November is the perfect time to drink brown ale. The style’s toasty notes befit the dropping temperatures, shortening days, bare tree branches and, of course, the cold rain. It’s an ideal brew to sip while relaxing with friends or family after Thanksgiving dinner.
There are a number of high-quality brown ales that are widely available, including the beer of the month — Bender, brewed by the Surly Brewing Company.
Bender is sold in 16-ounce cans, making it excellent for pouring into a nonic, or imperial pint, glass. The color is medium mahogany brown. A finger or more of dense, shiny, light tan foam will dissipate very slowly and stick to the glass, creating short trails of lacing. The aroma is toasty and nutty, though also sweet and a touch fruity. It features scents of caramel, toffee, vanilla, cherry licorice, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, coffee and toasted nuts. Bender is brewed with oats, so the mouthfeel is full and smooth. The flavor is a delicious blend that mostly mirrors the aroma.
Alcohol Content: 5.1 percent ABV.
Food pairings: According to the Brewers Association’s handy-dandy pairing chart, brown ales like Bender pair well with roasted, smoked and grilled foods. Aged Gouda and Cheshire are recommended food pairings. For dessert, pair with almond or maple-walnut cake, pear fritters or cashew brittle.
Where to buy: Bender is available at most beer retailers.
Price: $11 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans; $2.80 for a single, 16-ounce can.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 209.