Today’s bonus infographic is all about the holiday, entitled Turkey & Travel: How We Celebrate Thanksgiving. It was created by Nationwide Bank, and shows a number of factoids about Thanksgiving, including a comparison of what was served at the first one compared to our modern meals.
Thirty years ago, in November 1983, Michael Jackson wrote an article for the Washington Post entitled “Beer at the Thanksgiving Table.” It was subtitled “Wine is acceptable for this annual feast, but what if you prefer beer?” It was apparently one of his first pieces on the topic of pairing beer and food.
The article contains one of my favorite quotes by Michael:
To give thanks is a matter of joy; should that be confined by excessive sobriety? Better still, Thanksgiving is an annual opportunity to refresh old friendships and make new ones, in which matter both the ritual and effect of a shared glass is the best tie.
When you consider this was written when Sierra Nevada was still a very small brewery, New Albion had just closed and Mendocino Brewing had only been founded the same year, it’s a remarkable time piece. Nobody was even thinking about pairing beer with food yet. Now we take it for granted. But back then most people still needed convincing. This is great reminder of how far we’ve come and how much of debt of thanks we owe to Michael.
Here’s Michael’s suggested general pairing suggestions from thirty years ago:
As an aperitif: Dry, hoppy beers with some bitterness. Try New Amsterdam (from New York) or Anchor Steam (San Francisco).
With fish: Pilsners. Almost all of the well-known American beers are loosely of this style. So are the best-known imported brands, like Heineken and Carlsberg. Czech and German Pilsners tend to be drier, and therefore go especially well with the more oily varieties of fish.
Shellfish: Dry stouts or porters.
Smoked meats, sausages: If you can find it, the smoked Rauchbier of Bamberg, Germany. Or a German altbier or weizenbeier.
Pasta: The less spicy pasta dishes of Northern Italy go quite well with the Munich Dark type of beer. It is, after all, commonly served with the admittedly-heavier noodle dishes of Germany.
Fowl: Munich Light with turkey; perhaps the slightly less sweet Dortmunder style might go better with chicken.
Red Meat: English Pale Ale.
Game: Scottish ale, which is heavier.
But take the time to go back and read the entire article. And give thanks that nobody looks at you funny when you bring beer to the Thanksgiving meal. As is my personal tradition, I’m enjoying some Anchor Christmas Ale with my meal, something I’ve been doing for roughly twenty-five years. Happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from November 1948. Part of their “Great Contributions to Good Taste” series, according to the story, it was poor French peasants who discovered that turkeys could be raised and eaten and they became wildly popular there, when news travelled back to the colonies and the rest, as they say, is history. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow,
An AP story, Farmer says beer for birds improves flavor, claims that at least one farmer believes that’s the case. According to the AP article, Joe Morette of New Hampshire started giving his turkeys beer in 1993, when on a hot July day, “[a] turkey knocked one over and started drinking and they’ve been sipping the suds ever since.” He continues. “Morette, who prefers serving the turkeys lager, insists the beer makes birds fatter, more flavorful and juicier.” Peta is reportedly against this and stated “turkeys shouldn’t be fed beer and ‘farmers across the country use questionable practices to keep costs down or to alter the taste of animals’ flesh because their priority is profit, not the animals’ welfare.’” As far as I ‘m concerned that’s reason enough it’s a good idea.
Happily, cooler heads prevailed. “[A] poultry expert with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension said it is unlikely that the birds are suffering. ‘I don’t know exactly how much beer each turkey is consuming, but it would have to be a lot in order for it to kind of have the same effect as too much beer on people,’ said Carl Majewski, a field specialist in food and agriculture.”
It could even be good for them.
Kathi Brock, national director of Humane Heartland, which oversees the treatment of farm animals, said that standards from the American Humane Association don’t prohibit serving beer to animals. “I consulted with an avian veterinarian who said that while giving beer to turkeys is not a standard protocol, hops could be beneficial for the intestinal tract,” Brock said.
Today’s infographic is entitled the Beer & Food Cheat Sheet, and was created by The Savory. It shows eight basic kinds of beer and makes some suggestions of three or four basic foods that they think pairs with each, along with some additional tips below the infographic.
Today’s bonus infographic is also from Thrillist, and is entitled Red, White and Food. Like the earlier beer map, this one shows the most iconic fast food restaurant associated with each state, with this stated goal. “This is an attempt to maximize the most noteworthy restaurant chain (with an emphasis on fast food where possible) associated with each state. Could mean it was founded there. Could mean it’s headquartered there. Could mean both.”