Tag Archives: brewery

There must be something in the water!

31 Oct

If you were one of the lucky few, you may have gotten an invite to participate in Bitter and Esters’s Mystery Brew event held this past Tuesday at their Brooklyn-based homebrew supply store. (Want a visual of the store? Check out our instructional video that we shot for them back in March here.)

A mystery brew event? Sounds about right for this time of year with the changing colors, the cooler temperatures, and Halloween just around the corner. Why not? I love mysteries. The game was simple: name the style and guess the mystery ingredient.  Upon arriving at the shop, we were greeted with a 2 oz.  pour of what appeared to be some sort of fall or autumn ale. Then we were told to guess what it was. My guess was way off: from the lingering crispness I assumed it was a lager (though not very likely considering the timeframe and the fact that it was done with first time brewers). The lack of Pacific Northwest hops led me to believe it was something like a maibock. Wrong. After a few more samples (to validate my choice, of course) it was revealed to us that the beer was in fact, an Irish Red ale. The mystery ingredient? …It was something in the water. Okay, okay, I’ll tell you. The mystery ingredient was… Perrier Mineral Water. 

Out of twelve well trained palettes, not a single person guessed correctly? Why not? Because the mineral content of the water affected the taste of the beer. Perrier is carbonated water from France. Because of the makeup of the soil, the atmospheric gas CO2, and the topography of the landscape, the water has calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulphate, fluoride, and nitrate in it.

These minerals, in turn, affect the chemistry of the beer. The water becomes more alkaline (or hard) which gives alpha-acid rich hops an unpleasant astringency unless dark malts (which are acidic themselves) are also used.  The taste is most favorable too, when hop levels are kept down. This is how styles such as the Irish Stout and Munich’s Dunkel Lager came about in the first place. 

Beer styles all around the world developed because of the water that was readily available. For example, the Czech Pilsner came about because the water in the town of Plzen is very soft. English brewers found that the calcium sulphate in their well water was perfect for brewing a crisp, dry, hoppy beer called Pale Ale.  It wasn’t until around 1900 that brewers learned to alter the chemistry of the water. Classic beer styles, as a result, developed for this reason. 

(reference: Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher a.k.a. part of the New Testament)

The Great Beer Hunter himself, Michael Jackson also dedicates nearly an entire book to water in “Whiskey,” specifically talking about how Scotland’s landscape and mountains effect the minerality  of the water, which in turn effects the chemistry of the mash, which in turn effects the taste.  And  Mike Miyamoto (formerly of Hakashu in Japan Bowmore in Islay) has said that their team experimented with water and when Scottish water was used to produce Japanese whiskey, the result tasted like Scotch. 

So now back to our little experiment. The Irish Red Ale that we had certainly tasted differently than an Irish Red Ale brewed here in New York. How does it compare to an Irish Red Ale brewed in Killnenny (the town it originated in)? Well I was unable to get the mineral content of the water there but I’m going out on a limb here and saying that the original style was brewed with softer water-hence the fooling of the BJCP palettes.

So now all this talk about water is making me thirsty for a beer. I think I’ll have an Irish Red-hold the minerals.

Being Brewer for a Day at Empire Brewpub in Syracuse!

19 Apr

 

Last month (yes it’s been awhile since I’ve updated my blog!) I wrote about Empire Brewery’s “12 Pack Challenge,” that my bf and I completed during New York City Craft Beer Week back at the end of February.   So it turns out, we won! (Ok so he technically won but I’m sharing the credit since it was definitely a joint effort!).

Next thing I know, we’re being whisked off to Syracuse (in an Amtrak train) and put up in a sweet hotel so that we can spend the day brewing with Empire at their brewpub located in Armory Square, a trendy neighborhood in downtown Syracuse. 

Being at the brewpub is like hanging out with your family: the cooks, servers, and bartenders, and the staff in general are all just a great group of people who seem to really enjoy their work.  The pub serves up great grub as well as their signature beers and is definitely worth a visit (or 2) if you happen to be in the area. 

While Empire brews their beer both on premise at the brewpub (where we brewed) and on contract at Greenpoint Beer Works in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (a brewery where Kelso and the Heartland chain also brew their beer), they are about to break ground for their own farm-house brewery in Cazenovia, New York, a town about 30 minutes southeast of the city of Syracuse.

David Katleski, owner of Empire Brewing Co., and president of the New York State Brewers Association, has been super-busy with this project but was still able to spend some time with us during our upstate visit.

