You may have noticed some crankiness from me in my recent homework assignment where I exhorted readers to not buy Christmas beers too early. Part of the rancor comes from the fact that it seems that Thanksgiving gets short shrift in some corners of the beer world. We seem to skip from the pumpkin beers of Halloween straight to the darker offerings of Christmas.
For those who are determined to not leave craft beer behind this Thanksgiving (or who want to indoctrinate family members into the craft beer club), here are some options for tomorrow’s holiday.
Most of the day is spent waiting on the main event. The bird. That means killing time either watching football or talking to the relatives about the recent election. To make those options more appealing and keeping in mind that you don’t want to be passed out before the turkey is carved, a session beer is in order. I would suggest Full Sail’s Session lager. A hearty but still light beer that comes in 10 ounce “stubby” bottles. It is a great way to ease into the day without ruining your palate.
I would suggest adding beer to the side dishes. You can check out some wonderful ideas at the world renowned HomeBrew chef site. My favorite being the garlic IPA mashed potatoes and the multiple stuffing recipes that add that extra special something of beer.
Here is where craft beer really shines where wine has trouble. Chicken is a sure fire white wine meal. Beef is the red wine equivalent. But turkey can sometimes need a sparkle and punch that only beer can bring. A light IPA or a pale ale from El Segundo Brewing Co. would work. An Oktoberfest style might add a malty note. But I would look out for a really bold Belgian ale. Plain old Duvel would work wonders without overpowering the turkey and saisons, especially something light, would add an interesting note. Maybe pick up the new-ish Ladyface beer, DÉRAILLEUR which would add a spice and oak characteristics.
If you remembered that Thanksgiving is a marathon and not a sprint then you will have saved room for the pumpkin pie. I wouldn’t suggest matching pumpkin beer vs. its pie equivalent. That mano y mano bout might be too much. But what would really work would be a hearty Belgian. Maybe an offering from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. like their new Golden Ale, the abbey arm of Sierra Nevada or an even closer beer from Temecula called Quadrophenia brewed by Black Market Brewing Co..
Now I just have to figure out which beers would be best for Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Your Beer of the Week comes from both Placentia and Redlands. Savvy beer geeks will know that must mean a collaboration between The Bruery and Hangar 24. The breweries describe Ichigo Highway as “a sessionable sour red ale that we aged in oak barrels along with a whopping amount of strawberries, most of which were picked from the fields besides Hangar 24’s brewery. The it is aged for 8 months for a balanced taste of funk and berry. For an added twist it uses sake yeast.
Your Homework is to now officially start buying holiday beers. Happy hunting!
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.