From Beer to There: Cabernet Franc and the Belgian Dubbel

derek ommegang

It’s the most wonderful time of the yearrrr…

No, not Christmas, although it seems to be forcing itself upon us earlier and earlier each year. It’s Thanksgiving. The holiday that’s most important to me. It is fall’s grand finale, a time to celebrate and be thankful for our loved ones and all the blessings in our lives. We do so by stuffing ourselves to the brim with food and drink. I can close my eyes and taste the stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce and turkey. *Wipes drool from beard.*  I’m a big foodie and love imbibing with friends and family. This is my holiday, people!

So in this edition of From Beer to There, it’s only right that we talk about Thanksgiving pairings. This means introducing you to one of my all-time favorite North Fork varietals, Cabernet Franc, and one of the beer world’s most classic styles, the Belgian Dubbel.

Cabernet Franc originated in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions of France with plantings dating back to 17th century. It became widely used in Bordeaux in blends with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere and Malbec. Due to its ability to thrive in cooler climates, however, it can also now be found as a varietal wine in the cooler regions of most major winemaking countries in the world. This is true of Long Island’s North Fork, where we’re now crafting some distinct and highly prized Cabernet Francs.

Lieb’s Cabernet Franc has been a favorite of mine since I first tasted the 2013 vintage. Our winemaker, Russell, produces wines in a clean, fruit-forward style that’s super appealing to me. Our 2015 Lieb Reserve Cabernet Franc is a stunner and boasts flavors of red raspberry, cherry, violet and a hint of black pepper spice. Medium tannin and a refreshing acidity make it a perfect complement to a hearty Thanksgiving meal. The acid will cut through your buttery stuffing while the sour cherry notes will perfectly match the fruitiness of your cranberry.

At first, I thought likening our red wines to beer would be a stretch, but in thinking of a beer to compare to Cab Franc, Belgian style Dubbels jumped right out at me. This spicy and fruity amber ale pours hazy and almost reddish with a strong head that will lace the glass as it diminishes. On the nose, you’ll get caramel, malt, cherries and dried fruit. Like our Cab Franc, cherry and pepper are present on the palate and serves as a perfect complement to traditional Thanksgiving fare. An added bonus is this beer’s high ABV which should help to put you in excellent holiday spirits around the family members you could do without.

For the best stateside Belgian style Dubbel, there is no better brewery to turn to than the good people of Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, NY. They are a small slice of Belgium located right here in the USA. Owned primarily now by Belgian brewing giant, Duvel Moortgat, their Belgian style craft beers are unparalleled. Their dubbel, Ommegang Abbey Ale, will pair so well with your Thanksgiving dinner that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it for years.

To me, this really is the most wonderful time of the year. It is a time of reflection and gratitude, and an excuse to indulge in all the things that tickle our taste buds. Lieb Cabernet Franc and Brewery Ommegang Abbey Ale will grace my table this year, and I’ll be toasting to great friends, family and beer and wine. There’s so much to be thankful for!

Cheers!

Derek Lustig

Tasting Room Associate & Resident Craft Beer Guy