When considering the players to invite to share your Thanksgiving Day table you would be remiss to skip past the beer case on your way to the wine racks. Not that wine isn't welcome at the party -- it most certainly is -- but there's no denying that beer is worthy of playing a bigger role on Turkey Day than simply as a "while-you-watch-the-game" quencher.
In Pictures: Beers to Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner
Generally speaking, the philosophy for pairing beer with the big feast goes something like this: Start with easy-drinking, lighter-bodied brews, like pilsners, lagers and pale ales; then graduate up to higher-acid and more bitter beers that will cut through the heavy main dishes; and finally, close out with a rich porter or stout. Belgian-style beers usually get top billing on Thanksgiving -- the pale ales and saisons are particularly popular choices, as both are light- to medium-bodied beers, but are crisp and slightly bitter, with a lot of carbonation to balance out the richer, fattier items on the table.
Consider also whether the beers have caramel and toasted malt notes or earthy and herbal characteristics -- all are easily matched with dishes that are part of the typical spread. And don't forget seasonal varieties, like Harpoon Brewery's Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale or The Bruery's Autumn Maple (brewed with several pounds of yams), which extend the meal's harvest theme to the very last drop.
- Maryse Chevriere, The Daily Meal
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