As we enter another holiday season, with Thanksgiving only a few days away, every lawyer faces three inevitable questions: (1) Will I hit my billables/collections by year-end; (2) Who in my extended family is going to ask for legal advice completely outside by expertise (no, Uncle Frank, I don’t think you can sue your neighbor for “being a Jimmy Buffett fan”); and (3) What beverages will be available to help me survive question #2 (seriously, Frank, “intentional infliction of Cheeseburgers in Paradise” is not a thing, I don’t care what you found on Yahoo Answers…)?
Well, rest easy, my fellow BAL-ers (members of the BAL? we’re still taking suggestions for naming the fandom). We’ve got a wonderful list of stellar beers for this year’s festivities. Because no matter what you argue about at Thanksgiving, or who you visit, you should never come empty-handed (and please remember to deliver courtesy copies for the host). Enjoy these five quality recommendations, and please leave your own ideas in the comments. Cheers!
For The Managing Partner (Dinner Host)
Pliny the Elder (American Imperial IPA) – Russian River Brewing Company
The host always deserves the best. They likely spent all day (or multiple days) preparing the house, hiding all the junk and digging the extra card table and chairs out of the garage for the kids to use. And they did it all to create an inviting atmosphere for you. Show them you appreciate the effort by bringing them one of the greatest IPAs out there. Exceptionally balanced, full of hops, and yet wonderfully smooth on the palette. If beer had an equivalent to the Cravath scale (don’t @ me, Milbank), it would be the Pliny scale (also don’t @ me, Dogfish Head fans). It’s not the only white-shoe IPA, and there are admittedly a lot of great competitors, but it was one of the first to really drive the market. So do the right thing and bring a couple of these for whomever’s home you’re invading.
For the Senior Paralegal (The Chef)
Stickee Monkey, 2018 Vintage (Belgian Quadruppel) – Firestone Walker Brewing Company
The only person who (maybe) deserves a holiday beer bonus more than the host is the chef. If you’ve never been the chef for Thanksgiving, it is hard to appreciate how much effort it takes to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. The chef is like a senior paralegal finishing trial prep. They know the drill, they know it is going to be an all-day affair, and they know you probably won’t fully appreciate the effort. Let them know that you see them and reward their commitment with a beer that will last through the fifth turkey-basting. This limited release is a wonderful representation of a Belgian Quad, with rich, full flavor and enough weight to allow for a slow and comfortable drinking experience. Hand this off to the chef as a sign of respect and gratitude and then get out of the kitchen, also as a sign of respect and gratitude. Seriously, stop standing in the kitchen, it disrupts the work flow.
For the Junior Associate (The Workaholic Cousin)
Therapist (American Imperial IPA) – Dust Bowl Brewing Company
This cousin worked all day the day before Thanksgiving. They will also work all day the day after Thanksgiving. In between, they deserve a break, maybe someone to listen to them gripe a little about deadlines and opposing counsel? No? Ok, well, how about the next best thing? Dust Bowl’s Therapist Double IPA may not be able to get you centered or practicing mindfulness, but it will definitely get your attention. At 100+ IBUs, this one is just as lovably bitter as the poor junior associate reviewing the 1,000th email this week for those magic “relevant” words. Give this to the poor kid (and maybe the names of a few reasonably-priced e-discovery vendors) and tell them that it gets better (well, sort of).
For the Cross-Border Corporate Attorney (The Late-Night Black Friday Deal Hunter)
Night Owl (Pumpkin Ale) – Elysian Brewing Company
Some people don’t operate on a normal schedule. Maybe they have to stay available for clients in East Asia or Western Europe. Maybe they still believe in prepping for Black Friday door-busters (is that really still a thing?). Maybe they just hate to sleep. Whatever the reason, there’s always one relative that wants to stay up way too late after Thanksgiving Dinner and tell war stories of all their crazy international adventures while refreshing the Barney’s website looking for deals (R.I.P., you retail legend). And late night talks on this holiday warrant a beer with a little pumpkin pie flair. Enter Night Owl Pumpkin Ale. This medium-amber ale is brewed with a heavy dose pumpkin meat, pulp, and seeds – so much so that it averages to about 7 lbs of pumpkin per barrel. That makes the beer actually 5.3% pumpkin by volume, almost equal to it’s 6.7% alcohol content. It’s a dessert in a bottle, but not in the obnoxious way. Instead, this beer is a semi-sweet treat perfect for closing out the evening, whenever you decide that is.
For the Senior Associate (Game Day Fan)
Apocalypse IPA (Northwest West Coast-style IPA) – 10 Barrel Brewing Co.
Lots of people are focused on the food, the decor, the atmosphere of Thanksgiving, looking forward to whatever is new this year. Others have been doing it for decades and are happy to fall into a tradition. But a few are in-between and are focused on another tradition that can’t keep going forever, the joy of Thanksgiving football. Yes, they accept that football may have an expiration date, that eventually the sport will have to evolve to something more viable to survive in the long-term (or go in-house). But for now, they revel in the dominant sport of the modern American age. And like football, 10 Barrel’s Apocalypse IPA may be too glorious for its own good. At 65 IBUs and 6.8% ABV, this beer should be a slow drinker. However, the exceptional balance of four hops with citrus and pine notes makes this beer dangerously easy to drink and the accumulation of minor contact with this beverage may leave you a little worse for wear the next day. But there’s no denying how enjoyable it is, much like the games that’ll be on the flat screen all day.