Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

What beer did you did drink on Thanksgiving? I went Belgian, sort of

By William Brand
Friday, November 28th, 2008 at 1:29 pm in Uncategorized.

So what did you drink with your Thanksgiving turkey?

My plan was to pull out a bottle of 2006 Barleywine from Schooner’s in Antioch, CA.  But while plowing through my beer fridge, I found a bottle of  Stone Cali-Belgique and a bottle of Ename Tripel Belgian Ale, so I  abandoned my vision of rich and sweet and grabbed them.

The Stone Cali-Belgigique IPA paired nicely with our brined turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, brown ale-laced stuffing and a sweet-sour cranberry dish my wife’s family has been making for a couple of generations.

It’s 6.9 percent, 77 IBUs; the malt grist and hopping is fairly identical to Stone’s IPA.  Hops, according to Stone, are Magnum and Centennials and it was dry-hopped with piney, citrusy Chinooks.

But it was fermented with a Belgian yeast strain, so the beer is utterly different. It’s a pale golden color and drinking it along with the turkey and cranberries, it seemed to have a tiny bit of sweetness and a quite tart finish. A lovely beer indeed and it worked well for Thanksgiving.

Our daughter’s friend, Dave, was unimpressed, so I cracked open the Ename Tripel, a strong, 8.5 percent abbey ale from the Roman brewery in Mater, East Flanders, Belgium. It’s a family-owned brewery that traces ownership back 14 generations to 1545.

The beer’s an unfiltered, pale golden color with a spicy nose. Taste, following the Cali-Beligique,  was somewhat sweet, a typically  very drinkable abbey ale. It paired just

Roman Ename Tripel looks enticing in this shot taken by a blogger at

Roman Ename Tripel looks enticing in this shot taken by a blogger at

about perfectly with Thanksgiving.

I know; I know. I should have gone all-American with the beer.  I had good intentions

including the barleywine and Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head… But those Belgian and Belgianesque beers are so enticing…

So what did anyone else drink with Thanksgiving? Comments welcome. Let’s talk.

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  • Drew

    Nice post! I had a can of Oskar Blues “Gordon” IPA.

  • Paul

    We had “Damnation” from Russian River. Not exactly a good name for Thanksgiving beer, but excellent! Even a few wine drinkers said, “wow, this doesn’t taste like beer.” Converting them slowly.

  • EastBayBeerGeek

    Where are you finding Cali-Belgique!??? I have been looking for over a month. Nobodys got it…

  • The Duke Of Dunkel

    Bitch Creek XX. And thanks to the flip top, the leftover went just as well with the leftovers this afternoon.

  • MoragaMike

    The pre-dinner beer was Sierra Nevada Celebration — a winner that they should make year-round. Then I had a little white wine with dinner. The nightcap was the remainder of a bottle Rogue 2007 Old Crustacean Barleywine that I had opended the previous night. While the ceramic swingtop bottle is fancy (and pricey), I thought that the contents were just mediocre.

  • Thomas

    Why “all-American” beer? American at it’s definition is a mixing pot, so enjoy the diversity I say. I had a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau before dinner, Russian River Supplication with the meal and Stone 12th Anni for dessert, yum!

  • Ashton

    Kona Pipeline for the ‘why am I up, again?’ portion of the day (went well with nuts and pie crust strips), Drakes Imperial Stout for the heavy lifting (gotta cut that gravy somehow), and Hitachino Real Ginger Brew for desert (wonderful with pumpkin and mince pie). Then Bulleit Bourbon in Eggnog for afters.

  • Scott B.

    Damnation and some IPA homebrews before dinner. Anchor Holiday Ale and Jack Russell’s Apple Harvest Ale with dinner.

  • jeff

    Purchased the Cali-Belgique at Monument Liquors in Concord.

    Had Sierra Nevada Harvest before and during dinner. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Deschuttes the Abyss with the Chocolate Mousse and other heavy desserts

  • Mr. Footstones

    I bought a bottle of The Bruery’s Autumn Maple to go with Thanksgiving originally…

    I had sent my mom to pick up some bottles of Firestone Walker XII for my friends and me (1 each) on the release because I am away for school, but she surprised me with an extra bottle she had gotten for us to split on Thanksgiving. What a good mom.

