Thanksgiving is the year’s most delicious holidays. Everything about good ol’ Turkey Day is focused around food (and family of course). When you look at the traditional fare that’s included in Thanksgiving dinner, it’s a lot. Which is great for beer lovers because it means that you can explore beer pairing with different food types. To celebrate Thanksgiving we’ve pieced together some tasty pairings that are perfect for some essential pieces of a turkey dinner!
We’ll kick things off with the main course, what Thanksgiving dinner is known for.. the turkey!
Beer Types: Pale Ale, Amber Ale or Brown Ale
The Reason: A nice oven-roasted turkey collects a lot of flavorful juices while it cooks and also develops a nice crispy, caramelized skin. Keeping your beer selection on the lighter side will complement the bird better than something more intense. Brown and amber ales work better with the caramelized aspects of the turkey while a pale ale will usually include flavors of pine and citrus, which will pair well with the turkey’s juices and other flavors.
Suggestions: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sly Fox Christmas Ale, Abita Turbodog
Stuffing is a necessity to any Thanksviging dinner. Love it or hate it, the table would feel empty without this dish included.
Beer Types: Saison, Winter Warmer
The Reason: Stuffing is all about the bread and depending on how your family prepares it, Thanksgiving stuffing can dial in on many different flavors. If there is a larger focus on the salt and spices, then you’ll want to lean towards a saison. Saisons offer sweet and spicy flavors that also can play with floral notes, which will work really well for your spicy, salty stuffing. If you keep things slightly more plain and focused on the bread, then you’re going to want to grab a winter warmer. Winter Warmers normally play up the sweet and malty flavors, which makes it a great option to pair with a lighter, breadier part of your Thanksgiving dinner.
Suggestions: Unibroue Saison 13, Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Mashed, roasted, twice-baked – potatoes are one of the most versatile food options around, and another staple dish during Thanksgiving dinner. They can go with just about anything.
Beer Types: Scotch Ale, Strong Ale
The Reason: Potatoes are a relatively plain piece of the dinner. They are delicious, but normally go well with just about everything else you’re eating. Sometimes they can be spiced up a bit to deliver a nice roasty flavor, but for these reasons you can enjoy a beer that’s a little stronger, like a Scotch ale or Strong ale. These beers will add a nice spice-focused flavor profile that will go well with potatoes plain and other rich additions like gravy.
Suggestions: Allagash Tripel, Arrogant Consortia Arrogant Bastard Ale
Whether it’s a normal weeknight or a special dinner like Thanksgiving, vegetables are always going to be present to ensure you get that well-rounded meal.
Beer Types: Pilsner, Hefeweizen
The Reason: Vegetables deliver a widespread medley of flavors and you want to keep the focus on those. Beers lighter and more straight-forward in flavor like pilsners or hefeweizens are the perfect choice to go with your vegetables. They pair well with the vegetable flavors without stealing the show or overpowering the flavor profiles that you’ll experience.
Suggestions: Heavy Seas Pounder Pils, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen
Sweet Potato Casserole
A classic Thanksgiving offering, sweet potato casserole, hopefully with marshmallows, is always a treat. Is it dinner, is it dessert? What’s with all the questions, load up the plate!
Beer Types: IPA
The Reason: Sweet potato casserole is true to its name, especially if you make it topped with marshmallows. Being overly sweet means you can grab your favorite IPA and balance things out with a bitter and hoppy brew. The IPA should be able to boost the sweet flavors of the casserole and create a delicious pairing experience.
Suggestions: Great Lakes IPA, Sierra Nevada Celebration
Would it really be Thanksgiving dinner if you didn’t finish the night off with some pumpkin pie for dessert?
Beer Types: Stout, Porter
The Reason: A dark beer that focuses on bold and sweet flavor profiles like chocolate or coffee will round out the delicious dessert dish. If you don’t want to go overboard with the focus on sweetness, a porter is also a great option here. Porters will offer similar flavor profiles but bring out a more robust roastiness that still goes perfectly with your pumpkin pie!
Suggestions: Cape May Brewing Co. King Porter Stomp, Stone Xocoveza