Nov 11 2011
Snubbing the Snobs
Everyone seems to have an opinion on proper Thanksgiving beer pairings. Just google around and you’ll find article after articles touting the subtle nuances of kolsch and cranberries, or tripel and turkey.
This is America, people! And as Americans, we owe it to our heritage to say screw subtlety! Let’s drink, stuff ourselves, and pass out face down in waldorf salad.
So to all you sommeliers of suds, you fancy boys of froth – cram it. Keep your brainy pairings – here’s what I’m drinking this year.
First Course – Maytag Blue and Franziskaner
I love stinky cheese. And from many arduous seconds of half-assed reading on the subject while trying to sneak furtive glances at the ladies on Gossip Girl (Melissa watches, so back off.) I’ve discovered that stinky cheese and light, citrus-y beer is a no-no.
Strong cheese gets me excited about the coming meal. By the time I’m eating cheese, I’m probably smelling the turkey in the oven. A strong cheese like Maytag gets my tastebuds firing on the same rhythm as my nose-buds.
Pairing with light, orange-y Franziskaner means I can finish a beer or two and not feel like I need a nap before the bird hits the table. It’s a win win.
Second Course – Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy with Rare Vos
I might actually get some kudos from the snooty beer pairers of the world on this one. Ommegang’s Rare Vos is a natural pairing with the main meal. It’s flavorful without being aggressive. It keeps pace with the malty turkey, but isn’t distracted by the herby stuffing or buried under unctuous gravy.
Rare Vos is that rare brew that skates the right distance between all the competing elements in a Thanksgiving meal.
And I’ll be drinking 7 of them.
Dessert – Apple Pie and Whiskey Porter
Dessert will be a thick slice of apple pie, warm out of the oven, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. And a short pour of Brown’s Whiskey Porter.
Yes, it’s wrong. Wrong to skip Pumpkin Pie. Wrong to eat apple pie with such a dark beer. Wrong to thumb my nose at this season of thanks and cholesterol.
But if whiskey porter and apple pie are wrong, I hereby question the rightness of everything. Everything.
Food Rules are Dumb
Listen, I’m all about natural pairings. Caramel and salt were made for each other. Arugula and sweet lemon dressing is a revelation. Steak and blue cheese give me a little rise in the you-know-where.
But for the love of god, the bajillion rules detailing what wine or beer to drink with that rare Eurasian flatfish, has gotten out of hand. This brainy approach to food and wine is all wrong. Eating and drinking isn’t about our brains. To most of us, it’s not about subtlety, either. It’s about flavor, socializing, and hedonistic joy.
So no, I don’t feel bad about pairing apple pie with something dark. Allagash white may be a more natural choice, but it’s Thanksgiving. Let me focus on actually being thankful without worrying if I’ve gotten the rules right.
Is that so much to ask?
What Do You Think?
Am I right about all these food rules getting in the way of true gastro-happiness, or do I need a lesson in subtlety?
Leave a comment and let’s all talk it out.
(also taking suggestions for your favorite Thanksgiving beer pairings)
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