As you gather this upcoming Thanksgiving with family and friends, you might already be asking yourself what beer to drink to get the most out of this festive occasion. Or, you could be like us, and are dreading the jeers from relatives about “your” craft beer. Luckily, we’ve got a cheat sheet to help you convert them into craft beer fans.
Here’s some scenarios you may encounter later this week:
Weird Uncle “-erry”
Jerry, Terry, Harry, the list goes on and on… We all have one relative with an -erry name, and they’re usually the most opinionated of the bunch. They’re quirky, maybe a little aloof, but they always show up when family gathers. Based on your previous interactions, you know they’ve already got their mind set that Blue Moon is the only craft beer they like, but we’ve got a pairing that should go down easy and possibly right their ship. Put a can of Ska Brewing’s Pils World in their hand and enjoy. This citra-hopped pilsner from the guys down in Durango is sure to please any craft beer lover, but also will help convert the unbelievers. Plus, if your uncle has mountain biked in Colorado, he might have ridden the namesake, Phil’s World, out near Cortez.
Silly Aunt Sally
Who doesn’t have that one silly old aunt who brings 3 bottles of red wine to Thanksgiving, without intending to share any of it? Pairing a beer for your distant mildly-alcoholic aunt is a daunting task, but here we go. Since she’s so wrapped up in red wine, replace one of her bottles with Paradox Beer Company’s Tart Noire. This farmhouse ale is less funky and sour than the standard Paradox fare, but is brewed with grape must and aged in wine barrels, lending a very wine-y flavor profile to the beer. Chances are, she’ll ask for more.
Your cousin who’s just turned 21
He’s all about the sourest of the sour, the hoppiest of the hoppy, and he’s definitely chasing those ABVs. He’ll talk your ear off about how some rare bottle release in his college town has the best beer ever, but he probably won’t have any to share. There’s only one way to shut him up, and that’s to challenge his perception of what beer is. Hand him a bottle of Trinity Brewing’s Caucasian Anti-stout and watch him ooh and ahh at the color versus the flavor for hours. Make sure you grab an extra bottle or two for yourself because this blonde stout is brewed with pumpkins, white cinnamon, vanilla beans, coffee, cacao nibs and a whole lot more. It’s an experience in a glass.
Your mom, who claims to not like beer
Ahh, this is the hardest one to pair, as your mom will probably turn down any beer you offer her. We’ve got a trick up our sleeves though: Southern Tier’s Choklat. Not to diminish how good it tastes, this beer is a really sweet stout. Sneak it into her coffee mug and say it’s chocolate milk if you want, but you might have your mom cleaning out the local liquor stores after this holiday if you introduce her to this beer…If you can’t seem to find this at your local store, keep an eye out for Station 26’s Tangerine Cream ale. It’s an orange creamcicle in a can.
This is where all your beer selection skills will be put to the test. I’d advise sticking with something on the maltier side, but you could get away with a barrel-aged version, but only if you know they enjoy whiskey or bourbon. Something like Bristol’s Barrel-aged Old 23 Barleywine could help woo your better half’s parents, or if you’re not one to take chances, grab a six pack of Red Leg Brewing’s Blue Nose Brown. Both choices have a good chance of going over well, putting you in the best of graces heading into the holiday season.
All in all, Thanksgiving and the ensuing holiday season is a time for sharing, caring and drinking a lot of great craft beer, right? Pick some things you know you like, and maybe some new things to try, but remember: if they’ve been drinking Bud for 20 years, it’ll be hard to wean them off of it. If all else fails, you’ll have a bunch of great beers to drink while everyone else isn’t as lucky. Cheers!