In the U.S., it’s now Thanksgiving. Americans use this time for eating and drinking and giving thanks, refreshing Amazon constantly for the latest deals on televisions. A lot of people travel home for Thanksgiving or have family come in from out of town. And what does the Fervent Few do when they travel or see someone they haven’t seen in awhile? Well, they take them to the bars and breweries in their town, of course! So we asked them: what are you excited to see or show off over the holidays?
Brad: “I'm very excited about trying The Referend Bier Blendery, which is doing very cool spontaneously fermented beers in New Jersey. I also want to revisit Troon Brewing in NJ. I think they might be doing the best IPAs in NJ right now. If I could meet this guy and invest in him I would, because more people need to drink his beer. Also hopefully, then I might be able to check Magnify & Twin Elephant (both in NJ) when I'm staying with my in-laws.”
Caldwell Bishop: “I will be doing my last Friendsgiving this year, and am hoping to take a couple of growlers of Diamondback's latest beers down for the occasion. Also looking forward to waking up early on Friday to head to Harry Teet and get some BCBS with my friend.
December will be spent honeymooning along the Rhine, so I'm working on a list of places/beers/wines to try to find while there. So far, I just have Brouwerij 't IJ, Ueli, and Craftbeer Corner Coeln. Most intimidating will probably be picking out wine from Alsace.”
Alex Marino: “I'm heading back home to Memphis for Christmas. Unfortunately, Memphis is still catching up with the rest of the craft beer scene, so there's not a lot of great spots there. I'll definitely be bringing a couple growlers of Dovetail and some barrel-aged beers (I've got a couple BBA variants of Hailstorm's Vlad the Impaler I want to open). For Thanksgiving, I enjoy getting my girlfriend's brothers-in-law drunk, so I always bring something barrel-aged. Last year I had a bottle of Spiteful's BBA Malevolence Chocolate Caliente that was a huge hit. This year I've got some BBA Pollyanna Personal Chain Letter that I'm excited about. No matter what, it's gonna be a boozy holiday season.”
Rick Owens: “I’ll be home for the holidays and my brother and sister in-law from PA will be in town as well. Looking forward to taking them to some of the newly opened breweries in town. Mostly excited about Good Word Brewing in Duluth, GA. Owners are former Brick Store Pub employees who have converted their passion into a brewpub. The early beers they released at Brick Store were awesome, so looking forward to these guys opening in a larger format.”
Brian Welzbacher: “I’m going home for Turkey Day. Money is tight with our first kid on the way, but I’m hoping to hit Side Project and reserve a bottle of Beer:Barrel:Time, their new Imperial Stout and their newest Derivation batch. It's always fun to go home and share beers from around the OK, IL, and IN areas. More and more family members are keen on craft beer over wine lately.”
Jason Berg: “I make homebrew for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since I’m the one that travels, it is easier than trying to bring food for the couple-hour drive. This year, it’s a West Coast IPA (and a coffee variant) for Thanksgiving, and an English Porter (and coffee variant) for Christmas. I think I just realized my theme this year.
I usually end up drinking a little faster than my family ("This one is a sipper!" may be said about a 5% Blonde), so going out to the new bars and taprooms in my hometown is usually me drinking three pints while they nurse one. I might hit up one or two taprooms/brewpubs while in town this year—maybe grab a growler or some crowlers on my way out of town.”
Nick Yoder: “For Thanksgiving, my brothers and I will be having our traditional pumpkin beer blind tasting. This is thankfully almost certainly the last year of that as we've pretty much exhausted everything available in the vicinity. My brother-in-law will be home from Prague for a few weeks around Christmas, so I'll be getting to try some bottles he brings back from there and I'm planning to get him over to Transient while he's here. We also typically do a New Beer's Trip right around the 1st, hitting up several breweries in one of the nearby clusters, so we'll hopefully be able to squeeze that in. Possibly Kalamazoo or northwest Indiana.”
Zack Rothman: “I’m headed home to Jacksonville, Florida for the holidays. While I’m there I hope to check out Hyperion Brewing Company in downtown Jax. They’re doing some really unique stuff. Jacksonville has become a surprisingly great beer city and there seems to either be a new brewery opening or an old brewery expanding all the time. It took a while for the North Florida beer scene to catch up with South Florida, but it’s booming now. Anyone traveling to Jacksonville should definitely check out the Jax Ale Trail. Some cool local breweries are on the passport and you can get some local swag. Win-win!”
