Over on the podcast we discussed why Saison Dupont is the ur-Thanksgiving beerpairing, though hey, dark lagers, other saisons, and even sours work well. Cider, too. Acid cuts fat! That being said, we’re not here to yuck anyone’s yums, and if you want a Coors Light, or a hard seltzer, or a regular seltzer, go nuts!

Left unexplored over on the DC Beer Show is the dessert portion of the meal, but worry not, we’ve got you covered. What goes well with pies of all kinds, shapes, and sizes? Why it’s stout. What follows is a very non-comprehensive roundup of area stouts. Cheers!

3 Stars Mallratz – Pastry stout. Want some dessert with your dessert? How about an imperial stout brewed with the best smelling things in the mall: cinnamon buns and cinnamon sugar pretzels. It’s a collaboration with 18th Street Brewing out of Indiana, is 8.5% alcohol by volume, and contains lactose. Pecan pie with a snifter of this? Yes, please.

mallratz imperial pastry stout

Astro Lab Woolly Jumper – Dry stout. Towards the lower gravity end of the spectrum, here’s a 6% ABV stout with notes of roasted malts and milk chocolate. Keep it simple, pair it with pumpkin pie.

The Bruery/Horus Churriosity – Pastry stout. Two breweries that know their way around high-gravity adjunctified stouts form like Voltron to bring you this one, which, punnily enough, mimics the flavor of churros. 10% ABV, contains lactose. Pair with: anything chocolate.


DC Brau Wake Up in the Future – Imperial stout. A few years ago the Brau crew did a blind tasting of imperial stouts to figure out where a potential Brau offering would fit in. The clear winner was Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout, and Brau’s take is similarly massive, clocking in at 15% ABV. Notes of vanilla, tobacco, and leather from bourbon barrel aging, along with a bit of marshmallow, too. But wait, there’s more! Brau will sell you a three-year vertical of this in a 4-pack; a 2018, a 2019, and two 2020s. Want to see if aging beer in a can has any effects? Here’s a fun science experiment. Pair with: sweet potato pie, please!

Denizen’s Nocciola and Chapless Horseman – Baltic porter and imperial stout, respectively. A bourbon barrel aged Baltic porter, with hazelnut flavoring added for a bit of Nutella along with notes of dark dried fruits and whiskey. At 7.5% ABV it’s one of the easier-going barrel aged choices. Meanwhile, Horseman is one of the more underrated local options for a barrel aged imperial stout. 9.1% ABV.

Guinness Gingerbread and Imperial Stouts – Imperial stouts. When you think stouts, you think of Guinness, yes? The Baltimore brewery has two imperial stouts for the holidays, both aged in bourbon barrels. The Gingerbread Spice Imperial Stout is 11% ABV, and “was brewed with allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then aged in bourbon barrels. Pair the stout this holiday season with roasted pork with fig, vanilla panna cotta, or crème brûlée.” The unadjuncted Imperial Stout is 10.3% and the brewery recommends a chocolate pairing.

Lost Rhino Shooter McMunn’s – Irish-style dry stout. Like Guinness, only local, and the winner of multiple Great American Beer Festival medals in the Irish-style dry stout category. It’s 4% ABV, so you can start early and have yourself a proper session. Pair with: pre-gaming, gaming, post-gaming.

Other Half Secret Cheesecake Society – Pastry stout. DC’s newest brewery picks up right where they left off in New York, with a 12.5% monster that’s “blasted with Cacao Nibs, Coconut, Pecans, Vanilla, Cream Cheese and graham cracker.” Woof. This is a collab with Eighth State Brewing out of South Carolina, and by the way, Other Half will now deliver it to you inside the District. Try it with pumpkin pie, or pour it over the pie, there are no rules!

Oliver Ales Speed of Darkness – Imperial stout. British import Steve Jones is no longer with the Baltimore brewery, but this is his creation, a classic take on a Russian imperial stout. The American twist is bourbon barrel aging. 10% ABV and should go well with chocolate, pecan, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes.

Rocket Frog S’mall Business Stout – Milk stout. As you may have guessed from the name, this mimics the flavor of s’mores, and at 7.5% it won’t overwhelm any dessert you pair it with. It was brewed in collaboration with small, independent beer stores in Northern Virginia, thus also pairs well with Small Business Saturday and Small Brewery Sunday. Contains lactose. Want more of a kick? Barrel-aged barleywine Shame and Torment is also available, clocking in at 10.8%.

Sankofa Cocoa Coast – Milk stout. A little bit of milk sugar and a little bit of cacao nibs create a smaller version–7%–of a pastry stout and honor the chocolate production of West Africa. Sweet potato, pumpkin, and pecan pies would all work here.

Silver Branch Endless Odyssey – Imperial stout. Triple your pleasure with one base beer and two variants. Regular Endless Odyssey is a 10.5% ABV beast that’s best described as British-style, meaning notes of toffee and dried dark fruits like figs and dates. The Endless Joy version ups the alcohol by volume just a wee bit and tastes more like–surprise!–an Almond Joy. Want more of a whiskey kick? The barrel-aged version, also 11%, took a six-month long nap in A. Smith Bowman bourbon barrels.

So there you have it. Go forth, shop local, shop small, and be safe this Thanksgiving. From all of us at DC Beer, happy Thanksgiving!