Thanksgiving is ready to pounce upon us like a panther stalking its prey, and the rest of the holidays are hovering over our heads. As much as the unseasonably warm weather in our neck of the woods has inspired thoughts of tanning rather than turkey, Twisted Pine Brewing Company has beers to pair with every mood and occasion.
"Carefully crafted beer has a vital place at any dinner table, no matter the occasion."
Whether you’re head chef or sofa king, you’re bound to get thirsty on Thursday. I spend most of my time in the kitchen that day, so in an effort not to cut my fingers off, I prefer pilsner to fuel my feast preparations. Pinky Ring is a light, crisp German pilsner with a full bouquet of floral and grassy hop notes, a snappy bitterness to cleanse and refresh the palate, and, at 4.8% ABV, it’s easy-drinking and approachable. Pilsner pairs perfectly with just about every traditional Thanksgiving dish as the crispness and bitterness mitigate the fatty richness of green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and the like, while the bready malt and noble hop notes complement even the most delicate piece of turkey, especially if the bird has been treated with the classic trinity of rosemary, sage, and thyme.
However, pilsner is not the only choice, or perhaps even the best choice. La Petite Saison is actually my personal favorite meal matchmaker. At 4.7% ABV and 25 IBU, neither the alcohol nor the hop character stands out, but the farmhouse yeast profile matches the intensity of a bonafide Thanksgiving bacchanalia. Sun-dried hay, overripe lemons, cracked white pepper, and a hint of fresh sourdough bread are the calling cards of this beer, creating a tantalizing tango of flavors as the spritzy citrus and subtle spice cut through even the most decadent gravy, while congenially mingling with the rest of the feast. In addition, its light body and dry finish elevate the cornucopia of taste and textures of a full Thanksgiving spread without further overburdening the palate. La Petite Saison is wonderfully complex in its simplicity, which is why it pairs so perfectly with the wide array of dishes on any holiday table.
"Pairing beer with food should be a transformative experience that enhances both components to create something new and unforgettable."
Carefully crafted beer has a vital place at any dinner table, no matter the occasion. While I tend to favor lighter, simpler beers for my main course, dessert is the perfect time to reach for some darker, richer, more robust beers. Pumpkin pie is as essential to Thanksgiving as turkey, and no other beer of ours compliments the flaky, buttery crust and sumptuously spiced filling as well as Big Shot Espresso Stout. Creamy, bold, and fecund cold-steeped Peruvian coffee permeates every sip and blends beautifully with the pumpkin spices, creating, simply, a sense of home.
Pairing beer with food should be a transformative experience that enhances both components to create something new and unforgettable. Save the imperial stout and double IPA to savor while cleaning the dishes and putting away leftovers; instead, focus on finding beers that will easily compliment and contrast the multitude of holiday dishes while also being exceedingly drinkable. Whether it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or just Tuesday night, matching the beer’s flavor intensity to the food’s is the first step to any successful pairing.
Cheers and happy holidays!