Thanksgiving isn't just about turkeys and stuffing and cranberry sauce. OK, it's mostly about that. But it's also about giving thanks and spending warm, grateful times with your loved ones.
And there's no better way to get warm and grateful with your loved ones than beer. Here are the eight best beers to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Tank 7 is a highly rated American saison that gathers together the best of farmhouse beer characteristics into one small package: fruity aromas, a hefty body, and a dry almost peppery finish. "It's a really versatile beer," Neil Witte, Boulevard's own Master Cicerone and 'field quality manager' says of this recommendation, "with enough spiciness and bitterness to cut through fat." The Missouri brewery's beers are available now in stores after recently expanding distribution in our state.
For those in love with the yeasty character of wheat beers, Funky Buddha's flagship Floridan wheat delves deep into the realm of banana heavy flavors to bring this cloudy crowd pleaser to the table. Until it hits distribution on December 10th, you'll have to source a growler of this low abv. beer from the brewery itself to accompany Thanksgiving.
Did you hoard a bottle? This high alcohol pumpkin-spiced beer elevates the traditional pumpkin flavored mess into a dessert of its own. Cinnamon, allspice, clove, and nutmeg consort to create an epic after-meal beverage. Though it's released in August, Good Gourd feels most appropriate with a large meal as the temperature begins to drop.
Ian Salzberg, who spearheads the Drink Like A Local campaign, suggests this behemoth of a beer. At 10%, it's a sipper, and will help to fill any yam flavor void that may have somehow been left. Expect a lot of the sweeter yam flavors to be present, and a bit of alcohol bite at the end. Autumn Maple is available in 750ml bottles.
After the first hop harvest of the season, brewers will scramble to put together a beer that utilizes the fresh hop flavors that are present in the crop. Celebration is an American IPA that puts the fresh harvest to good use with plenty of Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops to give it a big pine and bitter citrus aroma and flavor. For hop heads, it's a yearly standard, and gets to the task during Thanksgiving of pairing well with a lot of rich foods.
Local 1, Brooklyn Brewery - Lauded as a Belgian-inspired Strong Golden Ale, Brooklyn Local 1 is an homage to the spirit of Old World Belgian brewers. Under a bed of pilsner malts, Hallertauer and Styrian Golding hops push herbal and grassy flavors through an effervescent body. It's bold complexity allows it to hold up to the strong and varied flavors of Thanksgiving. At 9% abv, it acts more like a wine than a typical beer.
This Kolsch style beer from our friends at the very north of our coverage area in Tequesta is one of the most Floridian of beers around. If your weird uncle can't enjoy this crisp and lager-like beer, then there's no hope for him anywhere. Flavors of lightly toasted white bread mix with aromas of grassy hops all come together for a subtly balanced beer that's perfect for consuming before, during, and after the main meal. Just like many local brews, you'll have to grab a growler to go if you're planning on bringing it to the table.
Category 3 is the foundation that Due South Brewing Company is built upon (don't tell Caramel Cream Ale), with its grassy and earthy herbal aromas, and hint of bitter citrus. This IPA does everything right. In addition to being phenomenal on its own, try it out with anything that's been cooked with herbs. The smooth malt body and the earthy/flowery hop flavors would meld well with turkey and potatoes. Grab some cans and share some local brews this holiday.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers, and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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