Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they've lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat - and drink! - with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.
Beer for Thanksgiving? Yes! But as to what beer to drink with which dish, there are really no rules, but only enthusiastic suggestions. Let the curators drink alone.
Maybe a non-dank pilsner, or a spicy, dry (that's the key) saison or dubbel, or, if you're so blessed, a cask-conditioned bitter: sip, pull, and repeat. (Or, okay, a dry IPA.) Beer drunk with cheese; with everything else, don't make beer the star, just the pal. Maybe with sweets, it should be sweeter. Over-hoppy-ed examples? They belong in long special-release queues; over-alcohol-ed, with postprandial digestive stupors.
But, above all, it should be fun. And it's all been done before.
In 1983, the late British beer writer Michael Jackson commented upon American Thanksgiving. In A Twist on Tradition: The Right Beer, Dish by Dish —a three-and-one-half decade past Washington Post byline— Jackson wrote on drinking beer, not wine, at the Thanksgiving meal. Note the twist of the subtitle: the need to herald beer in that bygone era. Three paragraphs in, Jackson gets to the nub of the day and the drink. I've highlighted that. The principles endure, even if the beers have been superseded by latter-day choices.
[N.B. Jackson's essay is unavailable to read at the Washington Post, even via the paper's archive service. Fortunately, The Beer Hunter, Real Beer's archive of Jackson's writing, has preserved it. And, from there, re-printed here.]
|In Europe, whether you drink wine or beer with your meal may depend simply upon where you live.|
|Just as the wine-drinker can choose a different style to accompany each course of his Thanksgiving meal, so can the beer-buff.|
|Two labels are imported: one from the Lindemans farmhouse brewery and the other under the commercial Belle Vue trademark.|
- Not quite at the linguistic level of Mr. Jackson, here I am in 2005 on the beverage topic.
- Not to mention cider or wine —red and/or white— at the turkey trough. Just do yourself a favor and move past Beaujolais Nouveau.
- The story of the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, and beer: here.
- And, you could magnanimously spare the turkey altogether. Ideas for a vegetarian (and, okay, vegan) Thanksgiving: here.
- For more from YFGF: