As noted previously, the wife and mother of our happy home is spending the week in Montana, assisting her parents after her Dad's recent heart surgery. My son and I were invited to spend Thanksgiving Day at the home of some dear, and generous, friends. We started our day with morning Mass, then headed out mid-day to enjoy Thanksgiving at my buddy Frank's home.
While the boys alternated between video games inside and basketball outside, Frank, Michelle, and I enjoyed good conversation while nibbling on dips and cheeses. Frank had recently returned from a trip to Tennessee, and as he often does when traveling, brought back several growlers of the local beer. So while we watched some unexciting football on TV we sampled three beers from The Blackhorse Pub & Brewery in Clarksville, TN.
First up was the Barnstormer Red. This Amber Ale pours a copper-red color with a very thin head. The aroma is caramel malt. The taste is also creamy caramel malt. Other than a faint citrus note, there is little hop profile. Barnstormer Red is a pretty basic session beer, and I would imagine it's a foundation beer at the brewpub.
Next we had the brewery's seasonal Nut Brown Ale. When Frank poured a couple of glasses I was immediately struck by how dark the beer was. In the aroma I picked up bitter chocolate and some nuttiness. The flavor was that of bitter chocolate, along with some roasted malt flavors. I didn't get as much sweet malt as I had expected in a brown ale. In fact, Frank and I initially wondered if the beers were mixed up and we were perhaps tasting a porter or stout. Despite the slightly unexpected flavor profile, this is a nice beer and one I enjoyed quite a bit.
The third growler contained the Coalminer's Stout. This beer poured very dark, with a thin beige head. The aroma is dark coffee and chocolate. The flavor is roasted coffee with some bitter hops that linger in the finish. I was somewhat reminded of an oatmeal stout. The mouthfeel is creamy with a moderately dry finish. Nothing too bitter or heavy, but a nice dry stout.
It's always fun to try out new beers, and it's certainly hard to beat fresh beer. While enjoying the Blackhorse beers I was thinking about the hundreds of small brewpubs around the country that are putting out fun beers. Beers that are probably known only to the local population. Trying a few of them out was certainly a fitting activity for the holiday celebration.
Oh, in case you're wondering, I brought along some Ommegang Hennepin Saison to drink with the traditional Thanksgiving feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetables. At home, later in the evening I enjoyed a relaxing glass of Tröegs Mad Elf Holiday Ale. I hope your Thanksgiving Day was filled with family, good friends, and good beer.