As soon as I saw this I knew I had found the perfect beer for pairing with Thanksgiving dinner. Based out of Plymouth, MA, Mayflower Brewing Company has been putting out some fantastic yet under the radar brews for nearly a decade now, giving me all the more reason to pick this up on sight.
Beer Name: Thanksgiving Ale
Brewer: Mayflower Brewing Company
Style: Old Ale/Strong Ale
Description: Part of the brewery’s limited release Cooper Series, this seasonal offering was brewed with “a rich array of barley and rye malts” before getting aged on toasted oak. After I got this beer home, I noticed a stamp on the neck that said Gobble Til U Wobble 2015; apparently I picked up a vintage bottle without realizing. Since it seemed like the kind of thing that would hold up well, I stayed optimistic. I forget how much I paid, but I am almost certain the bomber was less than $10.
Appearance: The body had a brown/dark caramel color with reddish highlights if the light hit it just right. A thick bubbly head formed with the pour and gradually settled down to a thin layer of off-white foam.
Smell: A swirling mixture of sweet, toasted, and grainy malts.
Taste: The beer started out with grainy malts which were quickly joined by a sweetness reminiscent of raisins, dark fruit, and caramel/toffee and backed up by a little kick of rye. Towards the end of the sip there was a rum-like booziness that finished off with a distinct oak barrel presence. When first poured I found the oak taste near the upper limits of my (admittedly low) preference zone, but as the beer warmed up it blended in really well with the other flavors, creating a delicious overall experience. The alcohol was a bit noticeable, enough so that I would have believed someone if they said the beer was a percentage point or two higher.
Mouthfeel: Medium to thick bodied, the beer maintained a smooth and almost creamy feeling despite a rather moderate carbonation level.
Hype: Another beer I bought with only my own hopes and expectations in mind. I probably wasn’t going to find a more thematically appropriate brew for the day, but having it comes from a local brewery with a great track record was icing on the cake.
Overall: An excellent beer to sip on after a hearty meal on a cold New England night. I felt like this kept getting better the longer it sat in the glass, which was ideal since it wasn’t really the sort of thing you can drink quickly. Don’t know what this year’s release is like, but this brew tasted great after one year in the bottle. I also really enjoyed sitting down with a malt-forward offering after going on a bit of a hop spree the past month or so. Definitely a nice change of pace.