Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pairing for Thanksgiving Day: The Local Way

Thanksgiving is almost here.  You can't beat the never ending supply of comfort food during the holidays. I'm thankful for that!  This year I wanted to plan a non-traditional menu featuring rack of lamb and local pairing options.  Don’t worry… for all of the turkey lovers, I have my Turkey with Maple Syrup, Bacon and Sage Butter listed below.  

We tried to keep it local and give options for beer, wine and cocktails to pair with the dishes.  You can pair dishes individually, or you can select some options that go well with the entire meal.  I recommend at least a red, a white, a beer and a cocktail.  Happy Thanksgiving!

The Menu:
First Courses

Crave Brothers Baked Les Frères with Maple and Pears


Allagash Fluxus:   Fluxus is the anniversary beer.  To celebrate their 16th, they decided on a saison/wit hybrid with green and pink peppercorns. There are notes of pepper but it’s not too intense.   It’s bottle –conditioned which lends itself carbonation. The pepper as well as the bubbles slice nicely through the baked Les Frères.

3 Stars Brewing Co., “Southern Belle”, Imperial Brown Ale (8.7% ABV)
This smooth and complex ale’s deep malt character will enhance the flavors of this dish, and the slightly effervescence with a hint of sweet malts and toasted pecan aroma will cut through the sweetness of the maple and pears.

K-9 Winter Ale has a rich malt backbone of caramel and roast, which matches up perfectly with the fruity and earthy notes in this artisanal cheese. The maple and pear sweetness are icing on the cake.  

Mad Fox Kellerbier Kӧlsch (4.4% ABV) This beer won the 2011 Great American Beer Festival® Gold Medal. They used the same recipe as their standard Kӧlsch but with an unfiltered version served cellar style like a German Brewer might enjoy directly from the lager tank. 

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons


Flying Dog Brewery, UnderDog Atlantic Lager
Originally brewed as a sessionable, yet hop-forward lager for Maryland’s hot and humid summers, UnderDog proves its all-season versatility when paired with this delicate winter soup.

2010 Three Vineyards Chardonnay from Tarara  Intense, big and rich which are the trademarks of the 2010 vintage.  The aromas shoot from the showing ripe pear, cedar, creamed peaches and brioche characters.  The palate is round and ripe with a very full body, but balanced nicely with a streak of acidity keeping it fresh.  The finish is long and smoky starting to show some minerality.

Allagash Dubbel (7.0% ABV) When the temperature drops every fall- this is what I want to drink while everyone else is sipping on pumpkin and fest beers.  The dubbel is a bit different because it actually brewed with roasted malt.  Historically dubbels got their color from the use of Dark Belgian-candied syrup.  Allagash dubbel brings chocolate and nuts to mind. And drinkers will enjoy lovely notes of figs and spice from the Belgian yeast strain.  Squash soup traditionally has elements of autumn spices like nutmeg and cinnamon- so this should be a perfect pairing.

Mason's Dark Mild (3.3% ABV)  One of their extreme session beers, this dark roasty malt-accented beer is our lowest alcohol beer yet. This session ale is toffee and chocolate accented with just enough hops to keep the malt sweetness from getting cloying. Brewed with English malts and English Goldings hops, this classic English-style ale was born for the Pub and your pint glass.

 Main Course

Maple-HerbCrusted Rack of Border Springs Lamb with Cranberry Chutney 


Flying Dog Brewery, St. EADman Belgian Dark Ale
An extremely limited-release that pays homage to label artist Ralph Steadman, this Belgian Dark Ale has dark cherry sweetness and assertive Belgian yeast notes that match the intensity of this dish.

Topiary 2010 from Boxwood:  Brick-red color, with a very complex nose of strawberry, pepper, tobacco and molasses with some oak notes.  Medium-full bodied on the palate. Cherry pit and red fruit predominate, with a round midpalate and soft/sweet tannins. The finish is fresh and very long, with notes of dried herbs and a touch of oak.

2010 Cabernet Franc from Tarara  Just a truly massive and rich wine.  The dark crimson colored wine has intense aromatics of ripe raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, cocoa and espresso beans that just engulf the senses.  The palate is lush, full and velvety with loads of fruit and sweet cedar and coffee notes leading to a long mouth coating finish.

3 Star Brewing Co., “Sea Change”, American Pale Ale (6.9%)
The newest offering in the DC brewery’s arsenal, the Sea Change’s bright hop character, created from Centennial, Cascade, and Zythos hops, lingers on the palate to mingle nicely with the gaminess of the lamb and tartness of the fruit. Since opening this past summer in the Takoma Park neighborhood of the District, the artisanal craft brewery has released more than 7 different styles for consumption at more than 35 restaurants and bars throughout DC.

