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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Giving thanks with a beer

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The most gluttonous holiday of the year is swiftly approaching, and while most of the focus is usually on the side dishes and main courses, I want to talk a bit about the beverage options at the Thanksgiving table.

While most people gravitate toward wine with their turkey, I'd like to suggest a few beers to pair with your feast this year. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how the crisp bitterness and effervescence of certain styles of beer helps to cut through some of the richness of the turkey meat without hiding some of the more subtle flavors of the meal.

My go-to beer at Thanksgiving the last couple of years has been Saison. Belgian Saisons (or Farmhouse Ales as they are sometimes called) have a mild bitterness and an expressive fruity yeast character and act as a perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal. Some of my favorite local saisons are Mason's Farmhouse Saison, Allagash Saison and Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale.

If you want something a bit more robust with your meal, reach for something with a bit more color. I would suggest a German-style lager, but one with a maltier focus than the standard Pilsner and Helles. The Vienna Lager by Von Trapp Brewing or even Sam Adams Octoberfest would work really nicely if a maltier brew is what you desire.

If you want a beer to go with dessert, the easy answer would be Imperial Stout. I always love to end a big meal by sipping on a not-too-large pour of Imperial Stout in a snifter. It is complex, warming and classy as heck.

However, this Thankgiving, I will be reaching for a very different brew with by dessert. The complex yeast character, the smooth mouthfeel and the phenolic clove-like spiciness of Weizenbock will provide an interesting flavor combination with the cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices that commonly grace popular Thanksgiving desserts. Without doing too much self-promotion, Gneiss Brewing makes a very nice Weizenbock called Twiess. Just going to throw that out there.

(Editor's note: He's not lying. It's very good.)

When the meal is over and you retire to the living room to watch some football (after helping clean up, of course!), you are more than welcome to resume your regularly-scheduled programming of drinking your favorite session beer.

So this Thanksgiving season, why not go out on a limb and try something new? It's a delicious and satisfying way to give thanks for the vast bounty of beer varieties that are readily available today!


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