If the summer of White Claw has taught us anything, it’s that people can and should drink whatever they want whenever they want. So whether it’s paired with a whole hog or your Thanksgiving turkey, go ahead and pop a can of hard seltzer this season.
Of course, if your Thanksgiving is more of a Friendsgiving with a coterie of beer lovers, then you’re in good company—dust off those whales and go to town. But for the rest of us, Thanksgiving is no time for pairing beers with every different course. Cooks will be too busy to play Cicerone, flavors will probably clash, and non-beer fans will certainly be snubbed. The bold bitterness of an IPA doesn’t play well with most traditional Thanksgiving dishes (with a big caveat on that word, “traditional,” because everyone’s Thanksgiving looks a little different, but our point still stands). And if half of your guests aren’t the biggest fans of light lagers or whatever else you happen to have on hand as your go-to “everything” beer, what then?
Enter: hard seltzer.
Now, before you recoil in fear and/or disgust, hear us out. All of the reasons that craft geeks don’t like hard seltzer—it’s inexpensive, it’s basic, it’s comparatively low on flavor—are also all of the reasons why it works perfectly for a mixed crowd, especially if that crowd includes folks who, much to your chagrin, couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the finer points of New World hops. Hard seltzer won’t bust your booze budget—save that for get-togethers with your beer nerd pals—and thanks to most seltzers’ typically low ABV, it won’t get Aunt Phyllis completely wrecked before the turkey comes out of the oven. (Probably.) Better yet: It won’t blow out anyone’s palate, and it’s light enough that you’ll have plenty of calories left to spend on mashed potatoes and pie.
This isn’t just our own, seltzer-besotted opinion either. As Forbes’ Tara Nurin recently pointed out, a survey by hard seltzer brand Arctic Summer found that one-third of Millennials plan to serve hard seltzer during the holidays this year.
If you’re still skeptical, let’s toss a sweater on that boozy bubbly water. In addition to your assortment tropical flavors—perfect for the beach or if you’re feeling blasphemous at the tiki bar—hard seltzer can be found in a cornucopia of fall flavors. Bon & Viv (produced by AB InBev, an investor in October) has long offered a cranberry version. With local brewers and producers getting into the seltzer game, you can also get your cranberry fix from Briggs Hard Seltzer—based in Boston and made with 100 percent fruit—as well as Ficks Hard Seltzer, which is based in California and also boasts real fruit. Press—a woman-owned seltzer-maker in Milwaukee—released a limited-edition apple cinnamon variety for the fall. And, yes, there were even rumors of a pumpkin spiced latte hard seltzer. You can thank Busch Beer for those.
So gather ‘round the table and toast with a can of bubbles. At its best, it’s an easy-drinking equalizer that allows you to spend more time thinking about what’s on and around the table.
Top photo via Wikimedia Commons.