JK talks turkey about the best beers for the season.

November is a time for giving and sharing, and what better to give, or share than some amazing autumnal beer selections that make any Thanksgiving better.

This month’s column will focus on selections that turn even the driest over-cooked turkey or familiar family casserole into fare for the gods straight from a horn o’plenty…OK well maybe not, but they do pair amazingly with the fare of the holiday and can help make even those awkward family arguments over politics, football, or who’s the best cook in the family palatable.

As always dear friends and neighbors, trusty JK is here to help you navigate through the tough decisions…like… “WHAT BEER SHOULD I GET FOR THANKSGIVING?”   Here they are, manna of the beer gods, and all damn fine selections for celebrating my favorite holiday.  A TRUE AMERICAN HOLIDAY in which we revel in FOOD, FOOTBALL, & BOOZE! A holiday where we celebrate that time some of the REAL Native Americans helped some non-natives survive a cruel winter by sharing food and knowledge and we all lived happily ever after…OK maybe not…but at least we all get the day off, and for that I think WE ARE ALL THANKFUL!

The Bruery Autumn Maple
Orange County, CA

  • Big aromas of spiced yams
  • Hints of vanilla, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
  • Medium-bodied, surprisingly carbonated, Belgian-style brown, herbal/spice beer
  • ABV 10%
  • IBU 15

Holy yams Batman!!!! Each barrel of this fantastic beer is brewed with 15 lbs. of yams!  I mean, not to yam-mer on, but this brew takes the classic pumpkin/yam beer to another level with its Belgian yeast and bold spicy flavors. The Bruery even does barrel-aged, barrel fermented, and darker variations of this crazy craft beer so there’s even more to love!  This beer goes great with roasted or fried turkey, sweet potatoes or plain old mashed potatoes, and adds a nice needed kick to your old aunt Emily’s green bean casserole, you know the one she’s been proudly delivering to every family function since the Eisenhower administration.

St. Feuillien Saison
Le Roeulx, Belgium

  •  Aromas of citrus and pine
  • Notes of black pepper, lemon, banana, and toasted nuts
  • Effervescent, medium/light bodied, balanced, Farmhouse/Saison
  • ABV 6.5%
  • IBU 26

 A true classic Saison, being brewed by the same family, The Friarts, since 1873.  An amazing woman, Stéphanie Friart, started this brewery and it is still managed by her great-great grandniece, Dominique Friart, along with her brother Benoît, proving once again that ladies can do whatever their male counterparts can do, sometimes even better and with longevity!  This is a great palate cleanser between hearty courses, but also is a great contrast to roasted turkey or buttery mashed potatoes.  I love it before a big meal, as well, helping to kick those salivary glands into overdrive helping to boast a big appetite.

Rodenbach Grand Cru
Roeselare, Belgium

  •  Aromas of cherry, vinegar, and funky currants
  • Hints of oak, sour black cherry, and acidic red wine
  • Deep-red/brown colored, Flemish Red Sour Ale with a medium body and light carbonation with acidic/sweet balance.
  • ABV 6%
  • IBU 35

This awesome sour is a 1/3 mix of fresh Rodenbach beer mixed with a 2/3rds Rodenbach that has been matured for two years in oak, the result is a tart, deliciously balanced black-cherry & oak flavor explosion.  Brouwerij Rodenbach knows their stuff having been in business since 1836, and this beer is a shining example of their knowledge and reverence to the great tradition of Flemish Red Sour Ales.  I recommend this, for after dinner as it helps contrast the sweet flavors of big fall desserts like pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, or pecan pies.

Stone Smoked Porter
Escondido, California

  • Aromas of rich peaty smoke, coffee, and cocoa
  • Hints of roasted coffee, cocoa, & rich smoke flavors
  • Medium-full bodied, smooth, smoked English-style Porter
  • ABV 5.9%
  • IBU 53

This smoked specimen is one of America’s best smoked beers.  It’s coffee and chocolate notes perfectly complement the end of a meal and are also amazing when paired with some barbeque or spicier chipotle flavored latin dishes.  Try this with any chocolate dessert and be immensely satisfied.  If you like to enjoy a nice cigar this beer is built for it….try it with a nice La Aroma de Cuba Churchill!

Firestone Walker Easy Jack
Paso Robles, California

  • Aromas of citrus & pine
  • Hints of citrus, with a balanced malt backbone & nice hop finish
  • Medium-bodied, copper colored, Session IPA, with a floral hop bite & malty backbone
  • ABV 4.5%
  • IBU 45

This beer is great ALL DAY Long, which comes in handy with all the extra activities around Thanksgiving, football, more football, drinking with old friends and family, eating, more eating, parade watching, and more drinking….IT CAN BE EXHAUSTING!!!!  Don’t fret, because Easy Jack has got your back with its lower ABV you can enjoy this craft brew till it’s finally time to fall into that long-awaited tryptophan coma after Thanksgiving has come to an end.  This beer is great before/during that yearly pickup football game or warming up at the Thanksgiving parade.  This beer is absolutely amazing when paired with some homemade macaroni & cheese, so tell mom not to skimp on the sides this year!

Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget the turkey!

Here’s to cheers & plenty of beers,

JK