Thanksgiving ain’t Passover, but when it comes to meals and celebrations that start early and go late, it certainly gives the spring festival a run for its money. No doubt many of you will be out late the night before, enjoying libations with friends, but that’s no reason not to enjoy some beers throughout the afternoon and evening of the holiday itself, so here are this year’s recommendations. Make sure to drink responsibly, and slowly, as you enjoy the friends, family, football, and foolishness that will no doubt take place this year. Chag sameach.
First Down: Melt Away Session IPA (Newburyport Brewing Company, Newburyport, MA)
You’ll want to ease your way into things. The Lions will be hosting the Eagles in the Mediocrity Bowl, all of the kids will be around and buzzing with excitement with the guests in the house, and all you really want to do is grab something easy and drinkable that’s not going to knock you for a loop. My recommendation, grab a can of Melt Away Session IPA from Newburyport Brewing Company, who you’ve heard about before on this blog thanks to their outstanding Green Head IPA . This session IPA, at a mere 4.6% ABV but bursting with flavor, will begin your four-glass beer tasting journey with a very pleasant, very drinkable experience, before you sit down to eat at halftime or so.
Second Down: Blindfold Black IPA (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA)
When the Lions game ends with what will no doubt be an awful turnover or terrible coaching decision, switch over to the Cowboys pre-game on Fox and go back to the fridge for something a little more bold and flavorful: Blindfold Black IPA from Sierra Nevada. If you haven’t had a black IPA before, you’re missing out. Yes, they’re hoppy, but there’s a mysterious-borderline-exotic blend of hops, malt, and darkness that only comes with this emerging genre of beers. Sierra Nevada’s Blindfold Black is pitch-black, but comes with a nice balance of 6.8% ABV fruity hoppiness, chocolate-coffee suspense, and a stout-like presentation that is both visually and gastronomically rewarding.
Third Down: Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale (Green Flash Brewing Company, San Diego, CA)
With two beers down and two to go it’s time for this one, that’s been described on Beer Advocate as “a luscious beauty… [with] captivating and seductive floral aromas and alluring hop flavors.” (Stop). (Breathe). (Continue). This is a great beer, with a beautiful red hue and a little caramel flavor, and at 8.1% is the strongest of these four recommendations. Enjoy this one as you root, hard, for the demise of the Cowboys and Greg Hardy at the hands of the undefeated Panthers.
Fourth Down: Punkin Ale (Dogfish Head Brewery, Milton, DE)
Pumpkins, as a rule, officially jumped the shark this year, but despite the unnecessary proliferation of pumpkin everything there are still a handful of good pumpkin beers around once you get rid of the bad ones. And there are a lot of bad ones. The pick of the crop this year, though, is Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Brewers. Unlike some of the other beers out there, this one is crisp, not bitter, and doesn’t have an overwhelming odor or nasty aftertaste. While the 7% ABV might get you thinking about IPAs, it goes down smooth and not hoppy, and is more of a brown ale than anything else. Save this one for the night game at Lambeau between the mired-in-mediocrity Bears and the sky-is-falling Packers, who will be desperate to right the ship after their first home loss to the Lions in 24 years.