Thanksgiving beers part two – Go for the stronger stuff

There are way too many leftovers from last column’s Thanksgiving beer feast, so I’d like to share more brews that would look great on your dining room table this coming holiday. Hopefully you’ll find these beers worthy of thanks as much as I do.

While there are lots of great options out there, I’m going to focus on darker and/or stronger beers for this column, so if you’re a BMC (Bud/Miller/Coors) drinker, avert your eyes.

This week’s batch begins with a powerhouse of flavor: Genghis Pecan, by Ipswich’s Clown Shoes. Chock full of pecan and roasted nut aromas and flavors, this hoppy American porter is jet black and an ideal dessert compliment. It weighs in at 7% ABV, just enough to take the edge off your crazy uncle’s rants.

If you’d like a beer that you can sip through dinner without passing out in the cranberry sauce, try Berkley Brewing’s Coffee Porter. This crisp, easy-drinking black ale is still strong, at 6% ABV, but won’t knock you over with its punch. Featuring hints of chocolate, this is a beer that’s accessible to those who aren’t necessarily dark-beer drinkers.

Of course, maybe your goal is to dull the senses. If that’s the case, try Sam Adams Merry Maker, a gingerbread stout that packs a punch at 9% ABV. Loaded with roasted gingerbread flavor, this brew also features cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and a nice residual sweetness to balance the roasted barley that makes it a stout.

A good pumpkin pie calls for a good pumpkin ale. Instead of reaching for a Shipyard Pumpkinhead, try its much burlier cousin by Shipyard: Smashed Pumpkin. This offering not only has twice the alcohol of Pumkinhead at 9%, it also has twice the flavor. Bursting with spicy aroma, this baby is loaded with nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and a well-placed alcohol burn.

This week’s strongest brew comes from Pawtucket’s excellent Foolproof Brewing. Their Revery is a Russian Imperial Stout that clocks in at an eye-blurring 10.7%! Surprisingly, there’s little alcohol flavor, so be careful or you’ll find yourself carving the stuffing instead of the turkey. Pitch black and packed with flavor, this beer goes down smoothly and isn’t as filling as one would expect.

Harpoon’s Winter Warmer is a nifty brew that’s loaded with flavor. Past editions have been too spiced for my palate, but this year’s offering is supremely tasty, goes down easy, and works out to a manageable 5.9% ABV. Spicy with a hint of caramel, this crowd-pleaser would be welcome at any dinner table.

At the end of the night, try Smoke & Dagger, by Framingham’s Jack’s Abbey. It’s an excellent smoked black lager that’s incredibly crisp and smooth, with a balanced smoke flavor that doesn’t overwhelm the beer. Confuse and confound your fellow celebrants with what appears and smells like a beast, but is actually really easy-drinking.

Originally published on November 21 2013