Whether you’re mad, sad, or glad over the election’s outcome, there are going to be a whole lot of awkward Thanksgiving dinner conversations this year. That’s why you’re (probably) going to need a drink — or several — to make it past the hors d’oeuvres and all the way through that second slice of pumpkin pie this Thursday.
What’s more American nowadays than cracking open a bottle of craft beer? Craft beer consumption has skyrocketed over the past few years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. From mouth-puckering sours perfect for pairing with dessert to high alcohol-by-volume (ABV) stouts capable of erasing your memory of the past few months, here are 10 craft-forward beers to bring along that will either stimulate or stifle heated discussions.
Brown Ale – Cerveza Insurgente
Why build a wall when you can pour a pint from one of Tijuana’s most lauded craft breweries? Leave the Coronas at home this year and opt for something a little more robust in flavor. Insurgente’s medium-bodied 5.3% brown ale is toasty and roasty with a just smidge of hop twang, perfect for keeping the conversation light.
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Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout – Firestone Walker Brewing Company
When you want to extend the olive branch after a contentious election season, Firestone Walker’s beloved oatmeal stout has proven to be a pretty universal crowd pleaser. Flavorful enough to melt hearts and drinkable enough to unite even the most combative political foes, this creamy and balanced 5.5% stout may very well be the key to mending bridges this year.
Accumulation White IPA – New Belgium
Make a statement without saying a word by popping a bottle from a woman-founded, employee-owned, environmentally conscious brewery and watch as even the most hardcore conservatives sing its praises. New Belgium’s 6.2% winter seasonal IPA turns the standard “drink dark beers during cold weather” habit on its head and provides a smooth, gentle citrusy experience, perfect for pairing with spicy foods.
Chocolate Rain Imperial Stout – The Bruery
Getting hammered to deal with the new political reality America faces may seem like a tempting avenue, so go for it! The Bruery’s Reserve Society Chocolate Rain clocks in at a whopping 18%, making it one of the highest ABV beers in circulation. Awash with hints of vanilla and cocoa nibs, it’s best to enjoy a slosh of Chocolate Rain with a slice of pecan pie.
Breakfast Stout – Founders Brewing
You don’t have to drink beer for breakfast, but if you need a little liquid courage this year to face the inevitable divisive dinner conversation ahead, we won’t tell anyone if you get a bit of an early start. Put some pep in your step without resorting to that fourth cup of coffee by opting for this 8.3% intensely roasted stout that’s sure to warm you from head to toe.
Tripel – Allagash Brewing Company
It might take a little convincing to have your uncle relinquish his generic macro light beer to give this Belgian style a try, but once he takes a sip, you might very well have found something new you have in common. This 9% award-winning brew from Maine’s Allagash Brewing, with notes of herbs and fruit, provides a complex alternative for hop-haters who think all craft beer is too bitter.
The Abyss Imperial Stout – Deschutes Brewery
For those who feel hopeless about the state of American politics and simply wish to wallow in misery, The Abyss provides the perfect (delicious) escape. This 12.2% imperial stout aged in bourbon, oak, and pinot noir barrels emits hints of molasses and chocolate, making it the ideal beer to quaff over dessert (or by itself in place of dessert).
2015 Kriek Flanders Red Ale – Cascade Brewing
After the mashed potatoes have been devoured and there’s nary a slice of turkey left, it’s time to shake things up by cracking a sour from one of the most respected fermentation-forward breweries in the country. This aged 7.1% blend of red ales emits oaky notes and rich cherry tartness that might not be everyone’s favorite, but it’ll at least give them an opportunity to try something new. (They might be surprised at how much they enjoy it!)
Two-Hearted Ale American IPA – Bell’s Brewery
If you already know that sours or Belgians won’t exactly be welcome additions to the more traditional Thanksgiving crowd, you can still stay true to craft without rocking the boat too much with wild styles. Bell’s Two-Hearted isn’t your typical IPA hop bomb; rather, it’s a remarkably balanced, slightly fruity recipe that won’t seem too frou-frou when you crack open a can and throw it back.
Tyrant Double Red IPA – Wicked Weed Brewing
Hankering for a debate over our country’s future? If you’re headed to a Thanksgiving shindig with your left-leaning heels dug in, you might as well commit to bringing along a bottle of Tyrant from Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewing. Not only is this blood-red brew’s hue reminiscent of passion and violence, its name will certainly make your political allegiances known. Pop a bottle and let the show begin.