Cocktails & Spirits

Pumpkin Beer for Thanksgiving? Crazy, Man!

What do Thanksgiving and beer have to do with one another besides pumpkin 'n' spice and everything nice?

It is well documented that the Pilgrims landed in Cape Cod in 1620 because of numerous hardships - rough seas, stormy weather and sickness. Back then, water was certainly not the drink of choice. Beer was an nonperishable mainstay of the Pilgrim diet and great source of calories and nutrients. And after being at sea, taken off course and left without beer, it was time for the Pilgrims to drop anchor.

Fast forward a few centuries...Thanksgiving looms again. Why not celebrate the holiday as the Pilgrims did? Bring beer to the next holiday shindig or family feast. There are thousands of styles and flavors to choose from and it's cheap. You can be on shoestring without looking it.

We have three examples of pumpkin beers that can be sipped on their own or paired with main dishes.

Start off with an aperitif, aka. pre-dinner, brew like Dogfish Head's "Punkin Ale," an amber, copper colored brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice,cinnamon and nutmeg. It smells of roasted pumpkin and brown sugar, maple goodness without being overpowered with the baking spices. "Punkin Ale" is on the lighter style of beer, so its perfect while you're waiting around for people to arrive and you want to feel festive.

​Post Road "Pumpkin Ale" is a pumpkin ale crafted by Brooklyn Brewery. Malty, cinnamon-y and all-spice-ey, this is the top-pick brew to sip at the dinner table. A perfect accompaniment to traditional, Thanksgiving fixins, the spices marry well with sausage stuffing, sweet potato 'n' marshmallow casserole and cranberry sauce (made from scratch of course.)

Last but not least is Shipyard Brewing Co.'s "Pumpkinhead." Not a beer for everyone, it is intensely spicey. Actually, it wreaks of those cinnamon trees at the check out counters at Publix during the holidays, but if there is one function for it, it might just be the ideal beverage poured over vanilla ice cream. The creamy, blank canvas could prove to be a mitigating element for all of that warm spice.

So say "buh-bye" to cheap wine and pick up a couple of six packs. Its the same price, just twice, or thrice the variety.