Thanksgiving is a time to share with others and enjoy time with family and friends. Michiganders have much to be thankful for, and with over 200 breweries, there are many great beers to celebrate the holiday with. Here are a few recommendations on a few of my favorite Michigan beers for you to enjoy throughout the day:
Founders Breakfast Stout– Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so on Thanksgiving Day, why not treat yourself to this iconic breakfast beer? Brewed with copious amounts of chocolate, coffee and flaked oats, it’s the perfect way to start your day. Simply replace your morning cup of coffee with one of these tasty brews, and start prepping your turkey so it’s in the oven well before the Lions game starts.
Speaking of the Lions game, kickoff is still a few hours away and you’ll want to pace yourself. Perrin No Problems is a session IPA that delivers great hop flavor at a modest 4.5% abv. You’ll have “No Problems” crushing a few of these whether you’re tailgating in The D, or watching from home. The can even matches the Lions uniforms! Let’s hope we all hear “Gridiron Heroes” early and often. GO LIONS!!!
Now it’s time for the big Thanksgiving feast, and there are a many great beers that will pair well with your turkey and all the fixings. Brewery Vivant Farmhand is a French style farmhouse ale that is not overly bitter or sweet. It’s crisp and on the lighter side, with a nice effervescent mouthfeel that will enhance your meal without filling you up.
If you’re more into the stuffing and gravy or simply prefer something a bit more malty, Saugatuck Bonfire Brown Ale is one of my favorite brown ales that I highly recommend. It has a light to medium body with a bready malt backbone, with a nutty hint of maple and a slightly smoky finish reminiscent of great times around the bonfire. This beer has won several prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal for American Brown Ales in the 2014 World Beer Cup and Best in Show at the 2013 World Expo of Beer.
After the main course and the traditional cat nap on the sofa while watching more football, it’s time for dessert. If you’re having pumpkin pie, Dark Horse Scotty Karate is a nice match. The rich malty caramel flavors are a nice complement to the roasted pumpkin and brown sugar in the pumpkin pie, and at 9.75% abv, you can savor this well after the pie is finished.
For fruit pies such as apple or cherry, Dragonmead Total Absolution is the perfect match. This Belgian-style Trippel ale yields hints of banana and clove from the Belgian yeast and a slight sweetness from the Belgian candi sugar it is brewed with. These flavors along with a high carbonation level provide a nice effervescent complement to the fruit flavors in the pie. This brew is dangerously drinkable at 10% abv.
My personal dessert of choice is Pecan Pie, and one of my favorite styles of beer is a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout. New Holland Dragons Milk is one of the few selections that is readily available on store shelves, and is an ideal choice here. Dark roasted malt flavor with hints of dark fruits, vanilla and oak emerge with a nice boozy bourbon finish that warm the insides and will take your pecan pie experience to another level. If you’re fortunate to find any Dragon’s Milk Reserve, the Coffee Chocolate and Rum Barrel Coconut variants will also pair well with this decadent dessert. What can I say, I like big beers and I cannot lie…
Last but not least, you’ll need a good Michigan beer to wash down those leftovers leading up to the big game on Saturday vs. Ohio. Griffin Claw Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA is one of my favorite local selections that I highly recommend. Fresh hoppy aroma followed by a burst of tropical fruit and citrus balanced by a slightly sweet malt backbone and a pleasant creamy mouthfeel. A delightful beer to wash down that turkey sandwich that tastes even better when accompanied by a rendition of Hail to the Victors!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!