give Thanks for the Dranks

The summer months have come to a close, leaves are piling up in yards, and Americans everywhere are preparing for the greatest holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. Ah, Thanksgiving, the one holiday where the food, football, beer, and lack of reason for religious disputes make being with the family all worth it. This year, instead of sitting down to the most mouth-watering meal I’ll eat in the next 364 days with just “whatever beer” my uncles decide to put in the cooler, I’ve decided to strategically compile a list of beer styles to go with every bite of my Thanksgiving dinner. I’vecovered all the standards for Thanksgiving, but feel free to adjust beers to fit with your family’s personal traditions and dishes; remember, as long as you enjoy the beers, you’re doing it right.

Course 1: Throughout the Day Pre-Meal Snacks

Don’t be fooled into thinking the first course of the day is at the table, a true Thanksgiving veteran knows that one of the best parts of the day is picking at every dish as they’re being prepared, the smacks on the hands and constant “Now there’s gonna be none left for dinner” are both worthwhile punishments and a sign that you’re snacking right. Seeing as how most of this snacking is done around or before noon, I’ve decided to go with Eleventh Hour’s Noble Spirit Pilsner, a light, sweet, and juicy beer with a nice 5% ABV, perfect for continued consumption while the day is young.

The Noble Spirit is great for afternoon grazing, not only because of the crisp floral notes and sharp but mild orange flavor, but also because the throughout the day snacking usually covers almost every dish that’s going to be ready for dinner, and there’s nothing better than a bright and lip-smacking brew to really get you into the swing of things for the day.

Course 2: Green Beans, Potatoes, and Stuffing 

When you first start getting some of that bountiful meal on your plate, a strategy for eating begins to form. A plan of attack. Now I know, the first thought isto dig into that turkey leg like a king in the Middle Ages, but it’s important to remember to SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST! With that in mind, when chowing down on the green beans, potatoes, and stuffing, I’m going to be drinking the Dogfish Head collab with Woolrich, PA Tuxedo Pale Ale.

At 8.5%, this boozy andspice filled pale alehas a wintery vibe that really helps to offset that salty savoriness of the side dishes. The bitterness of the beer is a great palette cleanser, it really gives a fresh take on every bite of the meal, and the nice little bite on the tongue makes this beer a solid sipper for the first portion of the meal.

Course 3: Mac & Cheese and Brussel Sprouts           

We’re getting closer to the main event. But for now, it’s time to devour some mac and cheese and some brussel sprouts. Again, both of these dishes are more salty, so to offset the flavors, I’m going to be pouring myself the Wyndridge NE IPA with Honey, a surprisingly sweet and malty IPA with a nice hint of bitter hops.

Now this NE IPA sits at 9%, and the booziness of the beer doesn’t hide itself. The warm malts cut against the hops in every sip, and the notes of 

honey combine in a fantastic yet not overwhelming flavor. This is definitely the brew to be drinking between shoveling spoonfuls of that mac and cheese (with hot sauce and Old Bay Spice if you’re lucky) and brussel sprouts into your stomach.

Course 4: Cranberry Sauce and Turkey

The time has come. That beautiful bird is sitting on your plate just waiting to get torn into like an employee that forgot to file the TPS reports. Some of you might be wondering why I put the cranberry sauce with the tukey, so let me explain. The cranberry sauce I eat on Thanksgiving is made by hand by my dear mother, and it’s truly the highlight of my year. If you are eating cranberry sauce from a can, feel free to put it in whatever course you want (or the trash).

I’m sure you all know what turkey tastes like, so I’ll skip all that jazz and get to the beer I’ll be pairing with the bird and cranberry sauce: Spoonwood’s Turtle Waste of Time Black Lager.

What’s that? A heavy beer to finish a heavy meal? Too much richness for even Scrooge McDuck? Think again! The Turtle Waste of Time definitely plays more to the lager side of the beer rather than the black side. Sure, the color is pretty much the same as squid ink, but the elegant maltiness of the lager really sits on your tongue in a great way after each swig. There’s a slight sweetness in the beer, a finishing note that doesn’t overpower the warm malts, but instead compliments the beverage, making it really the ideal beer for that turkey leg and sauce.

Course 5: Dessert

You’ve made it. The dinner has been pushed away, the pants have been unbuttoned, the TV is now full volume, and the itis is upon you. But before you can drift off into that beautiful cornucopia coma, you gotta have at least one slice of pie. And of course all your aunts and cousins brought cookies, cobblers, and every other sweet concoction there is. Naturally, you’re going to want a beer to wash down these treats. But what to drink? I decided that it would be a nice full circle to bring it back to something light, Full Pint’s White Lightning.

A Belgian Style White Ale, the White Lightning is a bright rush of citrus scents, flavors, and juiciness, elements that don’t at all interfere with sweets-eating. The haziness of this bad boy really gives you a sense that you’re almost drinking a juice or a relative of a cider. The beer isn’t too crisp, so after all the eating and drinking you’ve been doing, you’re not going to have to force this one down.

Well the day has come to a close, the relatives are about to boogie on home, and the fire’s still crackling. You might as well keep sipping on those White Lightning’s while you  say your goodbye’s to everyone and argue with your cousins over who’s going to the Superbowl. I can’t speak on how conversations with the family will play out during the day (those are always like trying to guess which way a football will bounce when you spike it), but if you follow this short little beer guide, I have no doubt that you’ll be well on your way to a Happy Thanksgiving.

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