  • William Brand

    To East Bay Beer Geek…I bought my Cali=Belgique about a week ago at Monument Wine & Spirits, 2250 Monument Blvd. (Just north of Oak Grove Road in the Safeway shopping center. (925) 682-1514 It’s a small, but mighty store.

  • Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    Thanksgiving Day started with Stone Vertical 08.08.08. I imagine this is quite similar to the Belgique in style. After the stomach was filled and stuffed, Rogue’s Chocolate Stout acted as a nice dessert and helped sette the stomach.

    We do a second turkey with the in-laws on Saturday, so right now I have some Big Bky Winter Ale in the fridge, Brown Shugga, and some TJ’s Oktoberfest which I’m using to baste the turkey. Speaking of which….time to baste. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Wes

    Turkey Day beer consumption consisted of homebrew Pumpkin Spiced Ale, served in a nice chalice. This was brewed last month, and only bottled about two weeks ago, so it has some time to mature. Still, the spice is good, and the dark ale side of things compliments the cool weather.

  • William Brand

    Wow, what a great selection of beer. Belgium to America to homebrew.
    Personally, last night, I finished off the Ename Tripel, which I found mildly spicy and very drinkable. It lacks the complexity of some Belgium Tripels, but I’ll certainly drink it againg. Then I finished off the Stone Cali-Belgique, which on the second day was dry some tasty herbal notes, I guess, from the yeast.

  • Dave (Beer Geek Shop)

    Mario hit it on the head, there is very little difference between the 08.08.08 and the Cali-Belgique. Kind of disappointing.

    For me it was Schneider Hopfen Weisse, Alpine Ichabod, Bruery Autumn Maple, and some Ten Fidy to cap it off. Yum. I actually drank the second half of the Ichabod the next morning, it was still out on the table, and I liked it more on Friday than I did on Thursday!

  • Rich Walt

    Full Sail Amber Ale. I was traveling and staying with in-laws who don’t drink. It was available at TJ’s. Certainly went down nice with family hospitality and plenty of traditional food.

  • William Brand

    Full Sail Amber’s an excellent beer. I like it myself. Sometimes, I’ll drink something like that or perhaps Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing and realize what great beers they are. In this era of Pliny the Elder and Bourbon County Stout and the Abyss, it’s easy to forget the great ones that are merely 5 percent.

  • William Brand

    Love Schneider Hopfen Weisse. Wish there were more of it around. But sadly, it’s been snatched up. Bruery from Los Angeles, right? They’re starting to make a name for themselves. Ditto Alpine, which is somewhere out of San Diego, I believe. Great selection Dave.

  • Joe

    We went with Anchor Holiday Ale 2008 ( ) and also cracked open a Temptation from Russian River.

  • Paul S

    Went with a few…trying to please a crowd with different tastes. Two interesting ones from my selections, the first was Sierra Nevada Wet Hop Harvest Ale

    and for fun, Bison Organic Pumpkin Ale, which I think was the last of its kind for this season.

  • Kevin

    Had a few buddies over for Thanksigiving and besides the usual beer, we opened up a few “special” bottles… Started with the Full Sail 21 DooppelBock, a few hours later gave the Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout a try and then with dinner we had the Firestone Walker 12. All three were fantastic.

  • ST-Hops

    I served Belgian Abby, Trader Joe’s 2007 (brewed by Unibreu). It was great with turkey and stuffing.

  • William Brand

    I just bought the new one. Intend to try it tonight. They’re made by Unibroue in Quebec. A brewer there told me the recipe is similar, but much simpler than the Unibroue annual, the new one, I believe, is 16. Will post how I like it.

  • craig

    i was at “back street brewing” in la quinta…they had an “asian holiday” beer on…it was a “wit” beer brewed with was very…VERY…well done and was a holiday beer that went perfectly with the 86 degrees weather…

  • William Brand

    OK Craig, I’ll have to try Back Street Brewing next time I’m in La Quinta. Have relatives there.