“What beer should I drink with my Turkey Day feast?”
Yep, it’s that time of year again, and this is the question I am most often asked when the holiday season rolls around. So, I’ve decided to put my answer in a neat little column and be done with it.
I’ve chosen nine beers that I strongly recommend because their taste profiles work well with traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner flavors, and one that, uh, well, just read for yourself.
Happy Turkey Day!
Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont
This wonderful bubbly farmhouse ale (Saison) is the measuring stick by which all Saisons are compared. The cloudy pour should leave you with just enough yeast, banana and bubble gum esters to go along with that slight tart funk (Brett) all great beers of this style should possess. This brew has a wonderful earthiness that fits right in at any Turkey Day table, and has a pleasant spicy lingering dry finish.
Boulevard Brewing Company (Duvel-Moortgat) Tank 7
This sneaky strong (8.5% ABV) American rendition of the farmhouse ale is named after what the brewers at Boulevard Brewing call a “persnickity” piece of equipment — fermenter number 7. Upfront this Saison sports a big complex fruity, hoppy taste but finishes earthy, spicy and somewhat dry.
Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
This delicious wheat beer isn’t nearly as yeasty as most brewed in this style (German Hefeweizen) but its subtle notes of banana, clove and citrus orange should be enough to hit the mark with just about any Thanksgiving turkey.
Treehorn Dry Cider
This newly launched (September) Marietta, GA cider maker has only one cider to offer for now. But it’s a pretty damn good one. This cider, made from local Blue Ridge, GA apples, is easily the biggest surprise of 2015. It’s ridiculously delicious, crisp and refreshing. It is also sweet, but only mildly so — and remarkably clean. This cider is not yet bottled or canned, so look for at bars or for take-home check with the growler shops like Ale Yeah! in Roswell. Bonus: It’s gluten-free.
Wild Heaven White Blackbird
As you can see I believe farmhouse ales and Thanksgiving dinner are meant for each other. And this is by far the best of the locally brewed Saisons. It has just a little bit of that funk a good Saison should possess, but this one is spicier and more complex than most — and an excellent choice for any Thanksgiving dinner table.
This funky Belgian Strong Ale is the creation of one of America’s top forward-thinking breweries. It has that tart funkiness that almost makes you pucker, but there are hints of sweet to go alongside those big semi-sour apple notes. This semi-medium bodied ale is a risky beer and won’t be liked by all, but if you have a serious tart head on the invite list, this complex sour won’t disappoint.
Innis and Gunn Rum Cask
For those interested in where their beer comes from, this amazing beer was originally brewed at Belhaven for Innis and Gunn but has since moved to Wellpark — for reasons unknown. This is the popular oak aged English Strong Ale by Innis and Gunn but finished in rum barrels giving it a slightly sweeter, woody, fruitier (plum and raisins) taste that seems to pit itself well when paired with smoked birds such as turkey, and particularly duck.
Anderson Valley Fall Hornin’
Don’t expect big pumpkin flavor or to be overcome by large spicy notes, this pumpkin brew is an easy-going, well balanced beer that should go really well with just about anything at a traditional Turkey Day feast. And being that this one isn’t nearly as heavy as most pumpkin beers, one could easily make this an all-day — and night — Turkey Day session beer.
Terrapin Brewing PumpkinFest
A mix of Pumpkin and Oktoberfest styles, this beer boasts a malty sweetness and strong spicy nutmeg cinnamon notes and even clove. This beer relies more on true spices — spices that match up with the usual Thanksgiving day foods — rather than pumpkin, which, let’s be honest, is a flavorless gourd. This light amber is probably better served at the mid point of dinner and enjoyed through dessert.
Green Flash Brewing Palate Wrecker
Been invited to Thanksgiving dinner where you just know the food will be awful? Well then, this beer might very well be your best friend. Weighing in at a palate-pounding 149 IBUs, you shouldn’t be able to taste a thing after two swigs of this off-putting Imperial IPA. So fear not, and eat away.