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Tag: thanksgiving

ciceros.jpg Some people have a special spot in their heart for Christmas, for some it’s Halloween. But me, it’s Thanksgiving. Without a doubt it’s my favorite holiday. Great food, great times with family and friends, and also some great beer.

Thanksgiving also gives us an opportunity to reflect on our lives and also allows us to help out the less fortunate. What if you could not only enjoy some great food and beer but also help those in need? Sounds like a win-win to me.

Next Wednesday, November 27th Cicero’s will be holding a benefit for Meals on Wheels featuring a Thanksgiving dinner buffet and unlimited beer samples for $25. How does this benefit Meals on Wheels you ask? Well $10 of each ticket sold goes directly to Meals on Wheels.

This fundraiser, which will run from 5:30PM-7PM, will have a buffet that features: Roasted Turkey, Artisan Bread Stuffing, Cranberry Gran Marnier Relish, Traditional Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Green Bean Casserole, Chocolate Cream Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Fresh Whipped Cream. Yum.

But wait, I also said something about unlimited beer samples. Here’s the list: Avery White Rascal, Great Divide Colette, 4 Hands Divided Sky Rye IPA, Schlafly Pumpkin, Great Divide Yeti. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also receive a 6oz Cicero’s Beer School Sample Glass.

There are only 50 tickets available for this event and they’re going fast. Call (314) 862-0009 for more information and for tickets.

This is the time of the year where you’re going to see article after article giving you advice on what beer pairs best with Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s a noble effort.  When beer pairings are done well, they can truly be works of art sending your taste buds on a majestic journey.

But I’m going to give a piece of advice that a lot of beer writers/bloggers are less likely to give: Drink what you want.

Instead of worrying and fretting over what beer will pair with not only the cranberry sauce but also the turkey, green beans and sweet potatoes (hint, there are things that go well with each, but nothing that pairs amazing with everything.) Just pick your favorite beer and enjoy.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on everything that we have to give thanks for.  For many of us, it can be about family, friends, and the company of others.  It’s perfectly fine just to sit back, enjoy your meal and just enjoy your favorite beer.

And while we’re at it, these family get-togethers are the perfect opportunity to introduce people to new beers.  This is the time to break out some of the beer you’ve been meaning to try but didn’t have that specific spot for it.  Who better to share some of your best beer with than the people you spend a holiday with?

Sure, they may not be some of your beer buddies, but that’s even better.  Instead of sitting there trying to analyze the beer, you can let someone who may not have had something this complex really experience what great beer is.

So, give thanks this holiday by freeing yourself from the shackles of constantly trying to pair beer with Thanksgiving. Sitting back and just enjoying a beer with friends and family is something truly to be thankful for.

STL Hops is taking the day off (sort of) and we’ll be back tomorrow with the Round-Up. Enjoy your turkey and beer.


rotten_logosmall.gifI’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but I’m going to have to put the trip to the Rotten Apple on hold for now. I just don’t think we’ll have enough people to make it financially solvent and I don’t really want to have to dip into my own pocketbook to make it happen.

We may have a cheaper bus option after the first of the year, so it’s looking like we’ll end up doing this after the holidays. I think maybe we’ll put together a small, informal get together at 33 Wine Bar sometime after Thanksgiving as sort of a holiday get together.

I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing holiday. If you’re anything like me, your brain is completely fried and not ready to start a new work week after a lovely 4 day vacation. But here we are.

beer-293_1280×960.jpgSince we were having Thanksgiving at my parents house, I gave me an excuse (not that I need much of one) to visit Andrew at Bon Vivant on Wednesday evening. It’s always a treat to head over to Illinois and pick up beers you can’t find in St. Louis. In this case I picked up some Three Floyds Brian Boru and a single bottle of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. I wanted more 90 minute, but it seems like I can always find only a single bottle. Andrew also recommended to us a fantastic wine (I wish I could remember what it was.) My favorite part of the trip over was when Andrew rang up 2 22oz beers and a single 12oz beer for less than a single bottle of wine. While I’m in no way trying to stir up any beer vs wine cost debate, I’ll admit it brought a smile to my face.

