Thanksgiving is almost upon us here in the US. I'll bet by now you've got most things arranged. Turkey. Sides. Pies. Guests. Seating. All that good stuff. But what about beer? Have you really thought about what beers you'll have on hand beyond "I'll pick up a six-pack or two before Thursday"? Really?
Now you may be thinking wine would be better. If that's what you like, go with wine. But it's a fair bet the pilgrims had beer, not wine, at that first feast that eventually evolved into Thanksgiving.
I have a few suggestions for you that might take your Turkey day brews from "hmmmm, beer" to "HMMMMM, BEER!!!!!" And I'll try to stick to beers you should be able to find fairly easily.
What you want to do is think about what you'll be doing T-day and what your menu will be and go from there. Here's what I'm planning:
1) I'll be grilling the turkey. Beer and grilling go together like Fred and Ginger, Waldorf and Statler, Starsky and Hutch, beer and pizza. But grilling a turkey is a long process - in my case it will take about three hours. So I'm going to start slow and light. No, not lite, light. Something refreshing and easy on the palate. I happen to have some Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale in my fridge. Perfect. Citrusy with a hint of hops and easy on the malt. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis would also work. Also citrusy with a hint of banana. Are there better wheat ales? Sure. And if you have easy access to one go for it.
2) Appetizers. These are often fat laden affairs, so you want something heavy on the carbonation to lift the fats off the tongue. Something champagne-like if you can. But beer of course. A biere brut would be ideal. But not always so easy to find. And often a little high on the alcohol. Remember, T-day is a marathon event and you want to make it to the end. So you could stick with something like the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale - the citrus and hops will help wash that fat off the tongue. Or maybe go with a domestic saison/farmhouse ale like Prairie 'Merica. That's what I'll be doing. Prairie Hops is also a good choice. There are plenty of decent farmhouse ales out there. You should be able to find one.
3) Salad. On T-day? Seriously? Okay, if you must do the green stuff, stick with the farmhouse ale. But really, salad on T-day?
4) The main event. Okay, think this one through. Turkey, stuffing, maybe ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. Heavy stuff. You want something with flavor so it's not overwhelmed, but not the kind of flavor that will compete. I'll be having Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh-Hopped IPA. Hoppy, citrusy, piney, a little grassy, and yet malty. Another good choice would be a good brown ale. Something like Bell's Best Brown. Or split the difference - Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.
5) Dessert. Still hanging in there? Coffee goes with dessert, right? Go with a beer with coffee flavor. A really good stout or porter can bring out coffee flavors without actually having any coffee in them. I'm a big fan of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. But I happen to have some Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout in the fridge (yes, it has coffee added). That's what will work for me. By the way, those big heavy stouts/porters? Often fewer calories than their paler cousins. Although, at this point in T-day who's really thinking about calories?
One final note. That's potentially a lot of beer. Be smart about that. Maybe split a bottle with one or two other people rather than drinking it all yourself. You might not want a full 12-16oz with appetizers, entree and dessert. And you might need to drive.