Craft Beer Cellar Saves Thanksgiving 2015 Edition
It’s our annual Thanksgiving Dinner beer pairing post! As part of our commitment to education, we are always challenging ourselves to find fun and interesting beer and food pairings. Thanksgiving Dinner is a perfect opportunity to share some our favorite beers (and beer pairings) with friends and family. So what’s on the tables and in the fridges of the Craft Beer Cellar Beer Geeks this year? We hit up some of the Craft Beer Cellar Freshman Class (stores that opened in 2015) and asked them for their favorite recommendations for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Craft Beer Cellar West Hartford, CT
Opened: February 26, 2015
Owners: Marissa and Karen DeCapua
Davidson Brothers Brewing Co. Scotch Ale
My favorite part of Thanksgiving is the PIE!!! My absolute favorite is a caramel crusted apple pie with vanilla ice cream and I love to pair it with a rich, malty Scotch Ale. This year I will be pairing my new favorite Scotch Ale, Davidson Brothers Brewing Company Scotch Ale, with my dessert. The complex caramel malt flavors will really bring out the sweetness of the pie.
Andy Fredericksen – Beer Geek
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Kvasir
Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. So naturally, my go-to beer pairing for Thanksgiving dinner is Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Kvasir. Kvasir is part of Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ale series. Inspired by a 3,500 year-old Danish recipe, this complex beer is brewed with wheat, lingonberries, cranberries, myrica gale, yarrow, honey and birch syrup. It pairs well with vegetables, various types of meat/poultry, and tart fruits. These foods typically make up a standard Thanksgiving dinner – at least in my household. For extra fun, use some Kvasir as an ingredient in your turkey stuffing, and pour the rest into a snifter to enjoy with dinner.
Craft Beer Cellar Plymouth, MA
Opened: March 12, 2015
Owners: Tatum Stewart and Tom Frizelle
Tatum & Tom
Overshores Brewing Co. Tripel Brun
Our choice for Thanksgiving Dinner is Overshores Brewing Company Tripel Brun. This beer is more malt driven than your normal Belgian Tripel, but still displays the estery (think fruit or flower notes) and phenolic (often spicy like black pepper or cloves) character you’d expect from a Belgian beer. The addition of Caramel and Munich malts ups the flavor ante giving this beer the backbone it needs to stand up to the wide range of flavors on the Thanksgiving table. The higher ABV (9.5%) and lively carbonation cleanse the palate getting you ready for another helping of turkey…or mashed potatoes and gravy…or stuffing…or…
Craft Beer Cellar Bozeman, MT
Opened: May 8, 2015
Owners: Aimee & Reid Mikkelson
Brasserie Castelain Castelain Blond Biere de Garde
My choice is Brasserie Castelain Castelain Blond Biere de Garde. This beer is just one of those beers that goes well with just about anything! It will compliment all the traditional dishes of Thanksgiving dinner from turkey to stuffing to green bean casserole. It has just a slight sweetness and a touch of citrus that will cut through the heavy gravies as well as bring out the orange flavors of my Grandma’s ground cranberry and orange relish.
Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale
I would go with Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale. The licorice root and star anise in this beer will pair really well with Aimee’s family tradition of Bouchaladi (an anise flavored sweet roll that her great-grandmother made). The fruity Belgian yeast character and carbonation will also pair well with the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course stuffing.
Craft Beer Cellar Amesbury, MA
Opened: June 20, 2015
Owner: Karen Wood
The Amesbury Team
Snowdrift Cider Co. Red Cider
Smuttynose Brewing Co. Old Brown Dog
Clown Shoes Brewery Coffee Pecan Pie Porter
For Thanksgiving dinner, we’re bringing a bottle of Snowdrift Red Cider to start as it compliments a lot of traditional hors d’oeuvres very well and is a light way to start off a day of wonderful food and spirits, much like a glass of champagne. We’re bringing plenty of Smuttynose Brewing Company Old Brown Dog to the Thanksgiving table. There are few things better on earth then turkey smothered in gravy, stuffing and a delicious brown ale to wash it all down. To complement the dessert table, Clown Shoes Brewery Coffee Pecan Pie Porter is a great pick. It’s like dessert in a glass!
Craft Beer Cellar Fort Collins, CO
Opened: June 20, 2015
Owners: Justin Wright and Chris Lazzery
Chris & Justin
Brasserie Castelain Castelain Blond Biere de Garde
Like our friends in Bozeman, we have to go with Brasserie Castelain Castelain Blond Biere de Garde. It has nice earthy and herbaceous notes that pair so well with herbed and roasted meat like turkey. It would also highlight the herbs in stuffing while providing a head to cleanse the palate from the sweeter items like yams, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. We just paired this with chicken panzanella and it was fantastic. Thanksgiving dinner will have similar herbal notes.
