Beergiving + MBGCo.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite beer holidays. It is always enjoyable to be able to sit down and search for the perfect pairing of food and beer. But let’s track back as to what is traditionally paired with Thanksgiving: wine. Some of the major wines that are consumed for thanksgiving are Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Reislings, Sparkling, and Roses. All of these wines are very light and body and they all have good amounts of acidity to them which is why they pair perfect for Thanksgiving.
The three MAIN components to a Thanksgiving Day meal are turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. I know gravy, cranberries, green beans, etc. are in all in there too, but let’s just cover the basics. Turkey, stuffing, and potatoes are all very dense, filling components, with no crisp texture to it. It drives me crazy to pair big filling wines or hefty stouts / IPAs with it because after every sip, one starts to get very full with no break between every sip and bite. It’s like if you eat a steak, instead of pairing it with mash potatoes and gravy, try pairing it with a light salad and vinaigrette, it will blow your mind.
Back to Thanksgiving and beer, and the answer to pairing the Thanksgiving Day meal to beer is sour beers. I particularly like a Berliner Weisse or Flemish Sour / Flanders Red. Berliner Weisse will give you a refreshing citrusy tartness bite, while ranging from 2 – 5% ABV, so you can have more than one. A great example of a Michigan made Berliner Weisse is Bell’s Oarsman. Another way to enhance a Berliner Weisse is by adding a shot of fruit concentrate or blending a fruit beer to give the beer an extra dimension of flavor. Flemish Sours / Flanders reds provide more of a refreshing tart, fruit, and balsamic vinegar bite that are very complex and delicious. A great example of this style is Duchesse de Bourgogne.
Before drinking either styles of these beers, I recommend to go in with an open mind and heart because these do not taste like any of your “typical” beers. Approach these styles more as wines, like champagne with complex, acidic bodies that keep your mouths coming back for more.
Cheers everyone, and have a great Thanksgiving Day dinner.