I have reviewed a pilsner and an IPA as possible Thanksgiving table choices and now it is time to do a dark beer, Pan A Flores from South Norte Brewing and it has a lot. Cajeta (caramel-esque) , cinnamon, Mexican chocolate and coffee.
This is a porter and not a stout so it doesn’t bog you down. Caramel and cinnamon is there with the coffee and Mexican Chocolate making cameos I would expect that different people would get stronger hits from different flavors depending on what people are more sensitive to. This may not play well with starters or cranberry but I think it would add pizazz to the turkey and stuffing for sure.
This month really runs the gamut. Of styles, ABV’s and ingredients. Give thanks for the wonderful diverse world of craft beer!
Stone BrewingLiberty Station Centennial Pilsner – 4.7% – “American pilsner dry hopped with Cryo Centennial hops to celebrate 100 years of the naval base at Liberty Station. Notes of white grape, pear and mild citrus.”
Cellador AlesSubtle Peaks: in Spring Bright Nectarine – 5.9% – “A Dry-Hopped Masumoto Nectarine beer will be the first release from fruit season”
Samuel AdamsUtopias 2023 – 28% – “Now released every two years, Utopias is a blend of multiple batches of the brewery’s earlier Extreme Beers which are further aged in multiple types of barrels. Utopias has always been aged in charred whiskey casks, and this year the Sam Adams brewers expanded the kinds of barrels for more complex flavors.”
“In addition to American bourbon barrels, we use imported Scotch and peated whisky barrels. The peated Scotch barrels add a wisp of smoke to the flavor, while Ruby Port and Carcavelos casks from Portugal and Cognac barrels from France bring dark fruit notes. New to Utopias 2023 are the barrels from Pineau des Charentes – a rare, fortified French aperitif wine from western France. While Utopias 2023 has European roots, it’s a distinctively American innovation.”
One, it is an oft repeated trope that Thanksgiving brings out the family blowhards who claim to not know that what they just said was beyond the pale (to put it lightly). To the point where pretty much everyone wishes the meal could be enjoyed in quiet.
Second is that like the blowhard, you can’t ignore IPA because it is everywhere for both good and bad. So we have to see if there is a way to wedge a good bitter hop charge with the turkey and stuffing.
That leads us to The Art of Quiet from noted SLO brewer Liquid Gravity.
Described on their website as, “Hopped with massive doses of Somcoe and Citra this clear hop nectar explodes with papaya, citrus and pine needles. A moderate bitterness helps keep this beer highly drinkable and each sip finishes dry, crisp and refreshing.”
Pours a bubbly light yellow. Could fool a person into thinking it’s a pilsner. And the aroma doesn’t give away the game too much either. First sip does reveal a goodly sized amount of bitterness but it has a secondary fruit juice flavor. Grapefruit and papaya for my tastebuds. Damn tasty West Coaster this.
I think this could work under the right circumstances. Turkey will not be a problem if it is the mainstay simple prep. If the stuffing isn’t spiced or the potatoes are not super buttered, this beer would work. I do think it would be a discordant note for other side hustles on the table though.
This month the reviews will be a bit expanded from the brief format I normally employ, by adding a simple “Would this work for Thanksgiving?” to it. Thanksgiving staples are generally prepared in a way that is, out with it, bland. Turkey, potatoes and rolls all need some dressing up as it were. So I want to choose beers that will add a note while also not adding to the bloat of eating too much. For further beverage ideas check out Lew Bryson’s Seen Through a Glass Thanksgiving episode.
The first up is Bamboo Pilsner by Oakland’s Dokkaebier.
I chose this because you want light against the heavy thud of spuds and tryptophan. Plus, hoping that the bamboo tea brings a contrasting note.
Pours a dark yellow for a pilsner. Aroma is very much tea with lemon citrus. First sip is really strong with tea. Really herbal. A bit too slick on the tongue for me. Could use a bit more poppy carbonation to it. The tea flavor is not in your English Breakfast arena. This is very much Asian. Woody and earthy with a bit of apple and pear to it.
It is too bold a flavor and not bubbly enough to cut against the grain. Interesting notes to spare but probably not with Thanksgiving foods.
Three beers that will have you traveling all over SoCal. But each of these three beers would work well with your Holiday meal choices.
Malibu Brewing CompanyRailway Rye Pale Ale – 5.6% – “This gorgeous ale boasts rye-spiced richness and balanced bitterness, the perfect transition from Summer to Fall.”
Trademark BrewingGet Toasty Hot Chocolate Porter – 5.8% – “Get warm and toasty with this Hot Chocolate Porter made with Letterpress Chocolate cacao nibs. A roast-toasty body and silky smooth finish will carry you away.”
Radiant Beer Co.Home With You Hazy IPA – 6.8% – “This fresh & fruity hazy will bring cheer to any table. Featuring a lush combination of Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe, Amarillo & Cashmere hops, this juice bomb hugs you with notes of mango, tangerine, peach and a hint of strawberry.”
Patience. We are close to a vaccine. So please do not spread the virus at literally the second to last holiday of the year just to eat turkey next to a cousin who you only see once a year. Make this year a Zoom-sgiving. Stay safe and enjoy your beer in your holiday bubble so next year can be a return to normal.
You, as the beer fan, have been asked over holidays past to bring beer to the celebration. This year, well unless you all arrive in individual Flaming Lips style bubbles, will be spent much differently.
For some, that is s good thing thing. Missing out on angry grandma and grandpa or whichever relative is they shit stirrer could be a welcome relief. To others, this will be another missed chance to get together in a year of misses.
You can still be the beer person though. Even if your family lives far away, almost every town has a grocery delivery or an alcohol delivery, or you can even bend the shipping rules and send local beers (well packed and non-sloshy sounding) to the family gathering.
Add in tasting notes that you can send via email or by Zoom and the turkey can be improved, even from a distance.
With creativity, we all can celebrate together while apart.