I love beer at the Thanksgiving table.
I love the way it goes so wonderfully with all the cold-weather, heartwarming flavors and aromas.
I love the way beer glows and sparkles on the table in pretty glasses, alongside the “good” dinnerware that we save for special occasions, with candles and a special tablecloth as the backdrop.
I love toasting to good friends and family; giving thanks and appreciation with the one beverage that I consider the most noble and worthy for such an honorable and pleasurable responsibility.
More than six years ago, I wrote a column singing beer’s praises as a better choice than wine for this annual feast. Fortunately, serving a finely crafted beer (or several) at Thanksgiving has become a bit more accepted — or at least less frowned upon — than it was back then.
Despite the progress, it’s still a struggle to convince some people that beer is the better choice with the Thanksgiving meal. If you are obligated to share this holiday with a group that believes wine is the only beverage worthy of gracing the holiday table, there are still a few ways you can enjoy beer with the turkey and all the trimmings. Here are a few suggestions:
- BYOB: Yup, just bring your own. But OK it with the host and/or hostess. And make sure you have extra bottles, because once your dining companions get wind of how well beer pairs with the meal compared to the wine in their glass, you’re going to have to share.
- Hold a beer pairing: Use this opportunity for glass to be in session. Bring a couple of good beers to share alongside the wine at the table. If the group is game, you can move on to No. 3 below.
- Stage a smackdown: Ask one of the wine-rs in the group to select a few bottles that represent how well wine goes with the Thanksgiving courses and then choose an equal number of beers. Pour each for the appropriate course and have your dining companions vote on the better pairing. But plan for some pouting in the wine camp after dessert.
- Sneak it in: No, not like those childhood days when you and your cousin would take secret nips off all the adults’ cocktails. This subterfuge can be used alongside any of the other previously listed tactics. And it can also be implemented during more beer-friendly dining experiences as well. How to perform this top-secret task? Sneak the beer into the food. You can get some great recipes that feature beer as a main ingredient from Sean Paxton, the Homebrew Chef. In fact, Sean has a whole section on Thanksgiving menus and suggestions. You can also catch Sean talking turkey on my weekly radio show, “Beer O’Clock!” where he shares tips on brining the bird in beer and other great Thanksgiving recipes, tips and ideas.
And I have a very holiday-oriented recipe that I’d like to share with you as well. I created as a way to feature beer in a very unusual part of the holiday meal, but I promise nobody will ever guess there’s beer in it. It was even featured in a wonderful cookbook by author Diane Morgan titled “The Christmas Table.” It’s called Cranbeer-y Relish. You can get the recipe and find out more about it right here.
Hope your Thanksgiving is all you want it to be(er). Cheers!
Leave a Reply