By Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

Special Away Game on Thanksgiving edition of the Buffet Table.

The Detroit Lions, as much a part of Thanksgiving as your least favorite uncle who won’t shut up.

Let’s predict the spiel of all those “big Patriots fans” inlaws and relatives.

“Brady needs a haircut”
“Brady looks like Justin Bieber”
“They shouldn’t have traded Moss”
“Belichick is conceited, he needs coordinators”
“Kraft is cheap”
“Kraft is a baby asking Mankins to apologize”
“That girl was asking Favre to send her pictures”
“They’re not really as good as their record”

What? You thought you were the only one who had to deal with someone like this? No way, why do you think pregame shows and sports radio are so popular. Someone is eating that crap up, and they’re related to us.

What to eat?

I don’t know. Why don’t you eat that giant turkey sitting on the table. No not Uncle Bill, the gobbler. No not Uncle Dennis.

Come on now, you know what to eat today.

What to drink?

If you see any articles about drinking beer on Thanksgiving I can guarantee they’ll say to drink Saison.

But not here. Instead we’re going with American Pale Ale. This is the fourth year of Buffet Tables and somehow the signature beer of American beer hasn’t been drunk.

Way back in the late 70’s and early 80’s the American Pale Ale was the new kid on the block. It wasn’t that much darker than all the Budweiser type crap out there, but it had flavor, and it was bitter because the brewers put hops in it.

And unlike the beers in England, the American Pale Ale used American hops. Citrusy, piney, resinous hops.

The characteristics of those hops, and the tendency of American brewers to make their pale ales more hop forward than English brewers forms the main dividing line between American and English style Pale Ales.

There were other American Pale Ales in the old days, but the real survivor from that time was Sierra Nevada with their Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

The APA is a beer you can have a few of, the alcohol runs from about 4.5% to 6%. It’s hoppy and not cloyingly sweet, but it’s not as abrasive as an IPA.

There are a couple available in New England from Michigan.

Detroit’s Atwater Block brewing calls their APA Atwater Ale. 5.5% ABV and 60 IBU.

Founder’s from Grand Rapids, MI also makes an APA. There beer is simply called Founder’s Pale Ale. 5.4% ABV, 35 IBU and very good.

From outside Michigan:

The beer all APAs are judged against is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 5.6% ABV and 37 IBU. A dry beer in the bottle, a bit softer and maltier on tap. A true classic.

From Portsmouth, NH Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale is one of the oldest in New England. 5.4% and 30 IBUs. Notice anything with those ABV and bitterness numbers yet?

Tuckerman’s Pale Ale is similar in strength and bitterness to most APAs, but is made a bit different by the cold conditioning it undergoes after fermentation. This makes it a bit of a hybrid between an ale and a lager, meaning it’s a bit smoother than most.

Harpoon Ale is sort of a tweener between the American Amber Ale and American Pale Ale styles. These days Harpoon IPA is closer to most APAs on the market. Buy a mix pack and get them both.

Harpoon UFO Pale Ale

Harpoon also puts out UFO Pale Ale under their UFO line. This beer is unfiltered, meaning it still contains yeast and has a hazy appearance. 5.3% and 34 IBU.

Otter Creek makes two. Otter Creek Pale Ale under the normal label. A 4.8% beer that is highly hopped for it’s size at 48 IBUs. Under the Wolaver’s Organic label they add Wolaver’s Pale Ale about 1% higher in ABV but not as hoppy. I prefer the Otter Creek version.

Berkshire Brewing from Mass makes two different APAs. Berkshire Steel Rail is the lighter of the two. Berkshire Traditional is darker and stronger. Available in 22 ounce bombers and in the better liquor stores in 64 ounce growlers.

One of the newest breweries in New England, Cody Brewing Co. from Amesbury Mass, calls their APA Cody’s Pub Ale. 5% and 33 IBUs.

Another newcomer, the draft only Wormtown Brewing from Worcester offers Seven Hills Pale Ale. Lower in alcohol at only 4.5% with 30

Wachusett Country Ale is unique due to the low amount of hops used. It is only 17 IBUs, about half as bitter as the other beers listed.

From Connecticut, Thomas Hooker APA fits right in at 5.2% and 35 IBUs.

Stone Brewing from San Diego, CA makes two. The regular strength Stone Pale Ale 5.0% and 41 IBU. And the lighter Stone Levitation Ale only 4.4% and 45 IBU. Although the bitterness units are close, the Leviation seems much more bitter. This tends to happen when lower ABV beers are made as hoppy as stronger ABV beers.

Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, by some counts there are 1500 or more APAs made in the US.