Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beer pairings for Thanksgiving

She wrote it ... so now I won't have to!

Lauren Buzzeo is Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Assistant Tasting Director and a columnist for UnReserved, its house blog. For Thanksgiving, she asked several folk in the beer business to suggest what they would pair with the traditional turkey meal:

  • Sam Calagione; President and Founder, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
  • Julia Herz; Craft Beer Program Director, Brewers Association
  • Vinnie Cilurzo; Brewer/Owner, Russian River Brewing Company
  • Gregg Glaser; Editor of Yankee Brew News and News Editor of All About Beer
  • Rob Tod; Founder and Brewer, Allagash Brewing Company
  • Greg Koch; CEO, Stone Brewing Company
Then, Lauren pleasantly surprised me by asking me to contribute. I was honored to be in that company.

What beers did we suggest? Read her article: Knockout Turkey Day Pairings from the Brew Pros

Of course, people may wonder how I, a vegetarian, could suggest beer for Turkey Day. I can remember: turkey was bland at dinner, but great the next day for a sandwich.

There's another answer.

Beer is prepared by cooking; in fact, barley malt is prepared by kilning/toasting/roasting sprouted barley. In the process, browning reactions occur between proteins and sugars, just as they do when food is cooked. It is —as brewer/writer Garrett Oliver has termed it— the flavor hook: "the element of the beer's flavor that mirrors a similar flavor in the food."

For this reason (there are others) beer can be a more forgiving beverage than wine. There are very few poor beer-with-food choices; rather, there are some pairings that are even tastier than others. And vegetables and grains seem to have an affinity for beer, which is itself, a vegetarian beverage.

Bon appetit!

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