The Hippo


May 26, 2020








 What’s in My Fridge

Bissell Brothers The Substance Ale: To be fair, this beer is probably not still in my fridge as you read this. For me, this beer is the pinnacle of the IPA movement as it combines a pronounced hop character, delicious citrusy burst, and minimal bitterness all at an approachable 6.6-percent ABV. I don’t stand in line for beers, but if I did, I would stand in line for this one. 

Turkey, potatoes and beer
How to pair beer with a Thanksgiving feast


 When it comes to beer, Thanksgiving can be a challenging day. There is so much delicious goodness and so many incredible, wide-ranging flavors. But therein lies the problem: How do you pair a beer with turkey, gravy, buttery mashed potatoes, sweet and savory squash and tart cranberry sauce? 

The explosive hops of a double IPA can certainly stand up to the flavors on the table, but it also might take over the palate. A rich, malty porter or stout might be a better accompaniment in terms of flavor, but that’s probably too heavy to pair with this meal. 
Complicating matters is that well-meaning people, at least in my family, often bring an outstanding variety of beer to the Thanksgiving feast and I want all of it. But again, I don’t want hops to take over and I want to make sure I have room for pie. Even appropriate seasonal beers, like Oktoberfest-style beers or nut brown ales, can be a little heavy for this meal. 
I know, life is hard.  
I have a few strategies to consider. 
Take a peek in the pilsner section
Many brewers think the humble pilsner is making a comeback. And with good reason. Pilsners are eminently drinkable, they’re refreshing and they have the distinct characteristic of tasting exactly like beer. They don’t take over the palate, as they are perfectly comfortable sitting in the background while you enjoy another serving of stuffing. Because they are lighter, they don’t fill you up as much. Still, a really good one, like the Czech Pilsner by Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Co., is perfectly pleasing. 
Time your beers
During my family’s Thanksgiving, people usually gather between noon and 1 p.m. and we aim to eat around 2. That leaves me with ample time to have a couple beers before the meal. If I want that super-hoppy double IPA, like a Victory Nor Defeat by Able Ebenezer Brewing Co., but I don’t want it to take over the Thanksgiving meal, there’s my window of opportunity. I might have that big IPA as I socialize with family and listen to their misguided sports takes. 
During the meal, I’ll gravitate toward something lighter, like Hank’s Pale Ale from Throwback Brewery, or a pilsner, or no beer at all — seriously. The meal is the main attraction. Let it shine. 
After dinner I might shift to whiskey, but if you do still have room, a coffee porter or stout, such as “The Roast” by Henniker Brewing Co., would be perfect with pie. What’s nice about a hefty stout or porter is that you can take your time drinking it. If it warms up, even to room temperature, it won’t sacrifice flavor. You’re not drinking a porter to quench your thirst. 
I’m not asking you to be obsessive about what beer to drink, but a little forethought might help you enjoy the day, before, during and after the big meal. 
Split a beer
Whether it’s Thanksgiving or not, sharing beers lets you try more beer. So if you want a big, heavy porter but you’re worried about getting too full, see if you have a willing partner to split one with. That way you get to enjoy the rich flavors of heavier, malt-forward beers, but without having to finish a whole pint. Same goes for a big IPA.  
Pace yourself
This is really the biggest thing. Thanksgiving is a long day of eating and drinking. There’s no need to rush. You can easily enjoy a few beers over the course of the day. You’ll enjoy them more if you enjoy them slowly. 
Jeff Mucciarone is a senior account executive with Montagne Communications, where he provides communications support to the New Hampshire wine and spirits industry. 

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