by Doug Usher
Thanksgiving. That wonderful day when you’re encouraged to overindulge in those things worth indulging in: family, friends, food and drink. I suspect in most homes, wine gets the center spot at the dinner table. But this year, why not give beer a chance at the spotlight?
Thanksgiving is a long day, so lets break this down step by step. If you’re going to start early, I suggest you stick to something that won’t stick to you. Pick a session IPA like Diebolt Brewing’s Colorado Greenback. This nicely balanced, session IPA is low in alcohol, but high in taste. It’s the perfect thing to sip while you watch a game or hang with friends. Add in some salty snacks to balance the bitterness.
For appetizers, why not mix it up and replace your sparkling wine with a cider? Le Chene, from Stem Ciders is a beautiful, large-format cider made for sharing. Aged in oak wine barrels, it’s dry, crisp and pairs perfectly with a cheese plate or other nibbles.
While you’re cooking, pour a Reissdor Kölsch. This classic German Kölsch hits the spot while standing over a hot stove or chopping away at some veggies. Easy drinking, thirst quenching and pleasantly yeasty, it will taste great with whatever you happen to be sampling from a spoon along the way.
For dinner, try Utah Sage Saison from Epic Brewing. This beer will pair with most everything on the table, from turkey to potatoes to brussels sprouts. Its floral and spicy with just enough sweet to balance it out. It comes in a large format bomber, so it’s perfect for sharing amongst your guests. The subtle hint of sage accentuates the flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
For dessert I have two options for you, because let’s face it, most of us are going to have more than one dessert. With pumpkin pie, pour Belo IPÉ. This Brazilian Quad is brewed with coriander and aged on cachaca wood. Notes of fig, dates and dried fruit makes for a rich, full bodied beer. With pecan pie, you need to try River North’s Big City Quad. This quadruple ale was aged in Manhattan and Boulevardier cocktail barrels and packs a punch. It’s malty, sweet, spicy and has strong notes of bourbon from the barrel aging process. As with many of the beers I’ve listed, it comes in a bomber, so set out some glasses and share it around.
The food’s gone, you’re stuffed. But we all need a night cap before turning in for the evening. What you want is Horse and Dragon’s Sad Panda. This coffee stout is wonderfully balanced, smooth and satisfying, all the flavors of coffee without the jitters. It’s the perfect way to tell your friends how thankful you are for them, and for all their help with the dishes. For this beer you’ll need to swing by the brewery and have them fill a growler for you.
All other beers are available locally, including at our column sponsor, Mulberry Max.
Doug Usher is a die-hard foodie who appreciates all things delicious. When he’s not traveling the world searching out the best local beer, wine, and food, he can be found around Northern Colorado working as a filmmaker and advertising consultant. His blog, www.thisiswhywearefat.com, chronicles his exploration of food and drink with his wife, Katie.