 He was most recently awarded the F.X. Matt “Defender of the Industry,” award at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference and it is a well-deserved title for this pioneer who has had a heavy hand in aiding with the passing of some new brewer-friendly laws that were recently approved in New York state.  Plus, he’s just a really nice guy who acted as a gracious host during our brief visit up there last week.  I can’t wait to follow the progress of this new brewery, sure to be a state-of-art facility with an emphasis on local ingredients and resources. 

So what was it like to brew at Syracuse’s Empire Brewpub?  Amazing, of course.  After a hearty Monday dinner at Dinosaur Barbeque (you can not visit Syracuse without eating here—it’s a definite must!) and a few beers afterward at the brewpub, Brewmaster Tim Butler reminded us to get a good night’s rest (aka don’t be too hung-over tomorrow) since we would meet him bright and early the next morning to start the brewing process.

Thank goodness for the hearty breakfast served up at our hotel, The Jefferson Clinton, conveniently located a stone’s throw away from the Empire Brewpub.

We entered the brewery (a pretty small space) and were greeted by Tim as he searched for the recipe we’d be making that day.  He had a special surprise in store for us and while some home-brewers and brewmasters may scoff at the idea of brewing a simple pale ale, I believe it’s a benchmark brew that every great brewer should master.  Empire does not currently have a Pale Ale on tap and brews the style seasonally (at harvest time using fresh hops from local Central New York farmers).

Nat, the assistant brewer, showed us to their storage room (where they keep their grain), requiring a walk through the kitchen.  We helped him left 10 bags of malt, each weighing in at 55 lbs. (those bags were heavy!) and wheeled them back to the brewing room. 

The brewing room is located behind the bar and adjacent to the dining room, so if you are having lunch or an afternoon beer at the pub, you can watch the brewers at work. 

We (kind of) helped Nat empty the grain bags into the mill where a long black pipe carried the grains into the mash tun.  Tim stood above the tun making sure the mash temperature was correct and stirring in the grains.  While we were there to brew, I have never worked on commercial equipment before (just a stove in my kitchen) so Nat and Tim pulled the levers and set the temps while explaining the process to us.

Next we helped empty one of the fermenters, which was full of their delicious coffee Scotch Ale, Local Grind, and was probably the last of the batch for this year, since the beer is more of a winter seasonal.  The fermenter yields about 12 barrels which are then stored into the cooler or driven down to NYC.  The brewpub serves 10-12 of their house-made beers at any given time, but they only brew about twice a week on a regular basis. 

Throughout the hours-long brewing process we watched Nat work his butt off, making sure everything stays clean and sanitized at each step along the way.  The brewing room felt like a sauna, and we were told it becomes unbearably hot in the summer time. 

Brewing beer is tedious and physically challenging as I discovered that day, and although the process is essentially the same as it is home-brewing in our kitchen, it is of course on a much larger scale.  Time for a beer break (because we were there to drink as well as brew): I went for their seasonal maibock, Empire Strikes Bock, which seemed an appropriate beer to drink during a long day of brewing. 

After mashing, the wort is piped into the brew kettle where it has to reach a boiling point.  This is the fun part: adding the hops!  We added a series of hops every 15 minutes or so, finishing off with Chinook (for aroma) and after 60 minutes, the brew is cooled before being blasted off into the fermenter where the hungry yeasties lie dormant, waiting for their meal. 

Overall, it was a simple process, and we did a lot more watching than brewing but we enjoyed the experience fully.  Nat talked us through the entire process, letting us know exactly what he was doing with every pull of the lever and every hose that he hooked up. 

In a few weeks, we hope to drink our beer with the Empire crew on their next visit down to New York City! 

After lunch and brewing, we went across the street to the Blue Tusk, which seems to be the spot the Empire crew hangs out at while not working at the pub and it’s easy to see why!  The “Tusk,” as it is fondly referred to by the natives, has an amazing tap selection that ranges from local to rare to imports.  Certainly a well-curated collection, as the owner, Mike, truly knows his beer. 

Knowledgeable Brewmaster, Tim Butler, gave us a mini-tour of the surrounding area, describing a scene on the Armory’s grassy lawn where he revived a man during his days former to being a brewer. A native of Syracuse, Tim told us about the history and the architecture in the neighborhood and made a great tour guide.

After a nap (completely necessary after a day of brewing and imbibing some brews), we were treated to a lovely dinner at the brewpub and plenty of Empire schwag to take home with us, including a couple of growlers filled with their well-balanced and easily quaffable IPA and one of my personal favorites, Deep Purple.

