What goes good with turkey?
Thanksgiving can be the best excuse to show off the beer research you’ve been conducting on your nights and weekends. Got a family member who loves cranberry sauce? Pour them some Cranberry Saison from Lakes & Legends. Got a friend who loves autumnal root vegetables? Hand them a cold Indeed Yamma Jamma. It’s the perfect time to not only pair beer and food, but also beer and people.
But if you’ve got a finicky beer nerd in your bunch this Turkey Day, you might need to go above and beyond to impress them. You’ll need an arsenal of brand-new beers they (hopefully) haven’t even heard of yet. This November, grab them one of these.
Brown ale, 6.2% ABV, 30 IBU
The “seedhouse” part of Able Brewery + Seedhouse’s name has yet to be fully realized in the brewery’s two-year run, but that’s changing with the release of Seeded -- their first beer made with in-house-malted grain. The team at Able took some hazlet rye from Hallock’s Far North Distillery and threw it in their new kiln, readying it to lead the malt bill of their new brown ale.
Seeded isn’t hot and spicy like a lot of brown ales. Instead, it’s rich and sweet, with hints of molasses and candy. Able also added some caraway seeds to the brew, lightening the sweetness with an anise herbaceousness. More than anything, Seeded is a harbinger of what’s to come from this Northeast brewery. Their first self-malted beer only has 4 percent in-house malt, but they’re planning to scale up their malting operation, with the hope that all their beers will eventually contain it.
Eastlake the Racoon and the Bear
Amber ale, 6.5% ABV, 50 IBU
First released in taproom in 2015, the Racoon and the Bear was an adventurous take on an amber ale for Eastlake Craft Brewing. Essenced with fir tips and cedar shavings, it was made to evoke a sojourn to the North Woods. Now, the Midtown Global Market microbrewery has perfected the recipe, and they’re releasing bombers out into the market.
The new edition of the Racoon and the Bear has a heartier ABV and steeper IBU, but the most notable quality is the Belgian red malt in the body. The simcoe and chinook hops add to the piney quality of the cedar and fir, but the roasty amber sweetness balances everything out. If L.L. Bean made a beer, this would be it.
Lakes & Legends Minneapple Pie
Malted cider, 4.9% ABV, n/a IBU
Last year, Lakes & Legends’ Fall Harvest did a great job emulating apple pie, but it didn’t go quite far enough. For the second iteration of the apple-spiced malted cider, the Loring Park brewery partnered with the Minneapple Pie Company to get the taste just right. They borrowed the Minnesota State Fair stalwart’s proprietary spice, mixed it with a bunch of pilsner malt, and ended up with an uncanny pie-tastin’ “cider.”
Though the drink is very sweet -- you can taste a slurry of cinnamon and nutmeg along with the boiled apples -- Minneapple Pie finishes nice and dry. Also, the malted barley adds a quintessential beer-ness to the cider. If you’re hankering for more vestiges of the Fair, they still have their Sweet Corn Summer Ale on tap. They’ll also release two barrel-aged beers on November 16.
Indeed Wooden Soul: Mango Helio
Sour saison, 8% ABV, 20 IBU
Speaking of alternate versions of beers we covered last year, Indeed’s Wooden Soul series has returned with a fruity take on a 2016 hit. After letting it sit in oak barrels an additional six months, Indeed fermented last year’s batch of Heliotropic on fresh mango for two more months and rechristened it Mango Helio. The beer’s been on tap in the brewery all month, but on November 16, Indeed released a limited 200-bottle run.
As if the mixture of Brett and saison yeast and barrel characteristics wasn’t enough, the tart and creamy mango flavor adds another layer of enjoyment. The body of the beer is even more effervescent than the original, as eight months of microbe activity have given Mango Helio a champagne-like lightness. Huge in the aroma and even bigger in the body, this is another knockout in Indeed’s can’t-miss sour series.
Fair State Giantsbane
Imperial stout, 8% ABV, 50 IBU
Named for the cheeky wildling raider Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones, Fair State’s new imperial stout is cleverly marketed as a “double stout.” That genrefication does better by the beer’s silky body and rich roastiness. Whereas “imperial” suggest big booziness and dark fruit, “double stout” tells you you’re probably closer to a vente mocha.
The matte black can is loaded with malt flavors and chocolate cake notes. It’s still a light drink though, finishing clean and sweet. That’s not to imply that Giantsbane’s 8% ABV isn’t hefty. This 12-ounce seasonal comes in four-packs for a reason -- a few of these will warm you up enough to last the Long Night. You can learn a bit more about Giantsbane’s style-defying goodness on the Fair State blog.
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