Thanksgiving on tap: Best beverage pairings for a fantastic feast

Photo by Suzy Brooks

The Cornell Craft Beverage Institute offers scientific guidance to breweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries throughout New York.

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As preparations begin for the Thanksgiving holiday, experts from the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute offer beverage pairings for the food feast, as well as delicious drinks for cooking, watching football and even those sometimes-challenging conversations with family.

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Brewing expert Kaylyn Kirkpatrick supervises the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute’s Hops Analysis Lab and brewery pilot plant, scheduled to open in early 2020. She helps brewers across New York state test ingredient quality. Kirkpatrick offers beer pairings for the upcoming holiday.

Bio: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/kaylyn-kirkpatrick/Kirkpatrick says:

“While you’re cooking and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the background, opt for a German Kristalweizen, a South German-style sparkling clear wheat beer. It’s similar to a hefeweizen but without the haze and palate fullness.

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“A gose, another German-style beer, would be great paired with smoked turkey and stuffing. This wheat beer has a lemon-like sour characteristic from the souring organism lactobacillus and is slightly salty from the water formulation.

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“A Belgian dark strong ale is an excellent pairing with pecan pie and other desserts, delivering a strong malt character with rich aromatic notes of dark fruit from extended aging and perfumey alcohol.”



Associate professor of enology Anna Katharine Mansfield works with New York state wineries and focuses on practical challenges facing small, local wineries. She also conducts research that aims to answer pressing questions facing the wine industry as a whole. Mansfield offers regional wine and spirit pairings for sipping during Thanksgiving.

Bio: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/anna-mansfield/“A Finger Lakes rosé of cabernet franc will go beautifully with the traditional turkey dinner.

“For post-prandial sipping, or for making warming cocktails, one of the several applejacks produced in the Hudson Valley would be a great choice. Applejack was one of the first American spirits, after all!



Christopher Gerling, an enologist and craft-beverage expert, is the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute’s expert who handles wine, cider and spirits. Recently he’s been spending his time working on fermentation formulations with New York state cideries. Gerling suggest cider pairings for holiday festivities. 

Bio: https://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/people/christopher-gerling/

“For watching football, parades, or unpleasant family conversations, New York state ciders made from culinary apples will fit the bill. Found in cans or 12 oz. bottles, these ciders come in a variety of sweetness levels and seasonal flavors and make for a great gluten-free match with appetizers.

“For pairing with a turkey dinner, ciders made from traditional cider apples can work with just about any food. Often found in 750 ml bottles (like wine), these ciders can stand up to sauces, casseroles and a variety of veggies. Classic high-tannin ciders are also exceptionally enjoyable with cheeses.

“For pumpkin and apple pie, a pommeau will make any special occasion memorable. Made with a combination of apple brandy and apple juice, pommeau can be easier to enjoy than brandy and is far rarer than port.”Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.

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