I can’t wait until their new brewery is up and running, and the building of it is a process I will be following closely.  Thanks to Tim, Dave, Nat and all the crew at Empire for showing us a good time and letting us brew at their facility!  I can’t wait to try our beer…
                 

 

Not sure what to do this year for V-day? How about incorporate BEER into the plan!?

7 Feb

I don’t know about you but there’s something about a heart-shaped Russell Stover’s box of chocolates that makes me cringe a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “Valentine-hater,” though I’ve had my share of single girl V-days where I had to drown my sorrows in a craft brew…or two.  No, it’s just that in particular, RS chocolate isn’t very GOOD (sorry Grandma—I know you love that stuff!).  The strawberry nougats and marshmallow crèmes…eh not really my thing.  But chocolate in my beer?  Well, I can get down with that. 

            So maybe for Valentine’s Day this year try something a little different.  We have some ideas for those of you with someone special in their life and for those of you who are hoping to find someone special..at least for the night.  For the beer lov-ahs: 

 

❤ On Tuesday, February 12th, Erica and Stephen of “The Brooklyn Brewshop,” aka purveyors of those great little self-contained 1 gallon beer-making kits you see at “Smorgasburg” and various holiday markets, are hosting a Valentine’s Beer Making Class in Dumbo.  What a fun activity for you and your loved one to take part in.  The $100 ticket includes a class for two and one “Everyday IPA,” beer-making kit.  Don’t fret singles—for $70 you can get the same deal and also possibly meet the man/woman of your dreams.  Who said beer-making isn’t sexy?  Not us.  Check out http://brooklynbrewshop.com/beer-making-class for tix before they sell out!

 

❤ Hop Plants vs. Flowers.  Hmmm, this may be a hard sell, but consider this: Flowers die.  Sorry girls (and guys), but how about something that flowers and has a more practical purpose?!  AKA get your loved one a rhizome, which will sprout roots once planted and then soon take off into a wonderful, winding hop plant.

 So, this may be hard to get away with in a NYC apartment but maybe you have access to a backyard or stoop.  Sure, right now is not the time to plant but spring is coming soon.  This is seriously a gift that will keep on giving, and having access to their own homegrown hops is a dream of any homebrewer. 

If this is impossible due to your living space (or commitment issues) how about buying some dried hop flowers from your local homebrew shop and writing “I Love You,” or framing a bottle of his/her favorite IPA with a heart-shaped hop wreath?  It may be crazy, but serious craft beer drinkers really love their hops!  Nothing says “I Love You,” like a handful of Citra’s.    

 

❤ Ok, so she loves chocolate—who doesn’t?!  But on Valentine’s Day, not any old heart-shaped box will do.  How about chocolate that’s been lucky enough to be have been selected to be brewed in a beer?  The best chocolate beers I’ve tasted are usually brewed from a combination of chocolate malts (which impart a roasted, bitter dark chocolate flavor and are not only limited to chocolate stouts) and actual cocoa nibs. 

A no brainer (the name alone screams “Valentine’s Day”) is Ommegang’s Seduction.  Brewed with five different dark barley malts and most importantly, authentic Belgian chocolate (duh!) it is then blended with Liefmans Cuvee Brut, to give it a “chocolate-covered cherry,” kind of taste.  So much better than a box of chocolates, no? 

There’s also Southern Tier’s Chokolat, which I’ve recommended in the past as a great dessert beer, but if you really like your beer to taste like chocolate, you can’t get much better than this.  Warning: It is 11% ABV and if you are actually planning more than just drinking beer on this V-Day (wink wink), then make sure you limit your intake.  

Other great chocolate beers I would recommend are Harpoon’s Chocolate Stout and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.  There are lots of other great chocolate beers out there, but these four are readily available in NYC and the immediate outside areas and are also from four breweries I happen to be a big fan of.  Love your local brewery and love their local beer.  What are some of your favorite chocolate or dessert beers?  Share them with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

 

❤ If the “Dinner & Drinks” thing is more your style, why not visit one of your favorite “Beer Restaurants”?  I would recommend Gastropub 508 or Jimmy’s No. 43, as both will have specialty beers and food as well as entertainment next Thursday night.  I even heard a rumor that 508’s newest brewmaster, Chris Cuzme, may do a little V-Day serenading with his saxophone.  No promises, but who wouldn’t want a little table-side jazz music to pair with your meal and house-brewed beer?  Reservations are recommended for both spots, as they can certainly get crowded and no one wants to fight for a table on V-Day. 

