For Mike Simms, being in the restaurant industry was basically inevitable, but homebrewing and beer geekery was something all his own. A third-generation Southern California restaurateur (his grandfather and father founded spots like West Hollywood's French Quarter and the entire Mimi's Café chain), Simms discovered craft beer early and by the time he'd gotten married and moved to Manhattan Beach, his homebrewing habit was spilling out of the garage.
As the Simmzy's story goes, he needed to move the man cave and in 2009, he opened Manhattan Beach's first casual craft beer bar with his brother Chris (who started the Lazy Dog Café chain) and former Napa chef Anne Conness.
Since then, Simmzy's has opened another location in Long Beach's Belmont Shore and a third is planned for Venice. This is all in addition to opening the Tin Roof Bistro -- another Manhattan Beach favorite that evolved out of Mike and Conness' professional partnership--and the M.B. Post, where Simms is a partner.
Needless to say, Mike Simms is a busy guy. But he still always has time for a beer -- or five. We asked Simms what he would be drinking this Thanksgiving and he gave us a list of locally available craft beers, one for each of five dishes found in a traditional holiday feast. Turn the page for Simms' Turkey Day beer choices along with pairing notes from the food-and-drink guy himself.
5. Kitchen duty homestretch (or waiting for dinner)
Laverstroke Park Farm, Organic Real Lager.
"The low ABV (4.5%) makes this light lager really drinkable, and it has earthy, grassy notes that give it a sort of 'twang. Perfect on its own, or while you're making sure the gravy is just right. Bonus: this beer is something your Budweiser drinking brother-in-law and you can agree on as great!" Available at Whole Foods.
Stone, Saison Du Buff
"Thanksgiving is about getting together with family. Stone Brewing, Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing companies got together to make this saison using the same herbs you use to make your stuffing....parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Fresh and crisp, drink this while catching up with the relatives." Available at BevMo.
3. Brussel sprouts
New Belgium Brewing Co., La Folie Brown Sour.
"Don't be fooled by the deep red/bronze hue--this beer is like biting into a Granny Smith Apple. Ideal for balancing out those rich, salty veggie dishes." Available at BevMo.
Great Divide Brewing Company, Yeti Imperial Stout.
"Rich, complex and creamy, this beer has hints of caramel and toffee that go nicely with the smokiness of the meat. Be careful if you grab this when you go for your second helping of turkey ... nap time!" Available at Whole Foods.
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1. Pumpkin or Pecan Pie
Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, Our Finest Regards Barleywine Style Ale.
"Rich, spicy, syrupy and alcoholic. Perfect for cutting into a rich slice of pie--or making any relative spill their guts." Available at Simmzy's Long Beach.