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Thanksgiving Beers And Transitioning To Winter

Michael Donato, November 25, 2015 -   

It’s Thanksgiving time, and the start of the holiday drinking season. Mulled wine, Mad Elfs, and BCBS. Drinking with, or because of, family. The one for the pie, one for me mantra is the accepted ratio in most bourbon pecan pie recipes. The more formal setting of Thanksgiving seems to draw in lots of bottles of wine, but in so many ways beer fits in much better.

Since you’re going to eat too much food, it’s important not to fill up on heavy beer too. Though the shelves suggest it’s imperial stout season, I’d say that season doesn’t truly start until the now traditional Black Friday release of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Thanksgiving is a harvest event in theory, which is why fall beers work so well. If we’re going to demarcate seasons, and Black Friday is the start of imperial stouts and winter season, Thanksgiving is the end to fall. So drink those malty oktoberfests you still have sitting around. Finish off your fresh hop harvest ales, and embrace the cider. 

I went back and looked at what we were drinking last Thanksgiving, and the list suggests you aren’t taking my advice. The rating numbers in this chart are a reflection on current ratings, not what they were at the time and is ordered by check-ins.

Brewery

Beer

Rating

BAR

Style+

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

3.5

5.96

111.67

Founders Brewing Company

Breakfast Stout

4.45

9.25

106.26

Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Enjoy By 12.26.14 IPA

4.34

5.83

106.31

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Celebration Ale

3.86

4.14

104.59

Miller Brewing Company

Miller Lite

2.8

1.65

97.16

Yuengling Brewery

Traditional Lager

3.74

5.5

108.12

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams White Christmas

3.39

1.02

99.13

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Christmas Ale

4.04

8.52

114.88

Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev)

Bud Light

3.04

0.01

91.99

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Snowdrift Vanilla Porter

3.63

-0.17

96.68

You’ve transitioned to Christmas, which makes sense since just about every store, nevermind beer shelves, has done the same. I’ve seen more than a handful of houses with lights up already. Winter Lager takes the crown for most checked in beer last Thanksgiving, which given the prevalence of variety packs, makes a whole lot of sense. I haven’t seen the new Breakfast Stout yet this year. The Enjoy By was bottled only six days prior to last Thanksgiving, which makes this pretty impressive. This year we get a whole eight days from bottling to holiday, so expect it to show up again. 

Celebration again makes the list. I have two bottles, but haven’t tried them this year yet. Great Lakes Christmas Ale has some lofty numbers with it’s 8.52 BAR, which is going to prompt me to check it out, though not for Thanksgiving. 

This year I’m bringing Maui CoCoNuT Porter and a coconut cream pie and a few bottles of Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest to join with some Brooklyn Insulated Lager and Chimay Grand Reserve. I’m also told there will be some sort of apple spiced rum slurry thing. What will you be drinking on Thursday?

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd and is looking forward to winter so he can wittle down his large supply of imperial stouts. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.

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