❤ Ok, so you’re Single—no biggie—maybe you just went through a rough break-up or have been holding out for that special someone.  Any good beer bar in NYC may become a popular destination for the unattached next Thursday night, but I think that if you like pairing good whiskey with your beer, you should probably check out Idle Hands.  Why?  Because they’re breaking out the Pappy Van Winkle most likely set to an eclectic heavy rock soundtrack and paired with some great draft beers. 

  

Those are just a few suggestions—we’ll share some more in the coming week. 

 

 

            

I don’t know about you but there’s something about a heart-shaped Russell Stover’s box of chocolates that makes me cringe a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “Valentine-hater,” though I’ve had my share of single girl V-days where I had to drown my sorrows in a craft brew…or two.  No, it’s just that in particular, RS chocolate isn’t very GOOD (sorry Grandma—I know you love that stuff!).  The strawberry nougats and marshmallow crèmes…eh not really my thing.  But chocolate in my beer?  Well, I can get down with that. 

            So maybe for Valentine’s Day this year try something a little different.  We have some ideas for those of you with someone special in their life and for those of you who are hoping to find someone special..at least for the night.  For the beer lov-ahs: 

 

❤ On Tuesday, February 12th, Erica and Stephen of “The Brooklyn Brewshop,” aka purveyors of those great little self-contained 1 gallon beer-making kits you see at “Smorgasburg” and various holiday markets, are hosting a Valentine’s Beer Making Class in Dumbo.  What a fun activity for you and your loved one to take part in.  The $100 ticket includes a class for two and one “Everyday IPA,” beer-making kit.  Don’t fret singles—for $70 you can get the same deal and also possibly meet the man/woman of your dreams.  Who said beer-making isn’t sexy?  Not us.  Check out http://brooklynbrewshop.com/beer-making-class for tix before they sell out!

 

❤ Hop Plants vs. Flowers.  Hmmm, this may be a hard sell, but consider this: Flowers die.  Sorry girls (and guys), but how about something that flowers and has a more practical purpose?!  AKA get your loved one a rhizome, which will sprout roots once planted and then soon take off into a wonderful, winding hop plant.

 So, this may be hard to get away with in a NYC apartment but maybe you have access to a backyard or stoop.  Sure, right now is not the time to plant but spring is coming soon.  This is seriously a gift that will keep on giving, and having access to their own homegrown hops is a dream of any homebrewer. 

If this is impossible due to your living space (or commitment issues) how about buying some dried hop flowers from your local homebrew shop and writing “I Love You,” or framing a bottle of his/her favorite IPA with a heart-shaped hop wreath?  It may be crazy, but serious craft beer drinkers really love their hops!  Nothing says “I Love You,” like a handful of Citra’s.    

 

❤ Ok, so she loves chocolate—who doesn’t?!  But on Valentine’s Day, not any old heart-shaped box will do.  How about chocolate that’s been lucky enough to be have been selected to be brewed in a beer?  The best chocolate beers I’ve tasted are usually brewed from a combination of chocolate malts (which impart a roasted, bitter dark chocolate flavor and are not only limited to chocolate stouts) and actual cocoa nibs. 

A no brainer (the name alone screams “Valentine’s Day”) is Ommegang’s Seduction.  Brewed with five different dark barley malts and most importantly, authentic Belgian chocolate (duh!) it is then blended with Liefmans Cuvee Brut, to give it a “chocolate-covered cherry,” kind of taste.  So much better than a box of chocolates, no? 

There’s also Southern Tier’s Chokolat, which I’ve recommended in the past as a great dessert beer, but if you really like your beer to taste like chocolate, you can’t get much better than this.  Warning: It is 11% ABV and if you are actually planning more than just drinking beer on this V-Day (wink wink), then make sure you limit your intake.  

Other great chocolate beers I would recommend are Harpoon’s Chocolate Stout and Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.  There are lots of other great chocolate beers out there, but these four are readily available in NYC and the immediate outside areas and are also from four breweries I happen to be a big fan of.  Love your local brewery and love their local beer.  What are some of your favorite chocolate or dessert beers?  Share them with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.

 

❤ If the “Dinner & Drinks” thing is more your style, why not visit one of your favorite “Beer Restaurants”?  I would recommend Gastropub 508 or Jimmy’s No. 43, as both will have specialty beers and food as well as entertainment next Thursday night.  I even heard a rumor that 508’s newest brewmaster, Chris Cuzme, may do a little V-Day serenading with his saxophone.  No promises, but who wouldn’t want a little table-side jazz music to pair with your meal and house-brewed beer?  Reservations are recommended for both spots, as they can certainly get crowded and no one wants to fight for a table on V-Day. 

