Draught Diversions is the catchall label for mini-rants, think-pieces, and posts that don’t just focus on one beer here at The Tap Takeover. We hope you don’t grow too weary of the alcohol alliterative names we use…
Thanksgiving is nearing so, since I’ve done a Thanksgiving recommendation post the last two years, I figured I’d keep the tradition alive. As is often the case, these are beers with varying availability, local to NJ, to the whole Mid-Atlantic region, some available nationally. Like previous years, I’ll be featuring beers that are rich, or beers that can work as dessert beers as well as a mix of beers I’ve had and beers I’ve yet to have.
Pivo Pils | Firestone Walker Brewing Co. | Pilsner | Paso Robles, CA | 5.2% ABV
If I can find a way to fit a Pilsner into the discussion, I will. Few breweries in America are as widely praised as Firestone Walker. Their pilsner is a fantastic interpretation of the style, which takes some inspiration from both the German and Czech traditions of the style. It is a little more hoppy than most pilsners, but very delicious and a very approachable beer as starter for the day.
What Firestone Walker says about the beer:
Pivo Pils is a classically rendered pilsner with a West Coast dry-‐hopping twist, showcasing stylistic inﬂuences from Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic. Lighter beer styles like pilsner have been hijacked by industrial lager beer in the United States, and it’s time for craft brewers to take it back. Pivo Pils oﬀers impeccable balance with ﬂoral aromatics, spicy herbal nuances, and bergamot zest and lemongrass notes from dry hopping with German Saphir hops.
Edmund Fitzgerald | Great Lakes Brewing Company | Porter – American | Cleveland, OH | 6% ABV
In my humble opinion, this is the best porter brewed in America and I will often have some of this in my refrigerator in the colder months of the year. Thanksgiving is a very American Holiday. Porters pair well with hearty meals, with their full flavor, especially a flavorful porter like this beer. Add that all up and I’d slot this in either right before dinner or at the dinner table to complement the many roasted flavors of the food.
What Great Lakes says about the beer:
Robust and complex, our Porter is a bittersweet tribute to the legendary freighter’s fallen crew—taken too soon when the gales of November came early.
Brewed in memory of the sunken freighter, with rich roasted barley and bittersweet chocolate-coffee notes.
Da’ Nile | River Horse Brewing Company | Red Ale – American Amber / Red | Ewing, NJ | 5.9% ABV
Red/Amber Ales are often overlooked these days, but they can pack a lot of flavor. Especially when sweetened up with vanilla and molasses like this fine ale from River Horse. I had this on draft at the brewery after I finished the River Horse 6K earlier in the year and enjoyed it quite a bit. This beer I’d maybe set with the main course and would especially pair nicely with sweet potatoes/candied yams.
What River Horse says about the beer:
A deep amber ale brewed with vanilla, lactose, blackstrap molasses, and caramel malts. A delicious and drinkable malty option with depth and balanced sweetness.
Suddenly Comfy | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery | Cream Ale | Milton, DE | 8% ABV
Dogfish Head does so many flavorful things with their beers and they’re mostly all very good. This beer could bridge the courses from dinner to dessert, with ingredients of Apple Pie in the mix as noted below. This beer is a little higher in ABV (8%), so having some turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes in your stomach will help absorb some of the alcohol. I haven’t had this one yet, but I’m thinking that might change as the holidays get closer.
Dogfish Head says this about the beer:
Things are suddenly getting real comfy around these parts with our latest off-centered creation – Suddenly Comfy.
Brewed with fresh apple cider, Saigon cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans, this Imperial Cream Ale is made with all the fixings of a great apple pie … just like grandma used to make. .
Inhale and you’ll be greeted with aromas of pie crust and brûléed sugar. Sip and you’ll find notes of fruity sweetness. Savor and you’ll venture on a fragrant flashback that has you longing for the past.
Inspired by the classically decadent dessert, Suddenly Comfy is a result of our Beer Exploration Journal – a program designed to give our fans a peek into the world of R&DFH, while sampling, evaluating and rating new beers on tap exclusively at our Milton Tasting Room & Kitchen and Rehoboth brewpub.
Gingerbread Moochiato | Bolero Snort Brewing Company | Stout – Milk / Sweet | Carlstadt, NJ | 7 % ABV
Bolero Snort is one of the great contract breweries in NJ, soon to open their brewery and Taproom at the end of 2019. Hell, not just great contract brewery, great brewery period. Known for their eye-catching a labels and bovinely inspired beer names, their beers are usually a lot of fun. People like coffee at the end of the dinner to enjoy with their dessert, so a sweetened spiced coffee milk stout would fit right in with the cheesecake as it did when I thoroughly enjoyed this beer during a Bolero Snort Dinner Beer pairing on my birthday. I had my 5oz pour as well as my wife’s 5oz pour, it was my favorite of the 5 beers I had that evening.
What Bolero Snort says about the beer:
A little nip in the air…so we’re keeping our uggs on a bit longer. Gingerbread Moochiato: same great coffee laden 7% milk stout base as Moochiato with loads of Ginger, cinnamon, clove, vanilla and just a hint of maple to round things out. Holiday shopping just got better.
Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Oatmeal Cookie | Stout – American Imperial / Double | Holland, MI | 11% ABV
Finishing the day with a “pastry stout” or “dessert stout” to complement (or supplement?) the previous beer is where this whole thing finishes off. I’ve had several bottles of New Holland’s iconic Dragon’s Milk Stout over the years and they’ve brewed quite a few variants (Coffee Chocolate, Cherry Chocolate, Salted Caramel), I may have had the S’More’s version, too. This year (2019), the variant New Holland released is most definitely a big ABV dessert sipper. Cookies, in my opinion, are just as enjoyable as a slice of cake for dessert so what better big beer to share?
What New Holland says about the beer:
Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Inspired by one of our favorite treats, Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Oatmeal Cookie is carefully aged with cinnamon, oats, brown sugar, raisins, and Madagascar vanilla extract. The familiar flavors of a freshly baked oatmeal cookie make an excellent pair with the rich, warm bourbon notes of our signature barrel-aged stout.