Happy Thanksgiving! The long weekend is here and many of us are celebrating it with a huge feast with family, friends and a few select beers. Thanks to the versatility of the ingredients used in beer – malt, yeast, hops and other spices – it can be the perfect accompaniment to a main dish, slab of pumpkin pie or good conversation.
Heading into the long weekend we asked Ottawa's Beer Bloggers how they incorporate beer into their Thanksgiving celebration.
Dave Evans – Beer Maven
I like to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to share some beers with family members that may or may not share my fanaticism for craft beer. I almost always make it home for Thanksgiving and prior to the feast that my mother always prepares, Pumpkin Ales are the rule. I like a wide variety of Pumpkin Ales from the earthy, gourd-first brews to the heavily spiced; though, if the beer I've brought to share is REALLY full of pumpkin pie spices I may also serve it at dessert. If no Pumpkin Ales are to be found, a nice red ale also goes well with Thanksgiving fare: the sticky, roasty flavours are nicely paired with turkey (at least I from what I remember as I've been a vegetarian for 7 years now), yams, mashed potatoes and the like.
After supper I would ideally break out an imperial stout or a strong porter that features some strong chocolate and coffee flavours to function as a digestif and to go along with the after-supper coffee and dessert.
Ross Brown – Beer O'Clock
Thanksgiving, for me, isn't complete without pumpkin pie, and it was about five years ago that I was introduced to pumpkin ale. Since then, I have made this seasonal ale a regular part of the holiday. Last year, there were plenty of pumpkin ales to choose from, and I tried as many as I could. For Thanksgiving, a perfect ale to start the dinner was Beau's Weiss O'Lantern, which was light, flavourful, and not sweet. It was a perfect accompanying beer to the yams that accompanied my dinner plate.
To end the meal, with my pumpkin pie, I enjoyed my all-time favourite pumpkin ale, Southern Tier Pumking Ale. A massive, sweet ale, it was like having a second helping to dessert. And who doesn't like extra helpings on Thanksgiving? You can read my review of both of these beers on my blog.
James Kempster – Ottawa Beer Club
Being the only beer drinker in a very small family made it so that I wouldn't usually have a beer whilst in their company. That being said, my family has been more open to trying beer as I work on expanding their (and my own) beer horizons (sorry, I had to throw our club's catchphrase in here somehow.)
Mom makes a mean apple crisp. Seriously, it's killer. So I've decided to find a beer to go with that dessert. I've saved a bottle of Muskoka's Legendary Oddity for the occasion. An epic dessert calls for an en epic beer, am I right? And if nobody likes it? Well, that's just more Oddity for me.
With such a wide variety of locally made pumpkin and harvest ales available at Ottawa's breweries there is no shortage of Thanksgiving beer available this long weekend. How are you going to incorporate beer in your Thanksgiving meal?