Thanksgiving Food & Beer Pairings

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Hunterdon Distributors! If you’re a beer enthusiast and a foodie like the majority of us here, you’re already contemplating what you’re going to be eating and drinking on the big day. Just for a little fun around the ol’ office, we polled members of our sales force and office team to fill us in on their favorite Turkey Day dishes and beer/cider pairings. We got some great responses that will surely leave you salivating by the time you finish reading this post!
Bon Appetit!

Samantha Dudics – Sussex & Warren County Sales
Homemade turkey gravy with my sweet potato casserole topped with pecans paired with either a Chimay Grande or The Bruery Saison Rue… haven’t decided yet!

PJ SieveringJersey City Sales
My list is pretty long, but right now I have these ready to go: Lost Abbey Avant Garde, Saison Dupont, Sierra Nevada Celebration, Founders Porter, Farnum Hill Dooryard 1310, Bruery Autumn Maple and Allagash Triple. It’s a marathon, not a sprint meal. I’m brining my turkey in Allagash Triple, honey, tangerines, bay leaves, fennel, honey, etc. So, I should enjoy the beer with the bird. The alcohol of the triple cuts the fats of the gravy, buttery biscuits or the roasted turkey. Also the sweetness works against the sultry creamed onions or brussels sprouts.

Carrie FergusonJunior Sales Analyst
Scalloped potatoes with Asiago cheese, sage and truffle oil paired with a brown ale such as Dogfish Head Indian Brown

Amy Karkkainen Full Sail & Flying Dog Brand Manager
Traditional Finnish mashed Turnips with cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses paired with Saison Dupont

Kristin KaschakRiver Horse, Breckenridge & Oskar Blues Brand Manager
Roughly five pounds of sausage stuffing and a giant Biere de Garde. The countdown is on!

Chris MullowneyBusiness Development Manager
Brussel sprouts cooked in bacon grease, then finished with salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and bacon and paired with Troegs Perpetual IPA

Dave O’RourkeHunterdon & Morris County Sales
Yards Old Bartholomew with my wife Amy’s Amazing Apple Pie topped with vanilla ice cream. The sweet caramelized malt will complement the sugary cinnamon apple filling and the homemade crust will resonate with the bread flavors in the malt. Finally, the warming of alcohol will cut the sweetness of the vanilla ice cream and have you wanting more…. Mouth watering.

Carrie FaessingerAccounts Receivable
Cooking the sage sausage in a bottle of Founders Backwoods Bastard for the stuffing, and sipping on a second bottle while I do my Thanksgiving prep early in the morning. It’s the only day of the year I drink this beer and it immediately puts me in a festive mood!

Scott DuncanCorporate Accounts Manager
If we are talking about the best beer to pair with the entire traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I would have to go with Schneider Edel Weisse. For an individual dish, perhaps a Schlenkerla Weizen with Grandma’s string bean casserole (French-cut string beans baked in a mushroom gravy). Dessert would be a slice of cherry pie and Sinebrychoff Porter. Finish the evening with a JW Less Lagavulin and a cigar.

Eric TompkinsAccounts Payable
Mom’s bread stuffing (she doesn’t let anyone else make it, so I don’t know the recipe), but I know she uses a lot of white bread. It’s very dense and simple, some onions and celery mixed in, I think. Very good for the heart. Paired with Saison DuPont Farmhouse Ale.

John MaturaNorthwest NJ Area Sales Manager
I’d have to say every year, for the past 3 years or so, the first beer I pop open at T-day dinner is a Saison Dupont. This beer is extremely complex yet subtle in it’s flavors. I haven’t found a dish yet that does not go with this beer. That’s the point. Thanksgiving dishes are a wide range of flavors, so it’s not easy to find a beverage that goes with all of them. Saison Dupont does this…and it does it like it was created for this purpose alone. It brings out flavors in the dinner you would never suspect were in there. The fresh, lively, yeasty, bready quality wraps around the myriad of flavors like a warm blanket. Then it’s subtle spiciness injects flavor with the perfect amounts in every bite. Saison Dupont with Thanksgiving Dinner is not just a food pairing, it’s an incredible experience! Are you experienced?!

Scott CrystalMorris County Sales
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Maple Syrup. Pair this up with Le Moinette Brune. And it doesn’t get any better than roasted turkey paired with Jenalain Ambree.

Laura MarreroPOS Coordinator
Turkey and CRABBIES!

Heather RheamOffice Assitant / Receptionist
Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin – This dish is creamy and casserole-like, made with milk and some mild white cheddar cheese. There’s also just enough cayenne pepper added to give it a bit of a spicy bite that balances the creaminess nicely. I’ve chosen Lagunitas Dogtown Pale Ale to accompany this delightful dish because of its hoppy profile and easy, clean finish. The hops balance out the richness of the sauce, but the beer isn’t too bold to overpower the fresh flavors of the vegetables. The bit of heat from the cayenne is quenched by the refreshing crispness of the brew.