As for the Turkey day, everything was perfect. The turkey was moist and flavorful, the sides were enjoyable and most importantly Mr. Oliver didn’t let me down. The Schlafly Biere de Garde paired wonderfully with the meal. Having a 750ml bottle also provided the opportunity to share the beer with the table. Any excuse for me to get people to try new beers is always welcome to me.

As for the rest of the weekend, I relaxed and hung out with my family. And while this is not at all beer related, do yourself a favor and find someone who owns Rock Band. After 6 straight hours of rocking, the only thing that stopped us was my failing voice. How does Thom Yorke hit those high notes every night?

beerturkey1.gifTomorrow’s the big day. For some of us, like me, it’s a day of cooking all day and trying to get a feast on the table for everyone. It can be fun and it can be tiring, but if you can pull it off, it’s quite a feeling. But for everyone else it’s one of the best holidays of the year. I mean how can you go wrong with football, turkey, family and of course beer?

Oh sure you could go to the old stand-by and have wine with your turkey dinner. But why not give your old buddy beer a shot? It’s been your friend for a long, long time so doesn’t it deserve a place during your holiday festivities?

But you may be asking, “What beer goes with turkey?” I’ll default to Garrett Oliver for the answer to that:

“Biere de garde is brilliant with turkey. And not just with with turkey – it is also brilliant with the turnips, the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the potatoes, the whole darned thing. Biere de garde is the Thansgiving beer. My sommelier friends rack their brains every year, trying to answer the constant nagging question everyone asks them – what wine is good with turkey? The answer, or course, is not wine but beer.”

Geoff from What’s on Tap also has a few suggestion as well:

Orval – This would be a perfect beer to serve pre-dinner. It’s a refreshingly bitter and herbal beer that helps to cleanse the palate between different appetizers. One of my favorite beers of all time.

Any Saison – Saison just may be the most versatile beer style and would be a great choice to match the dizzying array of sides your mom might be serving this year. A complex mixture of spices and herb flavors combine with a sharp bitterness to make this beer stand out with any dish. Saison Dupont is the classic example of this style and is widely available. The Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale is a great choice from the new-to-Seattle brewery.

Any Biere de Garde – These complex beers are perfect complitments to dishes with strong herbal components (such as stuffing) and help to refresh the pallet. Sadly, I don’t have much experience with this style. I’m going to head to a local bottle shop tomorrow and ask them to suggest something. The Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Mars is fantastic, but I am not sure that is in stores at the moment.

Elysian The Wise ESB – If you’re looking for a more hop-forward beer for dinner, this would be a good option. There is enough sweet malt to go along with the roasted flavors of the turkey. I had this last year and was happy with the pairing.

North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – This would be a fantastic choice to pair with dessert, especially pumpkin pie. It has lots of roasted malt with a dry, smooth finish.

If you’re looking for something a bit more unusual or festive, I’ll throw out a few suggestions as well. If you’re looking for something fruity, may I suggest a cranberry beer? Unibroue (one of my all time favorite breweries) makes a cranberry beer called Éphémère (Cranberry.) You can also find a cranberry lambic (though it’s a pretty loose use of the word lambic) in the Samuel Adams Holiday Pack.

Or maybe you just don’t have any more room for dessert. Instead of a piece of pumpkin pie, why not that pumpkin beer that you’re still holding onto? Even after a big holiday meal, there’s always room for beer. Maybe you’ll be lucky and you’ll find some Schlafly or O’Fallon Pumpkin beer at your local grocery store.

Also, don’t be afraid to use some beer in your recipes as well. A Belgian dark strong would be absolutely fantastic in your turkey gravy. Where a recipe calls for wine, maybe give beer a shot instead. Plus, it’s always fun to have a little beer while you’re cooking dinner.

Whatever you decide to do for the holiday, make sure you have a great time and be sure to stay safe.