Allagash Four (10.0% ABV) Four is our Quad.  It has four malts, four different hop varietals and fermented FOUR times with FOUR different yeast strains. It’s almost like a big brother to the dubbel. It has similar characteristics but is more layered and complex.  It’s my favorite beer with lamb.  It’s a big ol’ malt bomb. When one pairs beer and food one of two things typically happen –it’s either a complement or a contrast.  This dish might allow both. It’s going to complement the maple herb crusted lamb but should be a contrast to the tart chutney.  

Mad Fox Saison (6.0% ABV)
Sturdy farmhouse-style ale that showcases yeast from northern France, along the Belgian border. The earth and spice notes as well as the citrus fruit character are yeast driven. The balance and complexity of the aroma will change as the beer warms in your hand. Medium bitterness and honey-ish malt with a semi-dry finish.

Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Pancetta

3 Stars Brewing Co., “Pandemic Porter”, American Imperial Porter (9.6%) This is a huge beer with plays well with savory or sweet dishes. Here, the roasted malts with lingering chocolate and coffee flavors play really well with the earthy sprouts and brown butter, and the slight hint of alcohol warms against the Pancetta to cut through the richness of the dish.

Allagash Tripel:  A nice pairing for this could be our Interlude, one of our sour offerings. I think the acidity would balance the bitterness of of the Sprouts but it’s not released for the year yet- so I’m going to suggest Triple.  Because we’re going to need a beer that’s a little higher in alcohol to match the potency of the petite cabbages.  This will get the job done at 9% abv.  It was voted 11th best beer in the world by Wine Enthusiast last year.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole


2010 Charval from Tarara is pretty easy going and seems to go with pretty much any veggie.  It’s a stainless steel Chardonnay blend.  Goes great with the green beans.

Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Topping


Flying Dog Brewery, Old Scratch Amber Lager The complementary flavors of this Amber Lager is like adding a hypothetical graham cracker crust to this already rich dish. The caramel malt notes up the sweet factor, but the beer’s subtle hoppiness makes it finish crisp and dry.
2011 Boneyard White from Tarara  A pale straw colored wine that is clean and fruit forward enough to make an everyday wine, but complex enough to please the most distinguished wine enthusiast.  The aromatics are delicate and somewhat closed right now but show all sorts of citrus, grassy notes, grapefruit, crisp apple and even some floral notes.  The palate is crunchy and fresh with vibrant acidity keeping the palate dancing with herbal and citrus tones on a light body leading to a long finish.  This wine is full of verve.

Allagash Curieux (11.0% ABV) Allagash Tripel aged in Jim Beam barrels for 8 weeks.  Curieux was our first foray into barrel-aging.  It is our triple aged in Jim Beam barrels for 8 weeks. After the almost two- month maturation- we blend it with fresh triple thus- its not like you’re doing a shot of bourbon.  Still-it’s a lofty 11%.  The barrel-aging brings on flavors of vanilla and toasted coconut which should complement the sweet potatoes well.

Mashed Potatoes


Flying Dog Brewery, Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
Proceeds from Pearl Necklace benefit the Oyster Recovery Partnership, which helps restore the oyster population in the Chesapeake Bay. The slight brine character of this Oyster Stout add an extra kick to everyone’s favorite whipped starch.

Two Hemispheres IPA – (7.0% ABV) This “wet” hopped IPA brings together Australian Galaxy hops as a kettle addition along with 150 lbs. of American Citra Hops flown in freshly picked from the Pacific Northwest. An amber hued color with citrus & passion fruit, along with fresh herbal notes. This wet-hopped brew will be of limited availability during the hop harvest time of the year (right now!)

Mustard Roasted Carrots


Tarara Rose Easily the lightest and most classic style of Rose we have made to date.  Pale salmon color, with good intensity of fruit and some herbal tones on the nose.  The palate is light, crisp and clean with plentiful fruit making the wine a classic for sipping through the spring and summer of 2012.  The lively acidity keeps everything fresh today, but this wine is meant to be consumed in its youth.

The earthy hop notes in this well-balanced pale ale compliment the mustard glaze while the sweet malt picks up the delicate sweetness of these roasted carrots.