Nancy MaddaloniCommunications Director
Butternut Squash roasted with vidalia onions, red grapes, rosemary, sage, butter, olive oil and lots of good sea salt. It’s sweet, savory and herbaceous all at the same time and would be most delicious with a Saison Dupont, Chimay White or this intriguing bottle of La Socarrada (an ale from Spain brewed with rosemary and rosemary honey) that Mr. Hoyos left on my desk for me. I don’t know, I’ll have to let you know on Monday!

Mike SalesOffice Manager / Controller
Chilled roasted beet salad with mint and goat cheese lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil paired with Pietra Colomba

John HoyosEsoteric Fermentation Consultant
No one in my house is a big turkey fan, so this Thanksgiving, I’m cooking up a pork shoulder. I’ll marinate it on Tuesday and put pieces of garlic deep under the skin with a bit of cilantro and onion. Let that sit for 48 hours and then roast it up. Cook it high for the first hour to get the skin really crispy and then slow cook the rest for about 3-4 hours to get the meat tender. I’ll figure out the sides later – maybe. For the pieces of skin, I’ll pair it with a Farnum Hill cider – it really doesn’t matter too much which one because they’re all going to be delicious. For the pork meat itself, I’ll open a bottle of Dupont Foret. Still one of my favorite beers of all time and it’ll pair with pretty much any side I choose too. Our dessert is already in the freezer – pumpkin cheescake. I’m popping a Lost Abbey Lost & Found to go with that.

Meredith KilgannonCommunications Assistant
A Thanksgiving favorite in my family is hot and sweet cherry peppers stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs, black olives, parmesan cheese, anchovies and pine nuts and a few other things. We bake them in the oven until the tops are just a little charred. So delicious! I would pair them with a Allagash Tripel!

Sean DwyerNorthwest NJ Area Sales Manager
Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider with white meat turkey and cranberry sauce. And Chimay white with honey glazed ham. The hoppy beginning with a honey-glazed ham just screams holiday cheer.

Dan O’BrienShipping & Receiving Coordinator
Green Bean Casserole

  • 3 cups julienne cut green beans
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can of French fried Onion
  • ½ cup of milk

Pair with Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout!

Rob ForczekGreat Divide and Sly Fox Brand Manager
The last few years I’ve gotten into smoking the turkey on the smoker and I pair a beer with it. I basically pick a beer and design a beer based brine that I submerge the bird in before smoking to tenderize the meat and for flavor. I also always serve the chosen beer with the meal so you can get the essence of it while eating. The turkeys come out fantastic and every year my family loves the suspense of what I’m going to come up with each year, except my wife because she is a vegetarian. This year I will be swaying from my thoughts of never using a pumpkin beer and using Neshaminy Creek Punkel Dunkel. I love the fact that it’s not the normal pumpkin beer due to its diversity. I’m designing a brine that will consist of the beer, water, apples, figs, maple syrup, salt, and brown sugar. Every year the brines are basically made the same with just different ingredients and it’s not difficult to prepare. Here’s how you do it:
Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a stock pot for about 5 to 10 minutes and then let rest and cool overnight. The next day place the turkey in a 5 gallon bucket with the brine for the next 24 hours and refrigerate, on the 12th hour rotate the bird to be sure it brines evenly. After it’s 24 hour bath I take the turkey out and prep it for the smoker which usually consists of drying the turkey and seasoning it. For this years experiment I’m also going to do a wet cinnamon rub I came across online which will consist of the following:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme

Now off to the smoker! Due to the fact it takes entirely too long to smoke a turkey the size I usually need, what I do is smoke it around 250 – 300 degrees for about 6 to 8 hours and then switch over to the oven to finish it off. For this years project I will be smoking the turkey with applewood!

Sheila TaggartSales Analyst
One of my favorite appetizers from my home state of MD is Maryland Steamed Peel and Eat Shrimp. It’s super easy and you can basically use any beer in your fridge.

  • 2 lbs fresh cleaned 16-20 count shrimp shells left on
  • 1 12 oz bottle of your favorite beer – I prefer a Pale Ale, Pilsner or an Amber Ale, but have used anything from dark lagers to double IPAs.
  • 3/4 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Old Bay Seasoning

Place beer, vinegar and water in the bottom of the steam pot.
Place shrimp in the top of the steamer and coat evenly and liberally with Old Bay seasoning
Cover and steam – approximately 20 minutes until shrimp are bright pink and opaque.
Serve hot with fresh lemon wedges or chill and peel for shrimp cocktail appetizer

Cocktail Sauce for dipping

  • 2 Cups of Ketchup
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of horseradish
  • 1 tbs of Worcester Sauce
  • Juice of ½ Lemon

Just mix it all together and chill.

Depending on the season, I will pair this with anything from Full Sail Session Lager (during hot weather) to an Old Dominion Double D IPA in colder months. Right now, Schlafly Tasmanian IPA would be my preferred pairing because frankly, if I never drink another beer, I’ll die happy.


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