Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season that is all about sharing, giving, loving, acceptance, and the good old Golden Rule. I would like to start my Thanksgiving Beer Blog with a few special shout outs, to those who have gone out of their way and done everything they can to make sure that I never miss a turkey.
As someone who went to college 12 hours away from his home base, and didn’t have a ton of extra cash to cover travel expenses, I was usually in a tough spot for Thanksgiving while I was in school. Luckily, thankfully, a few incredible groups of people went above and beyond and made me feel at home.
First of all, HUGE shout out to the entire Corcoran family. John, Brady, Bailey, Peggy, and of course my good buddy Joey. You guys are the real deal. You invited me to your home for my first Thanksgiving away from my family, and made me feel like I was part of yours. I suppose I should also include the Vermetten family in this shout out, but you, Corcorans, will always have a place in my heart.
Secondly, thank you to the Fossum family, not only for including me in your Thanksgiving celebrations, but also great Easter gatherings. I know that I’m not the only one that feels this way, so from all of us out-of-staters that attended any of your events, thank you.
Last but not least, thank you to the Lowe family for putting up with me even though my Vikings smacked down your Lions.
In case anyone is still reading this and hasn’t skipped ahead to the beers, well, thank you too.
Now onto the brews! -Will
Comstock, MI | Best Brown Ale | American Brown Ale
Yeah, Bell’s again. I’ll stop writing about them when they start making bad beer, or if they have a racism scandal, like a different Michigan brewery who will not be featured in this blog again. But until then, you’re gonna be reading about one of my favorite breweries, who happens to brew what they call “Best Brown Ale.” I’m not sure if it’s the best, but it’s damn close.
This smooth, toasty brown ale is a staple of Bells’ Fall and Winter lineup. The malts give off hints of caramel and cocoa, and has the depth needed to stand up to the cooler weather. American hops help balance the beer and lighten up the mouthfeel, making this the perfect pairing with any deep, hearty meal – maybe a turkey and some fixings?
6 pk btls | 4 pk cans | 5.8% ABV | No IBU
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City, MO | Restless Nights | Coffee Porter
I know that I’ve talked about Boulevard before, but as you well know, I’m never afraid to talk about the same brewery twice (or thrice, or 1,000 times). So in case you forgot, or in case you were recently turned onto my blog, here’s a quick refresher: Boulevard is dope. They make awesome, huge, mega complex beers, the most renowned of which are their barrel aged stouts and dark Belgians.
Restless Nights is a collaboration with Modern Times Beer + Coffee, who, yes, is also dope. The beer is a blend of a coffee porter and a bourbon barrel aged porter, both of which are brewed with a plethora of varieties of malted barley, wheat, and oats. After blending, the beer rests atop bourbon barrel aged coffee beans for two days, which facilitates the expressions of ripe fruit, slight citrus, and rich vanilla.
Not only would this be a great beer to start your Thanksgiving with, but it would also be a great substitute for an afternoon coffee, or could certainly supplement your post-dinner coffee that’ll help you get through the Turkey Day Football games.
4 pk cans | 7.5% ABV | 30 IBU
Lupulin Brewing Co.
Big Lake, MN | Hero Hazy IPA | New England IPA
Ya gotta love a good beer that was brewed for a good cause. Hero Hazy was brewed for the first time last year in Mankato, and this year, it was brewed up in Big Lake at the wonderful Lupulin brewery. I don’t want to do this collaborative beer any injustice, so instead of giving my own rundown, I’m gonna let Mankato take this one: “Hero Hazy IPA is all about friendship, awareness, and never surrendering to the fight against cancer. So, become aware, get tested, and live longer. The inspiration behind this beer is our late Hero Jonathan Zierdt, close friend to Mankato Brewery founder and the brother to the Lupulin Brewing co-fouder who passed away in March. A portion of the proceeds and donations will go to the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund, a donor advised fund of the Mankato Area Foundation.”
So clearly, it’s a good cause that you’re choosing to support, and there’s no way around the fact that the juice in the can is fantastic. There have been many beers that have brewed for many great causes, but this is one of the best of those beers, without a doubt.
Personally, I’m looking forward to pouring this baby into a nice Spiegelau glass to experience the full aromatic adventure.
4 pk cans | 8.18% ABV | 66 IBU
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico, CA | Celebration (2019) | American IPA
Same as Bell’s: Yeah, Sierra Nevada again. It’s just hard to ignore such a flagship brewery for so many people, including myself. Celebration is one of the fresh hop beers that comes from good old Sierra Nevada, but presents a much stronger malt backbone and hop bite than typical IPAs. The robust and rich malts provide huge flavors of toffee and caramel, while the dry-hopping offsets the malt with slight citrus and natural hop bitterness.
Brewed especially for the holidays, this beer is perfect for a festive gathering or for just chilling and watching the Detroit Lions (and hopefully the damn Cowboys) get their teeth bashed in, a simple Thanksgiving tradition.
12 pk btls | 6.8% ABV | 65 IBU
The Brewing Projekt
Eau Claire, WI | What the French?! | Imperial Milk Stout
In case you aren’t a coffee person and would rather wake up to a nice, hearty breakfast to get your juices flowing and prepped for dinner, The Brewing Projekt brewed up a great breakfast beer. What the French?! is an imperial stout that is brewed with lactose, cinnamon, and maple syrup, and tastes like French toast in a can. It is a tad on the thin side for how big and sticky of a beer it is, which would absolutely make it easier to down a can without feeling too guilty.
4 pk cans | ≈ 9% ABV | No IBU
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton, DE | Suddenly Comfy | Cream Ale
If you’re looking for a classic dessert that was undoubtedly served at the first Thanksgiving Dinner between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, all you need is a bottle opener. Suddenly Comfy is an imperial cream ale that is brewed with Saigon cinnamon, Madagascar vanilla beans, and fresh apple cider.
This beer isn’t for everybody, but any lover of apple pie dang well better give this one a shot.
4 pk btls | 8% ABV | 20 IBU
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