Allagash Victor:  This beer comes as close as you can get to blurring the line between wine and beer. There’s 100 pounds of a St Croix varietal added (from Maine!)  to the mash tun with the grainbill. They ferment it with a hearty wine yeast then finish it off with our house yeast.  It is aged in stainless steel for 8 months. It has a subtle wine- like character from the grapes and a nice copper color. It’s spicy and slightly tart.  It should hold up well to any heat from the mustard.  Sometimes pairing beer and food can be as simple as matching color. Lighter beers with lighter dishes and darker beers with darker dishes.  In this case I wanted something amber in color- not too dark. 

Mushroom, Sausage and Spinach Bread Pudding


Boxwood Trellis 2010:
 Bright crimson color with a cherry pit, floral and clove nose. Excellent concentrate, firm tannins and a medium body. Cherry, and spice dominate the palate. The finish is long with notes of white pepper.

3 Stars Brewing Co., “Winter Madness”, Winter Warmer seasonal (10.2%)
Sweet and smooth with traces of underlying booze and a lot of dried fruit on the nose, this beer wants to just wrap its boozy arms around this savory, earthy dish. The brewers also suggest pairing this seasonal with shopping, mass holiday greeting card-writing sessions, caroling, tree trimming and snow shoveling. 

2010 Charval from Tarara  The vintage really shows in this wine with intense aromatics of tropical fruit like mango and papaya blend with more classic citrus and crisp apple notes.  The palate is dry, with still some fresh acidity from the Petit Manseng holding together the fuller bodied fruit forward wine.  The crisp character of the wine leads to a long citrus driven finish.  This is best in its youth but will drink well for another couple years.


Baked by Yael Pumpkin Cake Pops:  These pops will be a big hit at Thanksgiving.  They are incredibly delicious.


Mad Fox Punkinator (5.0% ABV)
Our seasonal pumpkin beer made with 250 lbs. of heirloom Cinderella varietal pumpkins. This beer is also spiced with our house-blended pumpkin pie spice. Medium bodied and very low hopped so the spiced pumpkin flavors are forward.

2010 Late Harvest Petit Manseng from Tarara has a sweet flavor that goes well with the cake pops.  Almost 24 Karat gold in color, this wine show incredible intensity starting on the nose with rose petal, pineapple, mango, caramel and cinnamon characters.  The palate is rich and mouth coating showing just unheard of concentration.  The fruit comes flying through that palate as well with some great sweet oak and vanilla tones leading to a mouth filling finish that finally shows the well balanced acidity that keep the sugar and alcohol all in check.

Dolcezza Pumpkin, Maple Syrup and Sweet Potato Pecan GelatoEach gelato is packed with fall flavor.


3 Stars Brewing Co., “Peppercorn Saison”, Belgium-Style Farmhouse Ale-A beer made for drinking and loved by beer aficionados and wine drinkers alike, the dry yeasty notes of this slightly sweet ale counterbalance the sweetness of the pumpkin while the white, pink and green peppercorns add a underlying depth that mingles well with the warm holiday spices in both desserts.

Mad Fox Mad Jacket Weizenbock Ale –(7.7% ABV) A collaboration brew with Megan Parisi, acclaimed Brewster of the much anticipated Bluejacket Brewery to be located near Nationals Park. The malt bill for this strong brew includes imported German Pilsener, Munich, Aromatic, Wheat and others to contribute to the malt backbone and mouth feel. Both kettle hop additions of German Perle and Hersbrucker hops were restrained to allow the malt and yeast notes to prevail. Its reddish hue and fluffy white foam head in the glass recreate the beauty of this Munich specialty beer. Fresh bready yeast notes, banana ester fruitiness and earthy clove spiciness combine with a light citrus peel flavor and a very complex flavor experience. Prosit!

Signature Cocktail
 Cranbubbly with Flag Hill Winery Cranberry Liqueur.

After Dinner Drinks

Wash down the meal with Grappa and Pear Brandy from Clear Creek Distillery.

With the Meal
Ommegang's fall harvest beer Scythe and Sickle goes perfectly with the whole Thanksgiving meal. 

Ommegang Duvel Rustica, is a Belgian-style Golden Ale of 8.5% ABV and, like the iconic Duvel Golden Ale, is brewed with fine pils malts and hopped with noble Styrian Golding hops from Slovenia.
More Thanksgiving Menu Ideas:

Dinner Cocktails:

First Course:

Main Course:



Special Thanks to all of our Partners:

American Lamb Board

Border Springs

Logan's Sausage

Craft Distillers

Clear Creek Distillery

Dolcezza Gelato

Crave Brothers


Flying Dog Brewery

Tarara Winery

3 Stars Brewing



Mad Fox Brewing

Flag Hill

Tonewood Maple

Baked by Yael

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