Having just awoken from round 1 of turkey induced naptime, I felt it was essential to put pen to paper (or in this case finger to keyboard) and prepare to transcribe the Thanksgiving Day beer scene. I spent most of the Night before Turkey day drinking liquor, so I felt I would concentrate on brew with the bird today.
With so many sides and so many different food items throughout the meal it’s hard to pair every side with a different beer. I didn’t do every course but hopefully this gives you some ideas for your next big family meal.
Oktoberfest from LiftBridge Brewing Company out of Stillwater, MN.
Served: Served from a growler, at refrigerator temperature into a pint glass.
Appearance: Light, clear orange with a minimal head.
Smell: Caramel and biscuit malt highlights this brew. It also features a toasty breadiness with a bit of grass.
Taste: Pretty much your standard Oktoberfest beer, this one has a nice malt backbone that is the primary flavor shining through. It is so biscuit forward in flavor that it reminds me a bit of Fat Tire.
Mouth feel: Fair amount of carbonation, but this beer has a thin enough body that it doesn’t swell on your pallet. It also leaves zero after taste.
Overall: Good anything goes brew, perhaps the perfect pair for some pre-meal snacks. Salty cheeses, rye crackers, game meats. It is like a meat and cheese tray, meet and greet. This beer is warming and delicious and perfect for keeping you amused during the small talk before the big chow down.
Stache in the Woods brewed by Finch’s Beer Company out of Chicago, IL.
Served: Served from the bomber bottle, at a little warmer than refrigerator temperature into a goblet.
Appearance: Charcoal black with a thin red head that dissipated immediately.
Smell: Slightly musty with a hint of oak and a thin presence of the vanilla.
Taste: The whiskey barrel flavor is definitely more present in the taste than in the aroma, but it is not a whiskey bomb by any means. I find it more subdued highlighting the chocolate and vanilla more than the booze.
Mouth feel: Quite light for a beer this color. There was still a decent sticky toffee presence on the rear and roof of my mouth.
Overall: I’ve heard that others had received bottles of this that had been infected so I was a little leery. Fortunately, my bottle was fine. Based on other reviews I have seen it appears that some of this may have been corrupted by lacto-bacteria leading to a not-so-pleasant tartness. I think there may have been a hint of tartness from what I’m guessing is the vanilla bean (perhaps it was too green). That said there wasn’t enough to keep me from enjoying the entire bottle. The whiskey was there but not quite as pronounced and not as enjoyable as in their Pig in the Woods which was released right around the same time.
I picked this one out hoping for a wee bit more whiskey backbone to pair with the turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Unfortunately, it was weaker than I predicted. In the end it actually paired better with the sweet potato casserole as the vanilla felt in alignment with the marshmallows and brown sugar.
Imperial Pumpkin from Lakefront Brewing Company out of Milwaukee, WI.
Served: Served from a 12 oz bottle at refrigerator temperature into a pint glass.
Appearance: Clear orange with no head.
Smell: Smells extremely boozy. The pumpkin pie spice is present but it is overwhelmed by the aroma of sugar cane. This sweet aroma reminds me slightly of banana Laffy Taffy.
Taste: OMG that is sweet almost bubble-gum Belgian-y. I knew it was 9.5% but part of me just didn’t believe that it would be a booze bomb. There is a ton of vanilla flavor and the brandy is clearly present. I almost wish it wasn’t so sugary cause then I would be able to taste more of the real pumpkin flavor and less of the candy pumpkin artificial flavor.
Mouth feel: Thick and viscous, the sweetness lingers long past drinking.
Overall: Wow, I think this is my first brandy barrel-aged pumpkin beer. It won’t be my last either. Typically I get bothered by beers entering the barley wine level of sweetness, but this one worked. Obviously this was chosen to pair with pumpkin pie for desert but the beer may almost be too sweet. I’d recommend throwing some salty cheese in as an intermezzo before the pie is served.