Thanksgiving: The “King of American Beer” Holiday – by PJ Sievering

When I sat down to write about my experience working in the craft beer industry, I admittedly found it difficult to choose a subject on which to focus. My mind began to wander from my introduction to the craft beer industry through working at The Stirling Hotel, to our society’s current drinking culture (or the lack there of), then to my quickly approaching ten year high school reunion, and to how my adopted hometown of Jersey City has slowly evolved into a great craft beer city. While all of the above mentioned scenarios could have offered a potential topic for me to expound upon, I decided that with Thanksgiving around the corner, I would provide my thoughts on the holiday as an often overlooked opportunity to imbibe and share fantastic beers that compliment both the comforting fare and the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends.

In my opinion, Thanksgiving is surprisingly disregarded as beer holiday. This day gives us two amazing opportunities to enjoy craft beer (not that you need an excuse). The night before Thanksgiving brings many of us back to our hometowns where we share laughs, memories and often a number of adult beverages with friends and family that we haven’t seen all year. This night also offers an awesome opportunity to share my passion of craft beer with others. If you’re anything like me, you may have an addiction to hoarding rare beers with the excuse of “I’m not drinking this; it needs another year.” Another one of my common rationalizations is, “I’m not going to drink this alone; I need to share the experience with someone who will appreciate it.” My girlfriend, who has very limited space to store cooking supplies due to my beer storage, has heard each and every justification I have in my arsenal. The more I think about it, the night before Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to clear some space in my ever expanding beer collection (and to make room for rarer finds!). Why not open my treasure trove of imperial stouts, quads, and barrel-aged rarities? Let’s face it; we’re all going to struggle through a night of awkward conversations with people from high school. Who wouldn’t benefit from sharing a few good beers before the main event?

Now, to the cue de gras, Thanksgiving Day, the ultimate feast in American households. What’s better than an incredible meal paired with an equally amazing beer? We traditionally have about twenty people at my house and our meal is served family-style. Historically, I’d compile a heaping plate and pair it with a food friendly beer, usually a Saison. Now, it’s a few days out and I’m mulling over how I’m going to break out my meal. Am I going with a Semi-Dry cider or a Biere de Garde with turkey? Pecan pie with doppelbock or Apple Pie and barleywine? There are so many options and it’s exciting to envision the seemingly endless combinations. Thanksgiving could easily become the newly crowned king of American beer holidays.

Have an amazing and safe Thanksgiving and please pair a beer with your food!

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