Matthew Modica: “I'm mostly alone for the holidays and I enjoy it. I'll cook dinner for my brother and likely open some Rodenbach Alexander, and let him find something odd in my cellar to pull out. Personally, these are the last days I ever actually want to think about pairing beer with food. I live in a large city, and have for many years. It's the only opportunity to be done with dinner, and head out to otherwise busy locations and treat them like your living room. The streets are dead, and there's a dulling quiet that is only matched twice a year.”
Kristen Foster: “I am headed back home to Maryland for Christmas and hoping to check out Diamondback in Baltimore. Thinking about it, I rarely hit beer bars or breweries when I go home. Beer always plays a big role in hanging out with my family, but generally involves opening beers at home.”
Mike Sardina: “For Christmas, I'll be diving headstrong into an extended visit to my two homes in California. First, I'll be visiting Northern California, the Bay Area, in mid-December. I'll be traveling with Hester and Noah (Bissell, of Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, where I currently work in Portland, ME). There, I'll be showing off my Bay Area favorites, we'll be visiting the boys at Cellarmaker, we'll stop over at The Rare Barrel, we'll head up to Santa Rosa to visit Russian River, and perhaps the most underrated brewer(ies) of all-time, Third Street and Moonlight. We'll be doing events at my favorite beer bar, City Beer Store, as well as The Hop Grenade. And of course, we will swig a (Blind) Pig at Toronado at 547 Haight.
Then, I'll be visiting family in North County San Diego, where I'll be eager to visit my old favorite standbys, Societe (of course), Modem Tones, Pizza Port, Benchmark Brewing, Alpine…. I'm also excited to check out some of the newer spots, too. That city has changed so much beer-wise since I've moved that I always find some surprises. It should be a nice holiday—some things old, some things new. Sorta the way it should be.”
Dave Nelson: “Heading to the in-laws in Wisconsin, which means as much New Glarus as I can drink, plus some Leinenkugel's Original. Can't wait.”
Shannon Vinson: “I’m heading to NYC for my Mom’s 50th and to visit my brother in Brooklyn in December. I’m going to try to plan it where I can trick her into going to Other Half, Proletariat, Brouwerij Lane, Threes Brewing, Folksbier, and/or Greenpoint Beer & Ales. I have this feeling we won’t be able to hit them all.”
Nick Naretto: ”‘My brother, who will be traveling from South Carolina, will be home for the holidays this year. His birthday is always the week of Thanksgiving, so we try and make it a point to do something special. I would normally have a list of breweries for us to visit, but a little over a year ago he was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Instead of dragging him to breweries where he can only drink the cider or wine they have, I remembered that the Pittsburgh area has a naturally gluten-free brewery (Aurochs Brewing Company). Their location is a little too far from home to visit during his short stay, but thankfully I can now get their beer at a few local stores. One night we plan to head to the city where there are plenty of great places to enjoy some gluten-free drinks. Maggie’s Farm Rum and The Allegheny Wine Mixer are on the short list, but we will see where the night takes us.”
Chris Sadler: “We’ve been going to my girlfriend’s parents in Kokomo, Indiana for Thanksgiving the last two years, and will be heading there again this year. While Kokomo does now have a brewery (Tin Man), I look forward to checking out the Indianapolis beer scene further (we fly in and out of Indy). So far, I’ve checked out the two big ones, Upland and Sun King. This time, I hope to hit a couple of the smaller ones that have been getting buzz: Deviate and Daredevil. A nice little treat on these trips has been discovering that a tiny, totally non-descript bar in the Indy airport usually has Zombie Dust bottles, as well as a surprisingly good IN tap selection.”
Want to tell us about your favorite spots when you go home for the holidays or a brewery back home you haven’t been to in a while? Join the Fervent Few and talk to a growing community of beer lovers, GBH fans, homebrewers, pro brewers, and more people from all different walks of life. Your support will help create more content like podcasts, photos, and news stories with an exhaustive amount of research behind them.