Baron’s Guide to Thanksgiving and Beer

turkeyHappy Thanksgiving everyone! I thought it would be fun to breakdown Thanksgiving Day and pair some craft beers with what would be my typical meal. Now, 15 years ago, Busch Light reigned supreme and would flow freely along with some boxed wine and a few bottles of booze. Times change and thankfully so do the drinks. I saw the guys at do this and thought it would be good to see an Eastern Iowa version of what beers to get.

**Early and often Beers**– while watching the football game with fellow family members and waiting for the bird to finish up cooking, it’s good have other options available other than the typical light beer, and Eastern Iowa now has a plethora of excellent, low abv brews.


Baron’s recommendation:

*Founders Brewing All Day IPA – 4.7%
*Lion Bridge Workmen’s Compensation – 4.7% (growler only – coffee variation dynamitbig grovee as well)
*Lion Bridge Whirligig – 4.5% (growler only, a Baron Favorite)
*Big Grove Que Sera Berliner Weisse – 4.4% (growler only)
*Destihl Brewing Here Gose Nothin’ – 5% (A little higher ABV and sour but I can down a few)
*Stone Levitation – 4.4% very tasty amber.

**Dinner Beers** – the food has made it’s way to the table and you are looking for a bottle of something to share with some loved ones. I’m in agreement with many beer lovers that the perfect style of beer for Thanksgiving are Saisons. And being a saison lover, there are quite a few to choose from around Eastern Iowa. I also think maltier IPAs go well with the majority of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Baron’s recommendation:

*Saison Dupont – 6.5%
*Boulevard Tank 7 – 8.5%
*Lion Bridge Untitled Saison – 6.5% (growler only)
*Deschutes Zarabanda – 6.3%lion bridge
*Sierra Nevada Celebration – 6.8%
*Bells Two Hearted – 7%

**Time for Dessert** – as with most holidays there is usually a table reserved just for desserts. Now, you should have a cooler reserved for dessert beers.  I would have loved to include New Glarus on this list and they would be at the top but they aren’t distributed anywhere outside of Wisky. So for dessert I would go with:

Baron’s Recommendations:

*Schlafly Pumkin Ale – 8% – a no-brainer here. One of the better pumpkin beers on the market.
*Big Grove Russian Imperial Stout- this beer pairs excellent with dark fruits. Had it at the brewery in Solon with some of their pickled bing cherries and was blown away. (growler only)
*Millstream Raspberry Latte Stout – ? ABV – Millstream’s newest offering has me craving more. A great millstreamcombo of raspberry and stout that’s perfect for dessert.
*Stone Xocoveza – 8.1% – if you’re lucky enough to still have a bottle this would be a perfect way to end the evening. Chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee makes this the perfect beer after a big meal and the heat does a nice job of warming you up for a chilly Iowa November evening.

**As always, I’m sure I missed a bunch of beers. Feel free to send me your list and if you hear of any news, would like a guest review post, or questions drop me a line!**


Hot 25 of ’13 Part 4!

25Shout out to the folks at Coralville Brrr Fest this past weekend. Had another really good time and finally got to meet a few beer folks I’ve tweeted with frequently in the past. A lot of excitement for Eastern Iowa beer lovers again this week with the releases of Toppling Goliath XHOPS Orange and Zeelander. I have a couple of each in my fridge and will dig into them during the Iowa game tonight. Onto the list!



boulevard**Boulevard Saison-Brett**
If I remember correctly I enjoyed this for the 1st time during the warm month of August. I had just finished doing some random yardwork around the house and poured this brew. It was almost a goose bump moment when I took a nice long drink, I then immediately drove to a few Hy-Vees around the area and bought a bunch more bottles. Boulevard says it’s okay to cellar this beer if you want more of the “brett” to show through, and that’s what I’ve been doing but the temptation to bust out a few more is always there. More from the brewery:

Saison-Brett, based on our very popular Tank 7, is assertively dry hopped, then bottle conditioned with various yeasts, including Brettanomyces, a wild strain that imparts a distinctive earthy quality. Though this farmhouse ale was given three months of bottle age prior to release, further cellaring will continue to enhance the “Brett” character, if that’s what you’re after.

RATEBEER: 100/100

schlafly**Schlafly American IPA**
Schlafly had been a hit and miss brewery with me until I tried their Tasmanian IPA and then their American IPA; both fantastic brews. American IPA barely beat out the Taz as I thought the Taz got a tad to sweet the longer it sit. Both are great, but Taz is nearing the end of its market time for the year and now we get to enjoy the American IPA. One great brew to another. From the brewery:

Exploding with hop flavor and aroma, this citrus/piney/floral ale has enough of a malt backbone to stand up to the intense bitterness.

RATEBEER: 98/100

All Day**Founders All Day IPA**
Session IPAs are getting more and more pub as more and more breweries start to make them. However, no one has hit the nail on the head as Founders did with their All Day IPA. Cans and bottles, this IPA comes in at 4.7% and you consume quite a few of these without the normal result that an IPA brings such as puking all over a nice white carpet, waking up on a cold basement floor, pissing your pants (Mr. Haywood) …. you get where I’m going. This has become so popular we can expect the first (I believe) 15 pack of beer available coming this spring/summer. My go-to tailgate for Iowa Hawkeye football games. From the brewery:

The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatic and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.

RATEBEER: 96/100

Kentucky Brunch**Toppling Goliath Kentucky Brunch**
I’m not sure there will be any sense of normalcy when it comes to crowds when Toppling Goliath does a special release, but at the 2013 Kentucky Brunch release times were still relatively normal. A huge crowd, yes, busy bar, but for the most part, containable. And even though I didn’t get to try it on tap (ticket #117), I was able secure 2 bottles. Saved for my wedding anniversary and shared with my wife (who loved it more than I was hoping), this brew met all the hype and I can’t wait to go to Decorah the next TG does a release. (Can I put up a tent in the parking lot?) From the brewery:

Beer Aged in Whiskey Barrels with Coffee. 

RATEBEER: 100/100

breakfast stout**Founders Breakfast Stout**
A silky, creamy, stroke of genius. The “big” stout that got me to appreciate what a higher ABV stout can bring. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and the fact that Founders pretty much says I can enjoy this for breakfast, = great beer. Founders might be one of the best things to happen to Eastern Iowa beer shelves because of the amount of great stuff they supply. More from the brewery:

You’ve got to love coffee to truly appreciate this phenomenal brew. Brewed with an abundance of flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee. We’re actually not sure if this is some type of coffee cake or a beer. Either way you can drink this ale with a fork. Breakfast Stout has an intense fresh roasted coffee nose toped with a cinnamon colored frothy head that seems to never fade and makes you wish breakfast could last forever.

RATEBEER: 100/100

One more list of 5 to go! Do my first 20 come anywhere close to yours? What have I missed or did I come pretty close to yours? Would love to hear your thoughts.