Craft Beer Cellar Port Washington, NY
Opened: September 5, 2015
Owners, Erin and Trish Molyneux
Two Roads Brewing Co. Road 2 Ruin Double IPA
I love Thanksgiving because it is a time to reflect on the year and all that I’m grateful for, but it is also a great reason to eat delicious, nostalgic food all day long. And the next day. And the next. Wash, rinse, repeat. My favorite dish is stuffing (especially his Trish’s). I particularly love Herbed Stuffing. My go-to beer for my Thanksgiving plate (which largely consists of stuffing) is a Double IPA. My favorite right now is Two Roads’ Road 2 Ruin. The Road 2 Ruin is great because it smells outstanding with its very prominent citrus and pine aroma. The citrus carries over into the taste and compliments the herbaceous back notes of the beer. These flavors combine to really enhance the herbs and spices that embody each aspect of the plate and the stuffing.
Left Hand Brewing Co. Nitro Milk Stout
I won’t turn down a good beer with Thanksgiving. Session IPAs are more my speed for the general meal, in an effort to save room for dessert. One of my annual Thanksgiving contributions is my Sweet Potato Pie. My version is an identical cousin to pumpkin pie. This way you can eat it during the main course and go then back for seconds at dessert! I typically end the night with a Milk Stout. My latest go-to is the Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro. With its roasted malt and chocolaty flavor, the Milk Stout Nitro is a great compliment to any dessert. Not to mention, it’s a great replacement for coffee (assuming you are staying home or not driving) because of the coffee and toffee back notes. The smell is outstanding and taste is even better. It lingers ever so slightly to make you crave another sip…and mostly likely another bottle.
Steven Spost – Beer Geek
For me, Thanksgiving is about memories and tradition. Food is very much a part of both when it comes to this holiday. My family gathering around Grandma’s table would range from traditional Thanksgiving fare to the unexpected (which became the most anticipated dishes year after year). My favorite is my grandmother’s Pork Fried Dumplings. The homemade dumpling wrappers are just the perfect amount of doughy. You can taste the essence of the rice flour while not taking away anything from the perfectly seasoned pork. The pork filling is the ideal combination of China meets Italy. It has the sweetness and nuttiness found in your traditional Chinese fried dumpling with a compliment of Italian herbs and spices. The dumplings are pan fried in a light olive oil to create a beautiful light and crispy mouth-feel with no greasy aftertaste. The perfect accompaniment to this appetizer is a nice Hefeweizen. This tends to be my favorite beer for Thanksgiving overall as it pairs well with any course. The Hefeweizen that I recommend is Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. The sweet smells of the yeast and citrus make your mouth anticipate the first sip. The overall taste is sweet and bready with a nice clean finish. Perfectly matched with something doughy and fried.
Rick Baiman – Beer Geek
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout
I’m a traditionalist. The part of the day that I look forward to most is (aside from spending time with friends and family of course) the star of the show; the Turkey and Cranberry Sauce, which is as American as apple pie (also one of my favorites). My choice is Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Company’s Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout. While this beer has been rumored to help aide in digestion, my main agenda is to drink more than one delicious beer that translates well with any course. The smell is the initial draw. The decadence of the vanilla, chocolate and espresso aromas wow your palate right out of the gate. Then with your first sip your taste buds are dazzled by the combination of the vanilla, oak and bourbon whiskey. Following the first impression are slight hints of caramel, espresso and dark chocolate. It is mildly carbonated which is what makes it so drinkable with such a heavy meal and the ABV is low, so you can drink more than one and still be present for your guests.
Darwin Goh – Beer Geek
Almanac Beer Co. Dark Pumpkin Sour
My palate is on the sweeter side so what I look most forward to is dessert! Pumpkin Pie is my main attraction, with that perfectly sweet and buttery graham cracker crust paired with the velvety spicy/sweet pumpkin filling. How could you go wrong? What I tend to pair with this treat is Almanac Dark Pumpkin Sour. The initial smell is pure funk. With a deeper nose dive you will get the hints of milky chocolate with the slightest hint of pumpkin. Once it touches your lips you instantly get the flavors of tart fruits. Raspberry and red fruits really hit the tongue and are highlighted by milky vanilla and chocolate tones. It does not come across as a pumpkin beer, which is why it is such a fantastic compliment to the pumpkin dessert. The sweetness of the pie is muted slightly by the sourness in the beer. The subtlety in the sour taste makes the beer very enjoyable to drink and the pie more enjoyable to eat.
Craft Beer Cellar Framingham, MA
Opened: November 7, 2015
Owners: Pat and Kristin Loranger
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Blood Orange Gose
Growing up in Maine, seafood was a big part of our family celebrations, including Thanksgiving, highlighted by my uncle’s famous Oyster Stuffing, made with oysters, lobster, lots of butter and other fabulous shellfish. My go-to beer for a rich, seafood dish during the holiday season is Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Gose. Gose is a sour wheat ale brewed with salt and coriander and it is a style that pairs amazingly well with oysters. AVBC’s winter version adds blood oranges to bring citrus flavors and some sweetness resulting in a well-balanced beer. I love the way the refreshing tartness cuts through some of the rich, buttery goodness of the oyster stuffing. As an added benefit, the Blood Orange Gose has an ABV of only 4.2% so it won’t have you snoozing before the pumpkin pie is served!