That nip in the air is a reminder that we’ll be doing most of our nipping indoors pretty soon, and enjoying heartier brews and comfort foods. All of our picks for November make delicious and tasteful additions to your holiday table, and nothing says good taste quite like a considered selection of craft beers.
Left Hand Milk Stout
Left Hand Brewing Co started in December of 1990 with a small homebrewer’s kit that co-founder Dick Doore received as a Christmas present. When Dick hooked up with old pal (and later co-founder) Eric Wallace, they began experimenting with small batches for family and friends, leaning on Dick’s years of brewing experience and Eric’s world-wide travel to craft exceptional brews. Twenty-three years later, Left Hand Brewing is the 39th largest craft brewery in the U.S. with a growing fan base that stretches throughout Europe and Japan.
Left Hand is famous for their Nitro series and America’s Stout, and the brew that tops many lists is Left Hand’s Milk Stout, a dark and delicious milk stout that will change your perception about what a stout can be. Milk stouts have more unfermented sugars than other stouts, lending more sweetness and body, nicely balancing the roasted notes. Milk sugar in your stout is like cream in your coffee.
Lagunitas Sucks is a double IPA brewed with a cereal medley of all four brewing grains: barley, wheat, oats, and rye. It has a big, creamy caramel mouthfeel with fruit loopy hop flavors like grapefruit, melon, lemon zest and a dry spiciness.
Sucks was originally brewed in 2011 when Lagunitas decided not to brew their revered seasonal Brown Shugga due to capacity constraints. Everyone said Lagunitas sucked, so they decided to brew a small run of this new beer to mark the occasion. The beer was such a hit, they changed the holiday-themed logo and made it a year-round beer. Look for the original Santa Cookie Sucks label to make its return this year for Lagunitas’s first-ever seasonal 12pk release timed for the holidays.
Sucks pairs well with funky blue and aged cheeses, creamy soups, and spicy and breaded apps like oysters, corn dogs, and wings. But if you really want a treat, try it in (and with!) this outstanding Mac and Cheese recipe:
Sucks Beer Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups Macaroni, cooked according to package directions, and drained
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- 8 oz Whole milk
- 8 oz Lagunitas Sucks beer
- 8 oz Freshly grated cheddar cheese
- 4 oz Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ tsp Paprika
- Pinch of black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- ½ cup (or a little more) Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat a saucepan over medium high heat and add butter. Once melted and sizzling, whisk in flour to create a roux and cook until bubbly and golden, about 2 minutes. Add milk and beer into saucepan whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens. Stir in pepper, paprika and nutmeg.
- Add noodles to a casserole dish, then pour cheese over top, mixing gently to combine. Top with panko bread crumbs and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve Coconut Rum Barrel Stout
Coconut compliments the roasted chocolate flavor of Dragon’s Milk Coconut Rum Barrel Stout, coaxing flavors that are reminiscent of lazy summer days. Rum barrels add a tropical character and a distinctive twist on tradition.
Coconut Rum Barrel Stout’s coconut and chocolate notes make it an ideal ingredient in desserts. Try our recipe for this Rum Barrel Stout on your holiday table. It’ll be an intriguing and delicious addition to the traditional desserts your guests are expecting!
Rum Barrel Stout Cake
- 2 cups Dragon’s Milk Coconut Rum Barrel Stout
- ½ lb Unsalted butter
- 1½ cups Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 cups All-purpose flour
- 4 cups Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Baking soda
- 1½ tsp Kosher salt
- 4 Large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/3 cups Sour cream
- 2 cups Heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb Semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Beer barrel bourbon
- Dark brown sugar, as needed
- Chocolate shavings (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of three buttered 8-inch pans with parchment paper.
- Bring the stout and butter to a simmer, whisking in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream on low. Add the stout and flour mixtures while beating on low into an even consistency. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
- Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 35-50 minutes. When done, set the cake pans on a wire rack to cool.
- Ganache Icing: In a double-boiler or a stainless bowl over steam, melt the chocolate in cream and bourbon. Whisk until smooth. Taste and sweeten as necessary with dark sugar. Cover and refrigerate until icing reaches spreadable consistency.
- Putting It All Together: Build a 3-layer cake by spreading icing between layers. Once built, continue to cover sides and top of entire cake. Top with chocolate shavings or other garnish.
New Belgium Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale
New Belgium is teaming up again with Ben & Jerry’s to make a follow-up to last year’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. This year’s offering is Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, and generous amounts of chocolate, brown sugar and vanilla make it deliciously decadent – sweet to start, a little bitter, accompanied by the delicious taste of cookie dough to a mellow sweet finish.
Both New Belgium and Ben & Jerry’s are registered Beneficial or “B Corporations.” The partnership once again is raising awareness about climate change and climate action, and this year $50,000 in proceeds will benefit Protect Our Winters (POW), a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness around climate change.
This is a brain-freezing no-brainer: Ice Cream Float. Just put two scoops of Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Ice Cream into a pint glass or large beer chalice and pour New Belgium Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale slowly over the top.