When I was in college, I spent Thanksgiving holidays with my godfather’s family, which was filled with great cooks. Besides the exceptionally well-prepared traditional food, we also feasted on amazing international fare like Mexican enchiladas and Filipino lumpia. These days I reminisce and wonder what beer I would pair with such a complex and diverse holiday spread. There are many ways to pair beer and holiday food well. I consulted with some experts to inspire us to keep our holiday pairings on the “nice” list. Even though they are professionals, I strongly suggest you try this at home.
Chef Jeff Usinowics from Deschutes Brewery suggests starting with a baked brie and apples, or roasted pears with balsamic vinegar, and pairing that with Black Butte Porter. “Your palate gets that really rich, silky and sexy chocolate,” he said, “but it’s not so overpowering.”
Jeff Tobin, Certified Cicerone and co-founder and head brewer of Mazama Brewing, suggests pairing a doppelbock like Mazama Brewing’s Mazamanator with cheeses like Swiss emmentaler or gruyère and dark meat off the turkey. “If you get some dark meat off the turkey, doppelbock is a great companion to that,” Tobin said. “The heavy maltiness needs a fair amount of meat flavor to it and anything heavier, darker, roasted or grilled goes great with doppelbock.”
And, for dessert, Tobin offered an interesting departure from the norm—Deschutes’ Red Chair NWPA with fruit cake.