Everyone remembers to put wine on the dinner table for Thanksgiving, but what about beer? You can't forget about the beer!
Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite meal of the year because I put about 9 bottles of both wine and beer on the dinner table (as if I need an excuse...). Wine is a great contribution, but seriously, beer is where it's at.
Beer is excellent with a meal like Thanksgiving because it is carbonated and can have a dry finish, which cleanses your palate after every sip and makes the next bite of food taste like its your first. With so many flavors going on in the meal, it is excellent to have a palate cleanser like beer.
There are two beer styles that I recommend pairing with Thanksgiving dinner: Saison and Biere de Garde. Saison is from Belgium, and Biere de Garde is from France. The two styles are very similar (their differences are a discussion for another day) in that they both have spicy, earthy components that will pair excellently with Thanksgiving. Many of them actually have spices IN them, but many just taste that way naturally because of the yeast strain used.
Saison and Biere de Garde are also excellent because they come in 750ml bottles which makes a great presentation on the Thanksgiving table. They are usually cheaper than wine as well, so you can open plenty up without feeling guilty.
These two beer styles from Europe may be difficult to find depending on where you buy beer, but don't fret: many American craft breweries are making interpretations that you can substitute easily. Just look for "farmhouse" or "saison-style" on a beer label and you know you've got a winner.
- St. Feuillien Saison (Belgium)
- Saison Dupont (Belgium)
- Brasserie a Vapeur Saison de Pipaix (Belgium)
- Brasserie St. James Daily Wages (Nevada)
- Ommegang Hennepin (New York)
- Brooklyn Sorachi Ace (New York)
- Dogfish Head Saison du BUFF (Delaware)
- North Coast Brewery Le Merle (California)
Biere de Garde
- Brasserie La Choulette Amber (France)
- Brasserie St. Sylvestre Gavroche (France)
- Brasserie Theillier La Bavaisienne (France)
- Sierra Nevada Trip in the Woods (California)
If you can't find these beers, fear not! Here are some other Belgian styles ales I recommend that can be found easily:
- Chimay Cinq Cents (White Label) (Belgium)
- Unibroue la Fin du Monde (Canada)
- Westmalle Tripel (Belgium)
- Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium)
- Victory Golden Monkey (Pennsylvania)
- New Belgium Trippel (Colorado)
- Delirium Tremens (Belgium)
- Duvel (Belgium) **Dani's fave!
- Russian River Brewing Damnation (California)
- North Coast Brewing Grand Cru (California)