❤ Ok, so you’re Single—no biggie—maybe you just went through a rough break-up or have been holding out for that special someone.  Any good beer bar in NYC may become a popular destination for the unattached next Thursday night, but I think that if you like pairing good whiskey with your beer, you should probably check out Idle Hands.  Why?  Because they’re breaking out the Pappy Van Winkle most likely set to an eclectic heavy rock soundtrack and paired with some great draft beers. 

  

Those are just a few suggestions—we’ll share some more in the coming week. 

 

 

            

Harpoon Brewery Part II

18 Dec

Sorry to leave our readers in suspense—it’s just when you have such an extra ordinary experience, it’s hard to put it all into words.

Most of you have probably visited a brewery before—you are taken on a tour, get samples in the tasting room, learned more about the brand and its history—you leave a little more informed and a little more drunk than when you came in.  Every brewery seems to have its own nuances.  Our visit to Harpoon was especially unique because Al Marzi, Chief of Brewing Operations and a guy who’s been with the company for 21 years (almost since its inception), was our own personal tour guide.

He started in the company lunchroom, a modest place with an admirable collection of random hot sauces (why do beer and hot sauce always seem to go together?).  From there he walked us through the “factory”–visiting a brewery always seems to be a Willy Wonka-type experience.  You see where they mill the grains, mash them, sparge and then add hops and other spices to the wort.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be entertained by the bottling line (always even more fascinating when you’ve already tasted a few brews)—this particular bottling line applies a label on both the front and back of the bottle—oooooooo.

Al also pointed out where they will soon be installing a canning line.  While they currently can their signature IPA, UFO, and their summer seasonal at upstate FX Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, NY, you can anticipate a bigger canned selection soon due to this new addition.

He also showed us where they’re working on experimental, 400-gallon batches.  Well, some of them work out and some don’t!  You’re next favorite beer may be brewing there now…

So now for the biggest news of all—Harpoon is opening a large beer garden-type hall where future tastings will take place and tours will take off.  You bet we’ll be there for the Grand Opening!

A few days before our visit, the Harpoon staff had a company holiday party where they celebrated the end of “Movember,” in the not-yet-opened beer hall, at their “Stache-bash” all while giving back to some local charities.  Moustaches for a great cause?  Yeah, we love that!  Al himself earned special recognition with his “checkerboard” beard, a signature pattern on all of Harpoon’s beers (it was unfortunately absent upon our visit—we bet Al couldn’t wait to get rid of it!).  For photo evidence, check out their Facebook page.    

The conclusion of our tour took us right back to that lunchroom—much more enlightened after our journey we inquired about the “staff taps”—there seemed to be a few unavailable-to-the-public beers there.  Al let us sample a sour—so delicious!  Although, it will probably never become a 100 Barrel Series beer due to the threat of infestation from Brettanomyces…what a shame!! (But understandable).  And not everybody enjoys the sour beers.  And as Al pointed out, they don’t exist to chase trends.  I’d add that Harpoon sets them!  Either way, it’s a great way to decide what’s coming up next for their 100 Barrel Series, having the staff sample and offer feedback from the lunchroom while even visitors to the brewery have the opportunity to try some rarities that may or may not make it into full production!  Just another great excuse (if you need one) to visit the brewery…   

Our visit to Harpoon was certainly a highlight on our trip to Boston.  But even if you can’t make it up to the brewery, you can still drink their beer locally.  If you visit Harpoon’s Web site, you can use their “Beer Finder” tool to seek out the beers near you—whether it be a case of their Wintry Mix, their Chocolate Stout on tap, or their latest 100 Barrel Series.  For more about their beers (and what we tried and thought), check out my last blog post.  We can’t wait to go back early next year and check out the new beer hall for ourselves…but until then, we’ll just have to drink a Winter Warmer…or two.           

 

Be Thankful for Craft Beer: What to pair with your meal this Thursday

20 Nov

It’s almost turkey time in America and for each of us that may mean something different.

            Maybe you are traveling across the state or across the country to spend the holiday with family and friends.  Maybe you actually prefer to go out to eat on Thanksgiving because the idea of cooking or spending the day with your family is frightening.

            Or maybe you are the one hosting the Thanksgiving feast this year.  Anyone cooking for Thanksgiving, whether it be for a few friends or your entire family (second cousins included), knows they need to do a lot of planning and preparation for their meal ahead of time.  This year, how about introducing some great craft beer to your table to pair with your home-cooked meal?

