Thankful For Family, Health And My Love For Craft Beer

Thankful For Family, Health And My Love For Craft Beer

Our craft beer expert has drafted a few tips for enjoying your high-carb holiday feast and these great craft beers too!


If you are like me, Thanksgiving is the most amazing day of the year. Christmas lasts for 40 days! Thanksgiving is a solid two glorious days of eating, drinking and enjoying time with your loved ones. Again, if you are like me, you have spent the last few weeks collecting big bottles of craft beer you can’t wait to share with your family. The elaborate bottle of Sam’s is for Dad, who laughs at all the “crazy beers” I bring home. I will bring a Black IPA for the girlfriend, a couple stouts that I’ve been hoarding for my uncles and some Allagash or a lighter ale for those just starting their craft adventure. Just to reiterate, if you’re like me you have a dilemma: you can’t possibly eat all the high carb, coma-inducing appetizers, side dishes, try to cram in dinner…AND drink craft beer. But oh, young Padawan, I am here to tell you differently!



All you have to do is cut out the spinach dip in the pumpernickel bread bowl, all the fried stuff and… well, all carb packed dishes. Instead, make eyes with the crudités wrapped in prosciutto and some raw veggies and dip then turn to the fridge and grab an American pale wheat beer to enjoy with this deliciousness. My first choices would be Lagunitas Lil Sumpin’ Sumpin’ and Boulevard 80 Acres Hoppy Wheat.


Yes You Can

Drinking craft beer all day can be a numbers game because you need to make sure you watch the ABV (Alcohol By Volume – or the percentage of alcohol a bottle of beer contains). One must also be cautious of the side effects caused by eating and drinking carbonated beverages all day because bloating is the leading cause of “I’m going to lay down now” syndrome on Thanksgiving. That being said you might want to steer clear of the Belgians…for now. After you drink a few session IPA’s with the appetizers and played a few rounds of RummiCub or enjoyed that nice Porter near the fireplace…

Dinner is served! I know that the warm loaf of bread under that linen napkin is burning a hole in your stomach but just think, “beer is better.” Focus your carb intake on what’s important and let’s face it, you want that turkey and more beer! Because I personally go for anything on the turkey that’s crispy with fatty skin on it, I know to skip the homemade bread (sigh). I would be drinking an IPA or big Pale ale with my turkey leg and the occasional wing. Kane Head High or Captain Lawrence Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA are my best pairing suggestions to enjoy with the darker meat. However, there isn’t a piece of food on the table that this beer won’t pair with well. If you like the lighter turkey meat, you can now have your Belgian Tripel. I suggest Allagash Tripel, Tripel Karmeliet or Victory Golden Monkey (or White Monkey if you can get it).


You’ve Earned It

You have done a good job reorganizing your carb sources and enjoying craft beer, but now it’s time for desert! How about you say yes to the pumpkin pie and coconut custard? I say this because it is my favorite and must never be skipped. So, I will have my pie and drink it too because there is no better time to enjoy a craft beer on Thanksgiving than with desert! Pumpkin beers are a specialty of mine (I order the beer for two craft beer bars and pumpkin beer is drilled down my throat because seems every brewery makes a pumpkin beer). I suggest you pass up the eclairs dipped in chocolate and enjoy another great beer instead. My suggestions are as follows: Uinta Crooked Line Oak Jacked Pumpkin – aged in oak barrels and ridiculousness and the Neshaminy Creek Punkel Dunkel, which is a pumpkin wheat beer. However, you cannot go wrong with either Weyerbacher’s, Schlafly’s or any of Elysian’s pumpkin brews. I hope your day is as good as I suspect mine will be! May it be filled with great food (minus the sacrificial dishes) and great beer.


Mike DeSimone/Pazoo

Illustration by Mark Armstrong

Mike DeSimone

About Mike DeSimone

Michael DeSimone is responsible for all restaurant and bar operations of two gastropub/restaurant establishments in NJ. He creates and maintains both bars’ craft beer and spirits program and well as host numerous craft beer events including tap takeovers, exclusive beer tappings and specialized beer dinners. He also writes and designs the menus for both restaurants, teaming up with co-owner and celebrity Chef Eric LeVine – Culinary Expert.


Having dedicated his entire adult life to the...