Last Thanksgiving, Brendon O’Brien, (DeCicco & Sons ‘Merchant of Joy’ / Director of Beer) and I sat down to discuss one of the most extravagant and expensive craft beers (from the USA and Europe) that one could possibly purchase to accompany one’s Thanksgiving Meal and ended up with at least a couple of beers in our selection that exceeded the cost of a bottle of half decent Champagne!!
So this year, I thought we should see if we could come up with a great selection of craft beers for Thanksgiving that would suit everybody’s budget and perfectly pair with the classic flavors of this most sumptuous of meals. We also felt it was high time we showcased the local beer ‘harvest’ from what we think are among the best brewers located within an hour or so of us, here in the Lower Hudson Valley, in the great State of New York
After all, Beer is a social drink which one usually buys for a group. We love to support our local producers and it’s great to have reasonably priced people friendly beer for entertaining, especially with all the see sawing Dow Jones and Nasdaq this Fall!
Another first for this review (which is also very much a sign of the times), is that every Beer we chose is available in the now best selling non-draft craft brew industry format of 16 oz cans. According to Brendon, cans are simply better for storing the beer, as the light that filtered into even the darker bottles had an impact on the drink within
Enough with the preamble, here is our selection for this Thanksgiving:
Threes Brewing – ‘Vliet’ (pronounced ‘vleet’) – Pilsner Vol. 5.1% from Brooklyn, NY – $ 13.99 per 4 pack
Threes Brewing is a New York brewery that very much marches to beat of it’s own drum. Their specialty is making classic representations of historic beer styles but putting their own twist on things. According to Brendon, Threes Brewing’s beers tend to be well balanced and well executed. You can taste all the ingredients they use which work harmoniously as if in concert together
Vliet is their take on the currently on trend classic Pilsner. It is true to the style clean, crisp and refreshing. Threes Brewing call it ‘Verdant’, as Vliet certainly has a green and grassy freshness to it’s taste
It has incredible pairing potential and will work with everything you might eat during your Holiday Meal but we reckon that it is best served as a pleasant welcome drink and easy slide into the gastronomic feat that is Thanksgiving for its participants
As Brendon puts it, this is a beer that is so easy on the taste buds that even your old fashioned Uncle who has never tried a Craft Beer and prefers his ‘suds’ would love it
Singlecut Beersmiths – ‘Kim’ – Sour Lager Vol. 4.2% from Astoria, Queens NY – $16.99 Price per 4 pack
Singlecut is one of DeCiccos’ best sellers with a great reputation as a brewery
This beer, is their delicious Sour Lager with an infusion of hibiscus and blackcurrant. It is tart and refreshing to taste, floral on both nose and tongue with a ruddy pink color in the glass
Brendon thinks it is a great compliment to the Thanksgiving Meal with it’s blackcurrant sharpness and a generous helping of acidity in the Sour, which compliments perfectly with the fat in the food
On top of this, it will also appeal to the wine drinkers among one’s Thanksgiving guests, as the fruit and acidity in this delicious brew almost mimics a lively Sauvignon Blanc or dry Rose in palate, reminding us of the past Summer whose harvest, Thanksgiving celebrates
This beer is a perfect match for Cranberry Sauce and in fact, if you like, we reckon it would reduce well if you want to add it into the ingredients, when you make Cranberry sauce
You could serve Kim both to accompany your starters , or along with the Big Bird itself. Your call….
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co & Barrier Brewing Co (collaboration) – Communal Hoppiness IPA – Vol. 7.5% from Elmsford, NY and Oceanside, Long Island, NY respectively – $17.99 per 4 pack
The most expensive of this year’s selection but worth every penny (we promise)!
One cannot write about American Craft Beer without including an IPA. That’s the rule (says Brendon) and Captain Lawrence for me is as local as a Brewer can be, as they are just a 10 minute drive from my home – so, what’s not to like?
