DULUTH — With Thanksgiving happening this week, I thought amidst the pandemic I would write about things I am (and hopefully you can be) thankful for in clearly the strangest of times. I wish you all great health and a wonderful 2021. The vaccine cannot come fast enough.

Last week, the state on Minnesota closed beer halls and taprooms, my own and that of many friends. So, the first thing I’m thankful for is the fact we were able to open outside and inside for months starting at the end of June. I’m also thankful for one of the nicest, stellar summers on record!

I’m also thankful to all the folks who found ways to stay open and support each other in the area.

I’m thankful for being able to keep a positive attitude so far during this pandemic — not an easy task. I’m thankful for the snow and the beauty that our region sports. I’m thankful for long walks, and I’m thankful for the holiday season. I’m very grateful to our health care workers, first responders, law enforcement, front line grocery store workers and everyone who keeps us keeping on. Watch for announcements in December for some thank-yous coming back to you.

I have been moved by the kindness of so many people during this past eight months; you know who you are, and I thank you. Kindness is a consistent and available commodity during these times.

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I would be remiss if I did not thank all my colleagues at the beer hall, and especially my family, as none of it would be possible without them. Now that I got a little misty-eyed, let's go to the fun part: beer.

Beers for every occasion

These beers will go with various activities that might be on your upcoming docket.

  • Thanksgiving: Cranberry ale
  • Pizza night: American pale ale
  • Birth of a child: Czech pilsner
  • Two hours of uninterrupted reading for fun: Grapefruit shandy
  • Watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer": Session IPA
  • Decorating the tree: Light ale
  • Sunday brunch: Light wheat ale
  • Christmas dinner: Wheat wine
  • Opening presents: Light session British ale
  • Stargazing: Oatmeal stout
  • Meeting your weight-loss goal: American light lager
  • Shower beer: Cream ale
  • Negative results on your latest COVID-19 test: IPA
  • Your youngster makes his or her team (if sports go on): Cherry lambic
  • Post-workout beer: Hefeweizen
  • Post shoveling beer: Celebration Ale (the only beer I’ll name by brand) Sierra Nevada, probably the greatest beer in America

And this Thursday …

I’ll close by highlighting some beers that go well with the traditional Thanksgiving meal. As we can’t be together this year, maybe you can Zoom with your loved ones and raise a toast.

  • Turkey: Brown ale
  • Salad: Sour beer
  • Mash potatoes: Light lager
  • Cranberries: Cranberry ale
  • Stuffing: Porter
  • Squash: Cider
  • Pumpkin pie: Imperial stout
  • Ice cream: Stout

Happy holidays to you all, hang in there. Prost!

Dave Hoops lives and works in Duluth and is a veteran brewer and beer judge. Contact him at dave@hoopsbrewing.com.