(The following column was originally published in the Waterbury (CT) Republican-American on Nov. 14, 2012.)
By Will Siss
Craft beer is rarely humble.
Bold, complex, sumptuous ales love to show off. Their rocky heads erupt with the aromas of grapefruit and cinnamon and baked bread. Their amber, golden and chocolate brown hues cavort in the waning sunlight.
A single sip of an expertly created doppelbock or imperial stout commands your attention.
However, as we celebrate abundance while recognizing scarcity this season, beer can play a supporting role. It’s only appropriate as we appreciate the joys of comfort food during a season that’s been anything but comfortable for millions of Americans.
I had a chance to try out a turkey marinade that costars beer, which you might want to incorporate into your Thanksgiving meal. I’d like to share it with you, along with some beer recommendations.
Enveloped in beer
Beer can make a great part of a marinade, and in the war against dry turkey, it can be one of your best allies. The one I made, which came from www.foodnetwork.com, was rather simple. Here are the ingredients for “Beer Marinade”:
½ cup olive oil
1 cup dark beer
¼ cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
You just whisk together the oil, beer, and lemon juice before mixing in everything else. I placed the marinade into a plastic baggie, plunked some uncooked turkey thighs into it and let it refrigerate for a few hours before baking them.
I found that I could sense the beer, but that it had almost become wine-like in the process. Dark fruit aroma wafted off of the crispy skin and some of the nutty sweetness penetrated its way to the juicy meat.
I frankly don’t know how this would work on a large turkey, but I’m fairly confident that on a smaller bird this would do the trick.
While you’re stocking up on napkin rings and tureens, consider picking up some of the following beers.
To accompany appetizers: Weyerbacher’s AutumnFest Oktoberfest (hints of caramel, slightly herbal, won’t overwhelm)
For the main dish: Clown Shoes’ Tramp Stamp Belgian India pale ale (soft malts, citrus hops, mingles well with savory)
With dessert: Stone’s Smoked Porter (some smokiness, hints of coffee, plays well with chocolate)
I believe that we beer lovers should give thanks to all of our patient bartenders who don’t mind giving shot-glass tastes while they wait for us to make our decisions.
Thanks also go out to wait staff who tuck pride away and have no problem reading from the most updated beer list.
And finally, thank you to the bloggers and tweeters and Facebook posters who provide free advertising for small breweries in our state. The word’s spreading, and that’s something for which to be grateful.
Until next time, sip well.
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