Thanksgiving pairings

Thanksgiving meals, like Christmas, have a number of challenges when it comes to pairings. The turkey is sweet but can be rather flavourless. Sweet potato casserole can be extremely sweet indeed. There tends to be a lot of butter floating around, as well as cranberry sauce, gravy, and (at least in my household!) mustard sauce, too.

This combination of radically different flavours, textures, and fat content is enough to give anyone other than a world-class Sommelier nightmares.

For a beer connoisseur, it’s easy – give me a good Saison or French Farmhouse ale, and we’re done.

The explosive carbonation lifts the fats off your tongue – goodbye butter. There’s a sweetness in there that plays nicely with the turkey and the sweet potatoes (and brown sugar or marshmallows, depending which way you like to make it).

There’s a sharp acidity in there that laughs at the cranberries, and there is a final sharp snap of bitterness from the hops that scours your tongue, leaving it refreshed and waiting for the next bite.

Wine with my Thanksgiving meal? No thanks! Give me a Saison and I will give thanks :)


The Alabama sources

Saisons and Farmhouse Ales are not yet common styles in Alabama.  As of fall 2012, I can only think of one potentially suitable candidate for Thanksgiving: Avondale’s Spring Street Saison.  It’s sweeter than some, but should still pair nicely.  I hope to see more variety in future!

The fallbacks

If you can’t find a good local option, try Saison Du Pont (a Belgian-brewed Farmhouse Ale).


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