Stories / Drinks

Beverage Wisdom: Thanksgiving Brews from Colin Alevras

JBF Editors

JBF Editors

November 10, 2010


Rumor has it that the Mayflower was originally bound for Georgia but ended up docking at Plymouth Rock because the ship had run out of beer. Colin Alevras, the beverage director at David Chang’s Momofuku and Má Pêche, thinks the Pilgrims had their priorities straight. Below, he explains why beer is a perfect match for the Thanksgiving meal.

Before you get suckered into drinking some mass-produced Beaujolais Nouveau swill for the holidays, don’t forget about beverages other than wine for your Thanksgiving dinner. The nature of this holiday meal itself—long, varied, and tethering back and forth between sweet and savory—calls for beverages that are low in alcohol content and versatile enough to be paired with a wide selection of food. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you beer: an excellent beverage choice for your next Thanksgiving.

Beer has just as much variety in flavors and textures as wine. With the recent resurgence of microbreweries, it’s easy to access great local, regional, and heritage beers. Beer is also affordable, a bonus during the indulgences of the holiday season.

The kinds of beer that come to mind for the Thanksgiving meal are the Franco/Belgian styles known as Biere du Garde and Saison—beers originally made at farmhouses in the early spring to be used later in the year as payment for harvest farmhands. Here are some of my favorites:

Bam Bière, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Slightly tart with some farmhouse funk, a refreshing blond farmhouse ale with backbone.

Jack D’Or, Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project
Rich golden color with a malty sweetness and great balance. This beer was made to be enjoyed with stuffing and sweet potatoes.

Sorachi Ace, Brooklyn Brewery
From the Brewmaster’s Reserve series, this beer combines old-school farmhouse stylings with an obscure Japanese hop called sorachi ace. With its incredible preserved-lemon and citrus aromas, this brew adds just the right amount of bitterness, creating a super-refreshing beer.

Saison Rue, The Bruery
Pepper and warm spices on the nose and orange peel and sorghum molasses on the palate. Turkey and sage gravy have met their match.

Cuvée des Fleurs, Southampton Publick House
Brewed with an assortment of wildflowers, this beguiling Saison has a very pretty, complex aroma with just enough hops to keep the flavors going and a full palate of gentle, warm spice.