Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: This Week in Beer

This year Matt and I hosted Thanksgiving here in Asheville. Matt's mom came down from Michigan and on Wednesday, before the holiday, we took her to a great local spot called King James Public House.We got a bunch of small plates and shared them and they were amazing. King James is really a cocktail bar so we couldn't pass up a couple of delicious mixed drinks. But they also serve great beer both on tap and in the bottle.

Their new winter offering was a bottle of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome ale. Sam Smith was one of the first beers I liked before I was able to get my hands on many craft brews. This quintessential English beer is frequently imported in bottles. When I was visiting London in October of this year I was able to get my hands on cask drawn Sam Smith  which is, as you might imagine, significantly better. This is because it is fresher if nothing else. The Winter Ale was okay. It seemed a little ordinary to me. It is a simple bitter ale so it didn't have a lot of the spices or rich flavors that I prefer for my winter ales. I think I am biased towards darker beers this time of year. That being said it wasn't undrinkable and it worked well with the rich food that we were eating.

Then came Thanksgiving dinner.

We hosted it here in Asheville which was a wonderful change. We always travel for Thanksgiving and it was really nice to have it in our own house. Our friends Reid and Erika joined us as well so we had 5 for dinner. The meal consisted of a 21-pound smoked turkey from a local barbecue restaurant. It was amazing and there is no way we could have a made a bird that tasted as good!  Instead we concentrated on the sides: a pierogi casserole in place of mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, stuffing in the crock pot, and a spinach salad with goat cheese, pecans, and dried cranberries. For dessert, Erika brought cherry pie and I made chocolate pumpkin cupcakes with caramel cream filling and caramel glaze. Oh, and we had Oreo pumpkin ice cream from Ultimate Ice Cream.

Thanksgiving table with Autumn Maple Beer.
Of course, with all that food we needed the perfect beer. Enter The Bruery's Autumn Maple. Yum yum! Technically you could call this an autumn seasonal but it was brewed specifically to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of a pumpkin base they choose yams and brewed it with all the traditional autumn spices, molasses, and maple. It is a Belgian style ale and has a slight sour component to it but not in an unpleasant way. It went really well with the whole thanksgiving dinner. I had bought some additional, different beer for dessert but I just had some more of this instead. I'll save the other beer for a different blog post.

This Thanksgiving was a success - and it still isn't over. Today we are going out for dinner with friends and then checking out some local holiday lights. Tomorrow, Matt's mom is helping us put up our tree and decorate the house. I am certain there will be more winter seasonal beers to explore in the coming week.

What kind of beer did you have with your Thanksgiving dinner?

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