Start the occasion with a sparkling wine with the first course. Sparkling wines are light on the palate and pair well with just about every appetizer. Bubbly is also ideal for a Thanksgiving toast as most people enjoy a nice glass of Champagne or two. A light sparkling rose like Mumm Napa Brut ($26) is pleasing on the palate and a nice way to start the Turkey Day meal off right.
Surprise your Thanksgiving guests with a new style of beer known as Biere de Champagne. This unique beer is similar to Champagne, with its bubbly quality, but still delivers that yeasty taste of a well-brewed beer. Some Champagne beers are even sold in 750ml bottles -- with a cork -- that resemble Champagne bottles and pop when opened. Deus Brut Des Flanders ($25) from Belgium is one of the best choices but may be difficult to find; a Witbier like Ommegang Witte from New York is a nice substitution.
If you are starting your Thanksgiving feast with a salad or soup, a nice white wine is a good choice as it will not overpower the food. A Chardonnay is fine, but Riesling and a dry Viognier are also appropriate picks. Wild Horse Viognier from California ($20) is a great choice because of its crisp feel and hint of fruit.
Look for a beer that has similar qualities to white wine. Tripels are a wonderful option because they have the dryness and fruitiness of white wine but the depth and body of a beer and even a bit of bitterness. Flying Dog Brewery out of Maryland has a delicious Kerberos Tripel (6-pack, $10). It is full bodied and has a warming quality that is perfect for a chilly Thanksgiving Day.
The traditional roasted turkey entrée can be deliciously paired with a lighter, fruitier red wine, like Syrah or Beaujolais. These reds have a spicy and jammy quality which will pair perfectly with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce. The Magnificent Wine Company from Washington makes a rich 2006 Syrah ($20) that will pair perfectly with your Thanksgiving meal.
A strong Belgian pale ale is an excellent beer to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey and sides. With a slight sweetness yet bold quality, Belgian pale ale is an ideal companion for the fats and starches of the Thanksgiving meal and even helps cleanse the palate so you taste every nuance of your Thanksgiving Day dishes. Abbaye de Leffe S.A Leffe Blonde (6-pack, $12) is light, emanating a golden color and slightly sweet flavor that will pair quite well with your Thanksgiving meal.
If you decide a dessert wine is in order, take care to balance it with desserts that aren't overly sweet. Whites wines, such as a sweet Riesling or Gewurztraminer are also good choices, and even a sparkling wine, like a sweet Asti, can be a welcome end to a meal. For a more robust finale with dessert, opt for a Port or Muscat. Boony Doon Ca Del Sol Muscat ($18) makes a pale yellow Muscat that is not overpoweringly sweet and exudes floral and fruity notes that work well with pumpkin pie.
A flavored beer can be the ideal partner for Thanksgiving dessert. A first-rate choice is a pumpkin ale or chocolate stout, but a blackberry or cherry flavored beer may be more to your liking. These beers are typically a bit sweeter but not overly sweet and complement a dessert rather than overpower it. Wells & Young's makes the best Double Stout ($11) that can be paired with just about any Thanksgiving pie. This stout has a black color and is smooth and sweet with just enough chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth.
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