This collaborative brew is labelled ‘NEIPA’ meaning Northeast IPA and by nature is a hazy hop filled form of the style
What makes it so interesting to the palate is that Communal Hoppiness has been brewed with ‘Lupulin Powder’, which is essentially the most concentrated element from the Hops. It is the orange gold ‘pollen’ of the hop, which one finds, when one cracks open the hop. Adding Lupulin intensifies the hop aroma and taste several times
On drinking, one gets a juicy and full flavored hit packed through with citrus flavor with ripe orange through passion fruit and mango elements. It’s what we call ‘the tropical one’ full of summer memories
It is a great Beer which, although Brendon says he would not normally have chosen for the Thanksgiving Meal, it is so delightful, it will work with everything on your plate. In particular, those of our readers, like Brendon and I who like to add a spicy element to their traditional meal, such as a stuffing with Habanero, or even Ghost peppers, will appreciate the way this brew will work with the hotter warming taste notes these chilies will bring to the party
Newburgh Brewing Co – Brown Ale – Vol. 4.2% from Newburgh NY – $9.99 per 4 pack
Every year Brendon says he gets really excited about the Fall, as you can still get outside to enjoy in the great New York countryside and forests to enjoy the Autumnal Colors and even though it’s cooler, it’s not too cold to do so
In his view, Brown Ale is a perfect complement to the seasonal weather, darker, like the mornings and early nights, but warmer than the winter coming
Newburgh’s straightforwardly named Brown Ale is a Southern English style of Brown Ale, malty and dark, almost black in appearance. It smells like the Fall, with an aroma of leaves with the wind blown dryness so redolent of this time of year. On tasting the ale, one detects nutty and earthy notes and a toffee like flavor
This brew is perfect with turkey and brown gravy, a marriage made in food heaven which also syncs admirably with classic Thanksgiving sides like candied yams and sweet potato pie
Indeed, if there was only one budget beer Brendon could choose for his Thanksgiving Meal this would be the one. Of course you might beg to differ?
Sloop Brewing Company – Chocolate Milk Baked – Vol. 6.5% from Hopewell Junction (near Poughkeepsie) – $14.99 per 4 pack
Sloop Brewing have really built a strong reputation for IPAs but they also make some fabulous Sours and Stouts
This year, we have chosen one of their ‘baked goods’ range, as the beer that would best work as an accompaniment to the end of the Thanksgiving Meal, the desert, a playful and fun end to the feast
Brewed with malted oats to add creaminess and lactose milk sugar to add a rounded sweetness, then finished by resting on cocoa nibs give this beer a fantastic chocolaty edge. It is a delight
It truly lives up to its name as it is silky smooth, creamy and full of scrumptious chocolate taste, just like the ubiquitous fudge brownie. On pouring its color and head reminds one of a frothy hot cup of cocoa
According to Brendon, the origin of the baked series from Sloop was to try and represent the qualities we know and love in baked goods into a beer and, boy, with Chocolate Milk Bake, they sure have succeeded!
This beer works perfectly with cake, ice cream or pecan pie and of course a gooey chocolate pudding…. BUT hey, if you don’t have the space for why not skip dessert and just have a drink Chocolate Milk Baked instead.
A liquid dessert for Thanksgiving in a 16 oz can!
These are beers Brendon and I genuinely love and would really want to bring to the party. We hope you find something in our selection which will please everyone one of your guests at the Thanksgiving Meal
Why don’t you let us know which of these beers you would like best for your Thanksgiving by taking part in our Poll below?
Web-links to the Brewers
Very well written, you make a case for each beer, so I want to try them all….when referring to Brendon I prefer the term “O’Brien Says”…he certainly is THE most educated person on beer that I know!
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Mr O’Brien is indeed a true sommelier of the beer world. His background in the wine industry has most certainly gifted him with a palate of rare distinction and I enjoy interviewing him whenever the opportunity arises. I have learned a huge amount about American craft brewing from him. You might want to check out the post I wrote following our first meeting back in 2015, when we explored the history of the American craft brewing industry, which was a tour de force in his part I thought https://taste2taste.com/2015/11/24/our-top-5-beers-for-your-thanksgiving-feast/ Happy Thanksgiving and thanks again for the kind words!