Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: Last-minute beer-and-wine pairings for tomorrow's feast

JIM BEAUREGARD November 20. 2012 9:00PM

Thanksgiving is upon us, and if you have any last minute shopping to do, I'm here to help. What to pair with Thanksgiving dinner? Here are some beer and wine options.

I spoke with Bert Bingel at Bert's Better Beers, and asked for some suggestions, which he had already been thinking about, of course, and he suggested some local choices:

Smuttynose Belgian Style Golden Ale, "Homunculus" Big Beer Series, Smuttynose Brewery, Portsmouth: Belgian style, golden beer, in this case unfiltered, under a huge, creamy Belgian-style head, with aromas of hops and a background of malt, an off-dry palate, medium bitterness, acidity and alcohol (no abv that I could find on the label), well-integrated components, and an edge of hops bitterness throughout, flavors of citrus, including lemon and spice. Good finish. White meat and bread stuffing come to mind.

White Birch Oude Timey, Sour Flemish-style Brown Ale, 7.3%abv, $8.25, White Birch Brewing Company, Hooksett. Either you love sour beer or hate it. If you are one of the former, you'll enjoy this brown ale with medium malt and low hops on the nose, an off-dry palate, with medium bitterness, high acidity, medium well-integrated alcohol, medium-plus body, and medium-plus flavor intensity of sour - sour cherry, as well as citrus, with malt along for the whole ride. Long, long finish.

Squam Brewing Mountain View Red, Irish Style Red Ale, $7.50, Squam Brewing Company, Holderness. Bottle conditioned, average size tan head, red-tawny in color, a very malt nose of bread and rich grain aromas, an off-dry palate with medium bitterness, medium acidity, well-integrated alcohol, silky texture, and a malt palate that reflects the nose. Dark meat and meat stuffing.

From the cellar

And for you wine lovers, there are a number of wines that pair well with turkey dinners, whites and light reds, the former for white meat fans, the latter for dark meat fans. Here are a few wines I've reviewed this year that should fit the bill:

LaBelle Dry Riesling, $15.99. Look for the word "Dry" on the label to distinguish it from semi-sweet Riesling also made by Amy and Cesar. Pale in the glass, with a white fruit nose and a crispness that begins in the aroma. The palate is indeed dry, with flavors of apple, peach and pear that develop along the way, well balanced, and crisp. In addition, any of our local New Hampshire Rieslings would fit the bill.

2006 R. Stuart Pinot Noir, Autograph, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $24.99, 14.5% abv. An Old World Pinot Noir from the New World. Medium intensity ruby red, pronounced nose of red fruit, including ripe raspberry. Dry palate, medium acidity, medium tannin, medium body, and strong flavors of ripe raspberry, strawberry in the background, earthy notes that call out from Europe, helped along by about 6 months in oak before it's bottled. Good Pinot Noir structure, balance, concentration and complexity. 90 points.

2010 Tegernseerhof/Mittelbach Terrassen, Wachau, Austria, $23.99. 100% Riesling. The last of our whites for today, a dry fruit forward white from the noble grape, an extraordinary nose of petrol and honey you typically don't see in German wines until they have aged considerably, and on the palate, petrol, white fruit, green apple, great acidity, medium-plus body, and a complex finish that reflects the nose and palate right to the end. 93 points.

2011 Tegernseerhof/Mittelbach Rosť, Wachau, Austria, $16.99. 100% Zweigelt. Red grape, with the pressed juice pumped off the skins after a brief exposure, giving it its light red color. A light, whimsical nose of red fruit, ethereal in character, a bone dry palate with very good acidity, flavors of red fruit including strawberry, and an excellent, light, lively, refreshing finish. 91 points.

And for dessert? I'll choose a pumpkin ale.

Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh.com.


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