As a foodie and an admirer of both craft beer and fine wines, I often wonder what the perfect food pairing is. What follows is a monthly debate on just that. Once a month I’ll toss out a food for pairing suggestions from my fellow beer geeks and wine nerds. Some dishes will come with a convention that popular opinion dictates a specific pairing. Other posts will present a dish that is a toss-up between beer or wine. I look forward to hearing your suggestions in this conversation. Be creative, challenge norms, have fun, and check back often to read what others have to say.
November’s pairing challenge falls early this month in anticipation of the Thanksgiving feast – succulent turkey, sweet glazed ham, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing studded with Italian sausage, green bean casserole (simple, yet so delicious), cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, etc. Family and friends gathering together to celebrate our heritage and to give thanks. A day to forget about the bad and be grateful for the good in our lives. Raising a glass in gratitude for the beauty and abundance life has delivered us. What will be in your glass?
As much as I embrace the craft beer movement, I can’t yet swap wine for beer at traditional dinners like Thanksgiving. I typically bring two bottles of wine to the Thanksgiving table. I like to start off with an off-dry Riesling. Maybe something from Washington. The subtleness of the juice introduces the meal well with slight citrus, peach, and mineral nuances. I prefer the off-dry to some of the sweeter Rieslings as the meal already has a lot of sugary dishes. Once the Riesling is drained I have to introduce something red (I am a red wine lover at heart). Pinot Noir is my go to. As with the Riesling, its subtleness compliments the many dishes of the meal. Something from Oregon or the Russian River Valley. Something with soft red fruit and slight tannins from the oak barrels. Maybe even with a nuance of vanilla.
What about you? What is your perfect pairing with Thanksgiving? Does it have to be Riesling or are you a Chardonnay addict? What about craft beer? There are some amazing harvest ales out there right now. Who’s plopping their favorite craft beer down at the table?