A Cornucopia of Craft: 10 Local(ish) Beers for Your Thanksgiving Table

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Let’s face it: Thanksgiving in New York City is always a hot mess. Whether you’re hosting wide-eyed in-laws in your tiny apartment, lugging armloads of artisanal treats onto a sardine tin-style MetroNorth train or attempting to coordinate four consecutive Friendsgivings spanning three different boroughs, it’s enough to make even the most temperate of urban dwellers turn to drink.

This Thanksgiving, after days spent dodging dopey parade-goers and ‘bow throwing Whole Foods shoppers, give thanks for your survival by kicking back with one (or more) of these hometown seasonals. Each of these locally brewed craft beers honors the spirit of the holiday minus all the hassles of reality, transporting you out of your smokey galley kitchen and into some delusional scriptwriter’s crisp, romantic fantasy of Autumn in New York. Enjoy, comrade.

Sixpoint Brewery Sensi Harvest
I love this beer. Crushable, sessionable and bursting with fresh, juicy hops, the Sensi Harvest is a party in six-pack form. Each skinny can of 4.7% ABV wet-hopped goodness hits you with a citrusy, grassy nose up front, followed by a super light, effervescent body and a touch of bitterness at the end. Keep a cooler stocked with these bad boys couch-side and your guests will undoubtedly stay out of your hair until it’s time to feast. Pair with: watching football, chips & salsa, crudite

Grimm Artisanal Ales Still Life
Brooklyn’s favorite nomadic brewing duo just dropped this impressively delicate Grisette, a tart Belgian farmhouse ale brewed with fresh apple cider from New York’s own Red Jacket. The Grimms dry-hopped the brew with a healthy dose of German Hallertau, a floral Bavarian noble, and Saaz, a seasonally appropriate Czech variety beloved for its earthy, herbal notes. The result? A little fruity, a little sour and a whole lot of refreshing. Pair with: fancy soft cheeses, cranberry sauce, sauteed apples

Threes Brewing Wandering Bine
Brand spankin’ new Gowanus brewpub Threes Brewing has gone live with just a few styles thus far, including a juicy pale, a piney IPA and Wandering Bine, a flavor-packed rustic Saison. The Belgian farmhouse style boasts a sweet, fruity nose followed by some light funk and mild spice and a drying, herbal finish. Drink this one early in the meal — it’s a great lead in to the bigger, bolder styles and dishes to come. Pair with: baked sweet potatoes, roasted butternut squash, glazed carrots

Eve’s Cidery Autumn Gold
This family-run Ithaca cidery churns out a modest yet outstanding line of hand crafted ciders, and the seasonal Autumn Gold is one of the most complex and food-ready of the bunch. This velvety fall favorite begins with the pressings of over 20 different American, French and English apple varieties and then is aged in oak barrels after primary fermentation. After almost a year in the tanks, the final product is tannic and lively — and gluten free (!!) — able to soften sharp cheeses and compliment hearty, rich stuffings alike.  Pair with: cornbread & sausage stuffing, hard Italian cheeses, creamed spinach

Carton Brewing Co. Pumpkin Cream Ale
At 9% ABV, this festive fall tipple defies all pumpkiny preconceptions. An inventive departure from the standard candy beer, Carton’s Pumpkin Cream Ale mixed the nutty, savory flavors of roasted pumpkin, orange oil and pink peppercorns with the Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey brewery’s popular high gravity Cream Ale, resulting in a rich, belly-warming brew. Go easy on this one if you’re on carving duty, though — the Cream Ale’s relatively high carbonation has been known to mask the booze factor, for better or for worse.  Pair with: orange-cranberry compote, chestnut & apple stuffing, New York cheese cake

Barrier Brewing Co. SaazSquatch
SaazSquatch, one of my favorite fall seasonals, is the brainchild of Oceanside, Long Island’s Barrier Brewing. The ever-creative Barrier team combined raw butternut squash, citrusy Sichuan peppercorns, clover honey, dried ginger and a heaping helping of those earthy Saaz hops to produce a surprisingly balanced 7.7% ABV autumnal delight. This medium-bodied ale opens sweet and finishes dry, leaving a bit of lingering bitterness on the palate to combat assertive side dishes like fragrant mushrooms and cheesy mashed potatoes. Pair with: maple glazed root vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, parmesan mashed potatoes

Other Half Brewing Co. ESB
Hop-heavy Brooklyn newcomers Other Half released this English Style Bitter fairly recently and it’s already making a splash on the local market. While devoted hopheads might frown at the lack of punch-you-in-the-jaw bitterness, I think this malt forward, flawlessly drinkable classic showcases impressive restraint, a quality not often associated with the generally West Coast leaning brewery. That toasty, bready and mildly fruity flavor profile also pairs seamlessly with all things Thanksgiving dinner. Serve this medium-bodied brew alongside your mains to highlight Fairway’s masterful turkey roasting skills, not to mention your excellent reheating job. Pair with: oven roasted turkey, green beans with hazelnuts, scalloped potato gratin

KelSo Beer Nut Brown Lager
Clinton Hill’s KelSo Beer is a tried and true Brooklyn original, and their Nut Lager is the standout, food-driven palate pleaser of the lot. Originally brewed as a house beer for Peter Luger’s famed steakhouse, this mellow dark lager cuts through the richness of heavy smoked meats and creamy, fatty sides with the precision of a Swiss Army knife and the smooth, intoxicating charm of a Smokey Robinson song. Too far? Maybe, but pile on another scoop of buttery potatoes, douse it with an irresponsible amount of turkey gravy and you’ll find yourself Cruisin’ in no time. Pair with: smoked turkey, buttermilk mashed potatoes & gravy, cheesy spinach souffle

Finback Brewery Smoke Detection
Queens-based Finback Brewery is known for their playful, low ABV releases, and this limited batch English-style Dark Mild does not disappoint. Brewed with cherry wood-smoked malt, Smoke Detection is delightfully savory, with a robust, roasty nose full of tobacco and spice. At 4.6%, however, this brew is extremely easy drinking, making it the perfect partner for charred, peppery dishes like deep fried turkey and bacon-spiked brussels sprouts. Pair with: deep fried turkey, brussels sprouts with bacon, jalapeno hush puppies

SingleCut Beersmiths Eric More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout
The first brewery to open in Queens post-Prohibition, Astoria’s SingleCut Beersmiths has been been dutifully cranking out the good drink for almost two years now and their Eric More Cowbell! Chocolate Milk Stout is a winter warmer of utmost excellence. Best poured on Nitro (grab that grimey growler and stop off in Queens — you won’t regret it), this indulgent, pitch black milk stout is brewed with locally processed cacao from Red Hook’s Cacao Prieto. It goes down impossibly smooth, like a magically alcoholic chocolate cream pie. For an extra special post-meal send off, try the rum barrel-aged version. Pair with: raspberry tart, pumpkin pie with vanilla bean ice cream, a long winter’s nap

 

 

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