Friendsgiving, a Thanksgiving celebration with friends (whether on Thanksgiving itself or just before/after) has become increasingly popular over the last several years. Friendsgiving is a day of relaxing, imbibing, and enjoying the company of your pals with a potluck style meal, where everyone contributes something to share. One person brings the main course, someone else a side dish, while another provides dessert. And perhaps most importantly, someone is in charge of the beer.
There are a few things I like to keep in mind when selecting beers for such an occasion:
1.) Bigger is better. Large bottles are great for sharing. There are many excellent beers that come in bombers (22 oz.) or 750 ml bottles, both of which can be passed around the table so everyone can get a taste. Here are a few that are perfect for a Friendsgiving celebration:
- New Belgium’s La Folie. This sour brown ale is one of my staple beers. And it’s a natural choice for a holiday meal, as it pairs well with dark turkey meat, stuffing, and sweet potatoes with butter.
- Avery’s Raspberry Sour and Vanilla Bean Stout. Two beers: one tart and bursting with fruit flavor; the other malty, dark and thick. Both are from Avery’s Botanicals & Barrels series, both are barrel aged, both delicious. Pairing sour beers with their opposite—sweets—results in an amazing combination. Try it with chocolate, ice cream, or pumpkin pie. Vanilla Bean Stout: this beer could really be served as an additional dessert. And considering it’s between 10-12% ABV (varies by batch), it’s meant for sharing. Plus, it was included in Draft Mag’s The Top 25 Beers of 2016).
- The Bruery’s Autumn Maple. This seasonal is a Belgian-Style Brown Ale brewed with yams, molasses, maple syrup and spices. What does it pair with? The Bruery’s site says it best: “Deep fried turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.” This one is a Friendsgiving must!
2.) Variety. Not everyone has the same taste in beer. Therefore, you can never go wrong with a mixed 12-pack, as they contain 4 different types of beer. This fall, Stone Brewing released a new mixed pack called Cabin Fever Mixed 12-Pack, which consists of two hoppy and two malty beers. Stone knows how to brew IPAs, and Ruination 2.0, a West Coast style double IPA, is sure to please anyone who is a fan of hops. Also in the pack is Delicious IPA–a gluten-reduced beer–which is a good option for those with gluten sensitivity. Both of the IPAs are available year-round, but the malty beers in the Cabin Fever box are seasonal releases. Coffee Milk Stout: a smooth, caffeinated beer that provides a little pick-me-up, and Vanilla Bean Porter, which was released exclusively as a part of this 12-pack. So the only way to get your hands on Vanilla Bean Porter is by purchasing this special mixed box. Note: If this particular box isn’t available in your area, check for a mixed pack from another brewery.
3). Use Drizly. It’s now easier than ever to get booze delivered straight to your door in an hour or less. Drizly is an alcohol delivery service that offers a large selection, no price markups, and a safe way to get you what you need. Stay warm and cozy, and leave the driving to Drizly.
Here’s to a happy holiday filled with friends, family, food, fun, cheer, and beer!