Thanksgiving is our national holiday dedicated to overindulgence. With food and football dominating the long weekend, it’s also an opportunity to not settle for whatever swill is sitting in your crazy uncle’s garage refrigerator and try something new.
While many reserve Thanksgiving dinner for a bottle of wine, if you so choose there are certainly a number of beers that go well with turkey and dressing. As long as you refrain from setting a can on the table, you can enjoy a nice beer at the family feast without looking like a Philistine.
As a rule, darker beers go well with fowl, gravy and dressing, and I would recommend Arrogant Bastard Ale from California’s Stone Brewing Co., which is readily available in many grocery stores in our area. It has a very dark amber color, almost brown, and a good head. With both strong malt and hops flavors, it’s one of my favorites.
With dessert, try something even darker, like a stout or porter. I don’t drink many porters, but recently tried the one from Bell’s, a Michigan brewery that also makes a fantastic IPA. The excellent Bell’s Porter is dark, smooth and malty; try it after your Thanksgiving dinner.
If you’re lucky enough to be off work Friday Nov. 25 — more importantly — not tied to more family commitments, there is a great event at Fairhope Brewing Co. for lovers of dark beer. “Black Friday” will feature 15 different varieties of special black beers that will only be available that day, such as Black is the New Orange and Gingerbread Stout, along with a number of variations of the Fairhope favorite, Judge Roy Bean coffee stout, including some with caramel and coconut.
If you love dark beers, this is obviously an event for you. If you only drink stout at an Irish pub or are scared of dark beer, this is an event to broaden your mind and taste buds. Everyone will get a 7-ounce tasting glass to take home, and there will be music all afternoon and evening from Jim Burt, LA Brotherhood and Fat Man Squeeze.
Finally, on Saturday, if you still haven’t had enough and you really want to go all out to support your side in the Iron Bowl, you can abandon your regular brew and try a local beer from Tuscaloosa or Auburn.
Tuscaloosa has three breweries — Druid City Brewing, Black Warrior Brewing Co. and Band of Brothers Brewing Co. — so if you are in T-town for the game, you can either stop by one of those taprooms or try one of their beers at one of the local watering holes carrying their beers on tap. Unfortunately, of the three, I’ve only been able to find Band of Brothers in our area. A couple of local bars carry Band of Brothers beers on tap, as did my local Piggly Wiggly, which had its Voodoo Mild, an English ale that’s very bitter but good and bold.
If you want to support the Tigers, you have more work to do, as Auburn has only the Red Clay Brewing Co. in Opelika. At this time Red Clay’s brews are only available at its taproom.