Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Brouwerij Rodenbach Rodenbach Alexander – Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
Each Thanksgiving, I search for a bottle of something special to share with my family members who aren’t beer drinkers. Something approachable, yet challenging; a beer with a story behind it; something rare or limited. This year, I’ve found this in Rodenbach Alexander 2016. This foederbier is a blend of two-thirds of two-year-old sour ale with one-third young ale macerated with sour cherries. It offers the classic leathery, tart sourness Rodenbach is famous for, balanced with just the right amount of cherry sweetness. And brewed in honor of one of the founding brothers of the reputed Belgian brewery, the beer is as rich in history as it is in flavor.
Fulton Brewing Co. Specter – Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
Love them or hate them, hazy IPAs are having quite the heyday. Characterized by its opaque appearance and softer mouthfeel, the style was popularized by breweries in the Northeast part of the country but has started to gain traction locally. Though initially reluctant to embrace the trend, Fulton’s head brewer Mikey Salo has produced an archetypal example of NEIPA. Specter is brewed with two-row barley, oats, and wheat, and is thrice dry-hopped with Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, and Nelson Sauvin hops. This deliciously flawed beer presents aromas of citrus and grapefruit, a creamy mouthfeel, slight hop bitterness, and a robust, juicy tropical finish.
Spilled Grain Brewhouse SMaSH Series #5 Pale Ale – John Garland, Senior Editor
I’ve been getting burned out on American pale ales. So many APAs are too bitter or otherwise unbalanced, and that’s what made Spilled Grain’s SMaSH #5 a revelation. The malt is Chevallier, one of the world’s oldest malting barleys, which delivers a pure and robust biscuit-like base note. The hops are EXP #07270 from Hopsteiner, an experimental variety that brings tons of pithy grapefruit and lemon to the finish. A straightforward, weighty, and balanced pale ale. Based on this remarkable effort, I can’t wait to visit Annandale to try SMaSH #6 (Best Malz Red X + Denali hops) when it’s out in mid-November.
Vikre Distillery Øvrevann Aquavit – Maddie Greene, Social Media Coordinator
My favorite time of year is upon us. The holidays, filled with family, friends, and food, are complemented by the cocktails we serve at our get-togethers. I am always in search of something light that I can sip on after eating too many of my grandma’s mashed potatoes. Cue Øvrevann. This light and refreshing aquavit is the perfect find. With the slightest hint of citrus, I can sip it on its own or use in place of gin in a cocktail without feeling weighed down with a heavy cider or eggnog. My favorite cocktail to serve during the holidays? A Swedish Mule. Øvrevann Aquavit, ginger beer, a splash of cranberry juice, and a squeeze of lime—light, refreshing, and festive.
Domaine des Terres de Chatenay Régnié 2015 – Kate Murphy, Assistant Editor
A roasted, succulent turkey with savory sage-infused stuffing. Buttery potatoes doused in rich, peppery gravy. Spiced slices of pumpkin pie. Yes. All of the above. But with the autumnal flavors and textures that is Thanksgiving, what’s the ideal wine to serve? For me, I’m going French with a bright garnet vino from Beaujolais, the southernmost region of Burgundy. Soft tannins and mouthwatering bursts of acidity play alongside youthful fruit expressions, reminiscent of crushed raspberries, cherries, and quite appropriate for the holiday, delicate hints of tart cranberries. A welcomed guest at the table, this wine won’t compete against the turkey and all of its trimmings.