Mediocre beer does not belong on the Thanksgiving table. Thanksgiving is the best holiday so we should treat it as such and pair the meal with fine beer. Put something interesting, something unique, and most of all something local on your Thanksgiving table.
You live in Seattle so this isn't a difficult task to complete. You are in one of the world's best beer-making regions, finding a great local beer is exceedingly easy. And Thanksgiving is a meal fit for beer pairings. Nothing cleans the sticky fat of gravy off your ribs better than a beer that's dry and fizzy. (If you have a fear of gluten you might want to check out Capitol Cider's Thanksgiving cider pairing flight for gluten-free ideas.)
So what beers should you bring? I asked two great bottle shops, Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown and Bottleworks in Wallingford what they thought would work well with Thanksgiving. Here’s what the experts say:
This is that two-hour period that kicks off the meal with casual grazing of finger foods, cheese plates, pickle platters, perhaps a deviled egg tray if you're eager, a platter of cured meats if you are a glutton. What are we drinking?
Trevor from Bottleworks says you should serve appetizers with Holy Mountain Brewing's Vesper ($12.99/ 750ml bottle):
Vesper is bright, approachable, balanced and only 3.8% ABV so it leaves you lucid and ready for the next of many rounds to come. The light Brett funk and hints of lemon play well with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, and salads while the slight acidity and effervescent carbonation cleanse the palate for the next bite.
Jon Olken at Full Throttle Bottles also recommends a Holy Mountain beer, but he chose The Ox ($15/ 750ml bottle).
The Ox is a Saison brewed with orange zest and hopped with Cascade. It went through primary fermentation in oak and then aged 4 months in an oak Foudre with one of Holy Mountain's favorite Brett strains. It was then refermented in the bottle with Brett.
Saison is the true Champagne of beer. It works with everything. This citrus saison will work great with your cheese plate due to its acidity and funk, or it will work with your salad thanks to its citrus and vegetal notes. It's complex yet approachable and a perfect way to start your holiday meal.
You know, the Turkey, the tofurkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the cranberry sauce, and of course the gravy. So much gravy.
Jon from Full Throttle Bottles recommends Mirage Beer Co's Cible Mouvante ($25/750ml bottle).
A saison aged and refermented in oak with Pinot Noir must from the Willamette Valley.
A bright, lively, and slightly acidic saison that will cut right through all the flavors on your holiday plate. The slight fruit flavor from the Pinot Noir must, a classic Thanksgiving wine pairing, will blend beautifully with your meal while simultaneously refreshing your palate for the next bite.
Aaron and Owen from Bottleworks recommend the Georgetown Lucille IPA ($12.99 for a six-pack):
Classic citrusy IPA with a solid malt base. Floral and citrus hop aromas will compliment the fresh herbs while the bitterness and malt sweetness will help to cut through all the richness that comes from excessive quantities of butter and chicken stock.
The dishes are done and the pies are on the table. What's in your glass?
Greg from Bottleworks recommends Machine House Brewery's Dark Mild ($5.99/ 500ml):
Thanksgiving is always a big meal and dessert can be pretty rich, so something light and full of flavor would round out the meal well. The Machine House Dark Mild hits that balance perfectly at 3.7% ABV while being full of great coffee-like and minerality flavors that would work really well with a wide range of desserts, whether it be a light and fresh berry tart, a rich and creamy chocolate bomb or the classic pumpkin pie.
Jon from Full Throttle Bottles recommends Icicle Brewing's Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Stout ($7/22oz bottle).
This decadent stout has a deep chocolate flavor complemented by a nice nutty and vanilla backbone. It can be drunk alone or paired with anything from pumpkin pie to cheesecake.
There you go–six local beers to bring to your Thanksgiving meal and only one is an IPA. Now go and celebrate Thanksgiving with the help of local beer, you turkey!