Thanksgiving is a marathon of food, often starting early in the day with snacks and appetizers before moving into a full turkey feast which then gives way to dessert and no matter how full I may be there is always room for a slice of pie, or two.
If there is anything I’ve learned from my friends who run marathons, because I definitely don’t run marathons, it’s that you have to stay hydrated. I look at the refrigerator like it’s one of those people along the marathon route holding out cups of water, but I never get so into it that I dump it over my head.
In preparation for this marathon of food I break up the day by sections and plan my hydration accordingly:
- Cooking/Watching Football (or parade if you really get an early start)
- The Meal
- The Finish Line
The starter pistol is “fired” as soon as the festivities begin, maybe that’s at your home, friend’s home, in-laws place, wherever. As soon as you’ve crossed the threshold it’s game on. I like to start off drinking something a little easy going, but flavorful, it’s early in the race so we don’t want to overdo it. My choice for early beers while watching football or helping out around the kitchen is Allagash White.
As we enter the next section, appetizers, I transition my beer accordingly. I tend to gravitate towards the meat, cheese, breads, and crackers. My pick here is Sebago Brewing Company Frye’s Leap IPA. This is a “go to” IPA for me, readily available, easy drinking with a splash of grapefruit citrus and a nice bitterness level. This beer will help cut through the fattiness of the cheese and the salt from crackers and meats without leaving your palate wrecked.
The middle of the marathon, the most difficult part, what do you drink with such a huge assortment of savory foods? Turkey, gravy, stuffing, veggies, potato, cranberry sauce. There’s no magic beer that pairs perfectly with that combination. I tend to lean towards something a bit maltier, lightly hopped but still flavorful. A bit harder to find because it’s only available at Bangor Wine and Cheese, my choice is the Friars Brewhouse Monastery Ale.
You’ve made it to the dessert portion of the marathon, it’s all downhill from here but don’t let up, gotta push through for the big finish. My personal choice for the dessert portion this year is Mean Old Tom from Maine Beer Company. This stout aged on vanilla beans will compliment a variety of desserts.
The finish Line, if you’ve come this far and the food and beer or a fight with a relative haven’t put you down you’re a true Thanksgiving marathoner, congratulation, throw your arms up and run across the finish line. You’ve earned this last beer, something with a little extra kick to celebrate your victory. My choice is Brother Adams Bragget from Atlantic Brewing Company. This Barleywine style ale brewed with honey is strong so split it with someone you’re thankful to be drinking with.