Hootenanny Ribs

Hootenanny Ribs
3-2-1 rib perfection on my Traeger Pro 34 wood pellet grill

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving Six-pack

(Note: updated November 2017)
Thanksgiving comes with tasty roasted turkeys, savory smoked hams, earthy and spicy side dishes, and all of those scrumptious desserts. Family and friends, good conversations, lively debates, giving thanks for the all that we have: these are the things we all look forward to every year at this time. The meal though, that is the centerpiece of the celebration. Our family Thanksgiving meal usually leans toward traditional dishes. Besides some standard wines, what craft beers would pair with each course of the meal? Here are my favorite styles and suggestions for each part of your Thanksgiving dinner.

Try a Saison with hors d'oeurvres, salad and the poultry. This beer style pairs with almost anything so it's hard to go wrong with any good saison. A very good choice is Ommegang Hennepin or Blackberry Farm's Classic Saison.

New Glarus Cran-Bic will be served during our meal specifically to pair with turkey, any cheeses, and the cranberry sauce. Perfect pairing indeed. A good lambic always complements a big meal; acidic and tart play well with Thanksgiving foods. 

Orval also pairs superbly with poultry and ham. This Belgian Trappist Ale lends a spicy and strong palette to offset and complement the smoky ham and the herb-brined poultry. It also happens to be one of the best beers on the world. 

Locally a great substitute for Orval is Alliance Brewing Company's Belgo 3.0. 

If your guests prefer something just a bit more hoppy or your bird or ham is smoky and spicy, then try Sierra Nevada Celebration to complement the big flavors. This IPA will compliment any spicy dish with it's spicy pine hop profile and nice bitter linger. Bold enough for any Thanksgiving meal. 

Now we're ready for dessert. What better beer to serve with pumpkin pie than Schlafly Pumpkin Ale? Same flavor profiles as the pie, rich and delicious. It is pumpkin pie in a bottle. 

Not into pumpkin beers, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin pie spices? Want to impress the in-laws? Then try Southern Tier Creme Brulee - an Imperial Stout brewed with vanilla beans. Big, sweet, rich, definitely a beer you will want to share. Dessert in a glass. Might blow their minds while you're at it.

After dinner and dessert usually calls for coffee at our Thanksgiving dinners. Why not a coffee brew? Why not an Imperial stout aged on coffee, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers? Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb! is perfect for that craving.

Okay, maybe I listed more than six beers, but who's counting? There are always great craft beer choices to pair with every meal, especially the Thanksgiving meal. Enjoy your Thanksgiving meals and beer pairings. Enjoy your family and friends. Give thanks to all that you are grateful for and all for which you are blessed. 

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