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Sipping through Thanksgiving

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The long Thanksgiving Day weekend is almost upon us and, if you’re like me, you’ve already lined up a plethora of beers to pair with the festivities. The next few days brings us lots of food, lots of drink, lots of conversation and some awesome TV so you best come prepared. Here’s what I’m drinking over the next couple of days.

Warning: Do not attempt a schedule like this if you’re trying to be a productive, contributing member to family events.

Thanksgiving morning is a no-brainer: I’m probably not allowed near the kitchen, so instead of a stack of pancakes, it looks like I might just replace a hearty breakfast with a pint of the coffee-chocolate-packed Founders Breakfast Stout—this will also save precious room in my stomach for plates of food later on. Caution: Others may resent this move.

Here on the West-ish Coast, NFL games start insanely early, but also pair spectacularly well with beer. Here’s a plan: Pop open a can of 1811 Lager from Fort George Brewery, a hoppy, grainy California Common with a manageable 5.1% ABV that won’t knock me out.

At this point, it’s time to fortify the old stomach with a special-ops mission into the kitchen. I’ll come bearing gifts, like Farnum Hill Dooryard Cider, a wonderful dry English-style cider with enough in the bottle to share. Time to covertly make a plate of cold-cuts and whatever I can steal from the food being prepared while everyone else marvels at the cider’s ripe apple notes and refreshingly arid finish. Exit kitchen.

Return to the 1811 Lager and hopefully settle in to watch the Washington Redskins trounce the Dallas Cowboys.

Thanksgiving time. Give thanks, pile up a full plate of food and see what it’s like when Millbock Something Dark, a powerful peat-smoked beer with rich chocolate and bitter dark malts, goes down with a cut of smoky turkey. For dessert, New Belgium Frambozen’s subtle tart raspberry and toasted, chocolaty malts are great for sipping alongside pies.

Finish off the evening with a palate-blasting, hoppy pour of Twisted Pine Hoppy Boy. Then: Naptime. Wake up for the last quarter of the New England Patriots vs. the New York Jets. Bedtime.

There’s no way I’m going shopping on Black Friday—although there are a lot of beery events that could easily lure one out of the house. So, with the place to myself, it’s time to secretly feast on an early lunch of leftovers: Nothing like the sessionable 4.5%-ABV Stillwater Premium (with earthy, spicy and fruity notes) to get the day going.

The rest of the day is movie time. It’s been a while since I’ve revisited Federico Fellini, so perhaps I’ll pop in “8 ½” or, maybe even more appropriately, “Amarcord” and sip on AMA Bionda, a floral, fruity collaboration between Brooklyn’s Garrett Oliver and Italy’s Amarcord Brewery. Or, classic westerns are always fun, especially when grandparents are in town: Lonerider Peacemaker Pale Ale from Raleigh, N.C. is a perfect accompaniment.

Time to rejoin everyone else for the first official feast of leftovers: The Brewery Vivant and New Belgium collab Lips of Faith Biere de Garde is a good one to share with friends and family while eating some turkey.

With 48 hours of food and beer under my belt, it’s time for a long night’s sleep. The weekend begins with an epic morning run—and maybe a beer or two later on.

What are you planning to drink over the next few days?


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.


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