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Beersgiving: A new name for an old tradition of paying tribute to old friendships

Beersgiving, which is celebrated the day before Thanksgiving, is a pre-holiday holiday — one spent guzzling beer rather than gobbling turkey.

Haven’t heard of Beersgiving before? Neither had Hop Notes columnist Eric Strader until a few years ago. Strader said he first heard the name when he visited A Constant Spring in Goshen.

Strader said that Beersgiving is whatever you make it out to be. In fact, he said it’s not really about beer at all.

“Thanksgiving day is for family,” Strader said. “The night before is when you reconnect with your friends.”

People all over the country return home for Thanksgiving week, so it’s a good time for old friends to meet at the local watering hole and catch up. It’s something that Strader has been doing long before Beersgiving even got its name.

He used to travel around 88 miles from Holland, Mich. — where he studied at Hope College — to his hometown of Marshall, Mich., for Thanksgiving. And he would make the trip down to Winston’s, his local bar, where he’d meet his high school buddies.

“It’s about taking the cars from Mom and Dad and being with friends,” Strader said. “It’s about being out late.”

In conjunction with Beersgiving, Strader suggested three beers to bring with you as you travel back to your past, to give your old friends a taste of your new home.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Strader describes the nationally-ranked Michigan IPA as nicely carbonated with citrus and pine flavors. It has low alcohol-by-volume at 7 percent, which means you’ll still be able to hold a conversation and the steering wheel straight at the end of the night.

Founders Porter

Strader describes this second beer as having a more roasted flavor. The medium-bodied beer is not as carbonated or hoppy as the Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, but it’s creamy. He said the robust porter is a great beer to have on a cold night. It has a low alcohol-by-volume of 6.5 percent.

Stone Russian Imperial Stout

For something to really fight the cold, Strader recommends this stout because of its high alcohol-by-volume — 11 percent. The stout has more malt and a full-bodied flavor. Strader said there’s also hints of coffee and the roasted malt.

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