Giving Thanks for Beer
Each year we invite all of our friends that don’t have Thanksgiving plans over for a big group meal. Each person brings his or her favorite dish, which is served family-style during dinner. Since all of our friends happen to be homebrewers, coincidentally or not, it turned into a tradition for each guest to bring their favorite homebrew to enjoy with dinner.
With a huge selection of homebrews to choose from, as well as a wide variety of dishes, we quickly adopted another tradition of finding the perfect homebrews to pair with our Thanksgiving meal. The complex flavors found in a traditional Thanksgiving meal lend to a wide variety of beer pairings, but finding the perfect pairing is easy when following a few simple guidelines.
For home brewers and craft beer lovers, beer is a staple in any major event, so knowing how to strategically plan a beer pairing can turn a good holiday gathering into a great one.
The simplest approach is to choose one great beer that will pair well with the entire meal. Consider the overall theme of your dishes and find a common flavor profile to work with. Most Thanksgiving dishes are prepared in the oven or on the stovetop, which automatically creates a common ground: caramelization. The subtle malt character in Bier de Gardes compliments the sweet tones brought forward from caramelization, plus the versatility of the style allows it to pair nicely with almost any home-cooked meal.
If, like us, you have a slew of beers to choose from, then you may want to consider each dish individually.
For those sticking to the traditional main dish of turkey and stuffing, one of our favorite pairings is a nice American Brown Ale. The Heights’ Brown available in our taproom is a well-balanced brown that holds its own against all hearty dishes. Alternatively, a clean, light wheat beer, such as Kelly’s Belgian Wit, will compliment the meat without overshadowing it and makes a great partner for cranberry sauce.
Side dishes such as green bean casserole and mashed potatoes sit nicely alongside the turkey in pairing with the brown, but they also work well with an English Bitter or an English IPA.
Try baking a loaf of home-made bread with your favorite beer in lieu of baker’s yeast for an extra special touch to the meal. Any style can be used, but we’d recommend one that goes along with the others being served during the meal.
For dessert, spiced pumpkin ales or winter warmers are a perfect fit for seasonal pies such as pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan.
If time is running out and you still can’t pick the perfect pairing, then join in on our tradition and challenge your guests to bring their favorite brews to pair with dinner!
About Southern Brewing & Winemaking
Southern Brewing & Winemaking is a homebrew and winemaking supply shop, as well as a microbrewery with a taproom and biergarten, owned by huband and wife Brian and Kelly Fenstermacher. Offering over 100 grains, 50 types of hops, dozens of wine kits, and all the equipment that goes along with it, Southern Brewing & Winemaking is the largest homebrew and winemaking supply shop in the Tampa Bay area. Southern Brewing & Winemaking brings in weekly food trucks and musicians, offers monthly classes on home brewing, and hosts several group brew days throughout the year in their newly redesigned biergarten.