Thanksgiving Week Beer Pairings

Beer Pairing for Flying with Kids: Second beer

If you can’t leave your kids at home with bowls of food everywhere and newspaper on the ground, keep reading.  For the most part, kids are great. Except when they want something or talk. I never knew why grocery stores put random things that nobody would want at knee level.  Then I had a kid. 5 year olds love to buy things that are expensive and break easily.

If you are traveling with one or two kids, here’s how you pair that experience with the right beer.  More than two children? You must enjoy torture and not sleeping. Not sure if beer will help, maybe double your dose. To keep your wits about you, don’t imbibe until you get to the airport.  Try to get ahead on what you will need out outwit your competition who will do everything to throw traveling off the rails. Kids are selfish and don’t care about you. Fact. Pack the car, lay out clothes, have food/games for the ride all staged beforehand.  Once you get in security, you are trapped. The questions, pulling down the guide rails, “I’m hungry! Where is my bunny?! How much longer? Really, you are my parents? Ugggghghhh! I WANT ICE CREAM NOW!” So that’s fun. Survive. No advice other than to not sit on the ground and cry.  And remember, all the other adults around that don’t have kids will think you are a terrible parent the whole time.

Once you are at security and at the gate, time to get on the phone and look at the beer list for your airline. It probably sucks. Maybe one good option. If you are on Delta you can get Atlanta’s Sweetwater 420.  So here is the pairing. Whatever you get, pair it with a second one.

Beer Pairing for Dinner: Avoid confrontation

Large gatherings of people who see each other a few times a year or less can be complicated in more ways than one.  There is 100% chance of somebody developing a trendy food allergy or hearing that somebody wasted their vote on a third party candidate.  The good thing, as a beer aficionado, you can steer those conversations away to something that is more agreeable. One thing to avoid, this is not the time to get on your soap box.  Don’t force someone to try something or explain the German Beer Purity Law. This will only scare them further away from expanding the beer spectrum. If you are granted the high authority to provide beer for the masses, do yourself a favor and don’t go too far outside the box and have people complaining the whole time.  Here is my buying guide:

  1. The best IPA you can find: This is a familiar style now.  Most people ask about it even if they have no idea about hops.  Go with what you know, don’t get too adventurous on this one.  
  2. Brown/Amber Ale or Lager: Yes, people still buy off color.  This is not necessarily a style, but will keep you from having to explain your beer purchasing.  Make sure it says brown or amber on the label and not something in German, which will scare those you want to be happy.  This is for your sanity.
  3. Light Lager:  If you don’t buy a 30 pack of something that says light (or lite), your second cousin three times removed will leave the party and get it himself, then cause a ruckus.  This is not the time to be the bad guy.  
  4. Doppelbock or Oktoberfest:  Yes, both of these are out of season.  But, the flavors complement and hold up to almost everything being served.  Doppelbock from the spring tends to age well, possibly some grape-like oxidation, which I personally don’t mind in the style.  With the Oktoberfest, just check the date to make sure it was packaged in the last 90 days. Try to find something on the cold shelf.
  5. Barrel Aged Fruited Sour: Makes for a killer after dinner sipper.  By this point, that 8th cousin removed 12 times may have warmed up to your fancy beer and try a sip.  More likely to enjoy it if he didn’t have to buy the 30 pack himself.

Beer Pairing for Thanksgiving Desert: Something cold and light

Remember it will be hot out there.  Lots of sand too. I hate sand, gets everywhere no matter how well you wash it off.  I would go with something light and easy drinking. Pilsner, Helles, or Kolsch would be advisable.  Not sure why you are going out in the desert on Thanksgiving anyway. And why the marketing team asked me to write about this?  If I were you, don’t worry about the beer, just go somewhere else. Maybe they sent me a typo.

Beer Pairing for Leftovers: And a casserole recipe

Few things get better with age as Thanksgiving leftovers.  And most leftovers I just eat in the car on the way home, so they don’t even have a chance.  My favorite thing to do is make a breakfast casserole out of various casseroles. There is no recipe, just have to visualize and execute.  Take your baked starch (flat dressing is the best I’ve found), and place it on the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Find some well-aged (day old) squash casserole and mix it with ham or turkey to put on top of the starch.  Use a dozen eggs mixed with ½ cup of milk with salt, pepper and ground mustard. Pour over everything. Top with the cheese plate that was way too much to begin with and bake. Boom. You have breakfast, brunch, lunch, a snack, and dinner.  But what to pair with this “masterpiece?” With it being pretty filling, find something on the lighter side. A Berliner Weisse is light and has a slight tartness to cut the heavy casserole. Don’t forget to take a nap or two as well.

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