            If you are a new home-brewer, maybe this is the time to introduce your family and friends to your hobby—Try pairing your homebrew with different dishes at the table and see what works best.  If you don’t homebrew, or don’t think that experimental ale you made last summer would go too great with your mother’s famous stuffing, there are plenty of American craft beers that would be welcome guests at your dinner table.  

            Let’s start with the meal’s centerpiece: The Turkey.  According to Garret Oliver, one of the most well-respected brewmasters (from Brooklyn Brewery) and an expert on pairing beer with food, turkey and a nice Biere de Garde (a French Farmhouse ale) are a match made in Thanksgiving heaven.  Since Biere de Gardes are not exactly commonplace and may be difficult to find locally, a Belgian-style Saison also makes a lovely pairing with the bird.  The differences between the two styles are subtle: a biere de garde tends to be maltier and hence sweeter while most saisons are lighter and crisper with nice spice notes and a floral aroma.  While both are usually spring/summer seasonals for a lot of breweries, both go great with turkey, no matter how you are preparing it.       

When I think of American-brewed, Belgian-style ales I automatically think of Brewery Ommegang.  Any of their complex beers pair so wonderfully with food!  Plus, their brews are easy to find in the NYC area.  I would suggest their Hennepin, a farmhouse saison, whose peppery, fruity notes would go great with the bird.  Ommegang’s Hennepin is certainly a benchmark version of this style that you should not have any difficulty finding in the city.   

Another beer within the same “farmhouse” family is Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace.  The buttery flavors and lemony aromas imparted by the Japanese-bred Sorachi hop in this singularly-hopped saison would go great with your turkey dinner.

But for a more versatile and catch-all beer that goes great with more than just turkey, Ommegang’s Abbey Ale would pair well with almost everything else at your dinner table this Thanksgiving.  The Belgian-style dubbel is so complex tasting (plums, cherries, toffee, figs) that it begs to be paired with a rich, hearty meal no matter what cuisine you’ll be serving on Thursday.  Try to find a wine as flavorful or dynamic as this beer—your friends and family will certainly be impressed with its versatility!  You may even convince your wine-loving aunts and uncles that beer too, goes great (or even better) with food.   

Now on to the sides.  Mashed potatoes?  How about a brown ale or a porter.  There are several local examples to choose from including Sixpoint’s Brownstone (although I’d pour it into a nice glass and avoid the odd stares you may get from your family when drinking beer from a can) or Brooklyn Brown Ale?  While these two Brooklyn-based breweries both offer fine brown ales that pair wonderfully with hearty fare like mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing, Smuttynose’s Old Brown Dog Ale or their Robust Porter are also great choices.  There are many more great examples out there so pick your favorite but think hearty, dark, and malty beers for your heavier Thanksgiving fare.

Although you may be a fan of hoppier American beer styles like West Coast IPAs (you and your brother love to compare notes on the latest and greatest plate-wreckers), these will not pair as well with your Thanksgiving dinner.  Unless, of course, you are implementing some major spices or going a non-traditional route with your cuisine.  But if you plan on sticking with the standards this season, I wouldn’t suggest pouring Imperial IPAs at your dinner table.  Save those beer styles for another occasion. 

Last but not least, there’s dessert.  At this point in your meal, you are most likely beyond stuffed but if you’re like me, there’s always room for that last course!  And it just happens to be MY favorite part of the meal as I enjoy doing the baking and of course, the eating.  Pecan, Pumpkin or even sweet potato pies go great with a spiced ale or any kind of flavorful stout.   

Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout is an obvious choice, but I’m thinking that western New York’s Southern Tier has some great beers that would impress your guests.  If many of Ommegang’s delcious Belgian-style beers pair well with your dinner, then I would say that any of Southern Tier’s “Blackwater” beers would go just as lovely with dessert.  Their Choklat, Jah-va, Mokah, and Crème Brulee Stouts practically beg to be drunk with sweet treats.  There’s also the fall seasonal favorite, the pumpkin ale, and you know your cousin loves her spiced beers.  Southern Tier’s Pumking is a favorite of many of my family and friends, and if you can manage to find one this week (or you’ve been hoarding some all season), Thanksgiving would be a lovely time to share it.    

Hey, I may even go for (beer) seconds and skip the pie altogether!  And any of these delicious brews will make shopping on Black Friday that much more bearable…

What will YOU be drinking this Thanksgiving?