Beer to Get You Through Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a traditional time for sharing, eating and giving thanks. It’s also a swell time to watch football and drink beer all day. Let’s face it: You don’t have to go to work, but in many cases you do have to hang out with your relatives all day. For some of us, you need to drink.
Hey, a farmer in New Hampshire feeds his turkeys beer. If the birds are drinking it, we should be too. So, here are a few recommendations for your Thanksgiving get-together.
In general, here’s how most beer resources see Thanksgiving beer drinking: You start the day (say, at kick-off) with lighter, easy-drinking beers that won't fill you up. For the meal itself, you go for something a bit stronger, preferably something slightly bitter to help enhance flavors in main dishes. And after dinner, enjoy a big, rich, sippable stout or porter.
As noted, not only do the beers help you enjoy your gigantic holiday feast, they also help you endure some of the less... festive... social aspects of it.
When the day gets started, consider enjoying a refreshing Samuel Smith's Pure Brewed Organic Lager. It’s not exactly exotic, but it is one of the more solid and dependable lagers out there. At 5.0 percent ABV, it’s light enough to be a reasonable session beer, but it has enough of a kick that will sure make it easier for you to listen to your Uncle Randall prattle on about his latest surgical procedure. What’s an ileostomy again?
Also consider having a light, but flavorful cider on hand for those who might not go for something as relatively complex as the Samuel Smith. A Magner’s is a solid middle-of-the-road choice that is not too sweet and not too tart, but still has a pleasant fruity flavor. Plus it will give your annoying sister something to put in her mouth to help curb how much she talks about her awesome boyfriend, who never seems to show up to these family gatherings.
For a traditional, roasted turkey dinner, how about a marzen-style brew? Great Lakes Oktoberfest is one of the best choices of its kind in part because of its mild finish. Plenty of spice and noble hops, but the flavor won’t get in the way of your grandma’s dried out stuffing and that dirty-sock aftertaste.
If you want to throw a curveball in there, see if you can find Harpoon's Winter Warmer, which has plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, and will distract you from Mom’s constant complaining about football and her never-ending chorus of, “I thought the parade was on” – even though it’s 4:30 in the afternoon.
Another one to consider for dinner is Harpoon’s Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale – yep,
Cranberry beer. It doesn’t get much more Thanksgiving than that! After the 6.5 percent ABV of The Great Lakes, the Harpoon beers sit at 5.9 percent each, and that suppertime buzz will come in handy when Dad invariably decides to unbutton his pants at the dinner table to “make more room.”
And finally, once the plates have been cleared and the passive-aggressive sniping has died down under the weight of a collective tryptophan hangover (a tryptophangover?), that’s when you bust out a classic: Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Have you ever wrapped your mouth around one of these? Holy cow! Made with dark chocolate and chocolate malts, this isn’t a beer to go with dessert, it is dessert. And it’s way better than that crappy, months-old fruitcake Aunt Bitty brought with her. (You just know she got it on sale last January at Wal-Mart.)
So as the day winds down, and your right-wing cousin Iver, who also somehow is an insufferable hipster, drones on about Obamacare, socialism, Al-Qaida and his plan to move to British Columbia in 2014, you can sip your Young’s with a warm, full belly while you stifle eye-rolls and wish he’d shut up and move already.
Oh, and if the relatives stay past 9 p.m., just break out the tequila. At that point, passing out is your only salvation.