Beer & Food Pairings
The Best Beer Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner
Updated: October 18th, 2019 – For an authentic Thanksgiving, pair your dinner with some beer this year. Your friends at JustBeer want to ensure you are getting the most out of each traditional Thanksgiving dish by pairing it with the perfect beer!
By The Beer Community on Oct. 02, 2020
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for everything (and everyone) you are grateful for. It is a time to spend with the people you love, to enjoy good food, and of course, to enjoy good beer. This is why you should pair your Thanksgiving dishes with the perfect beer to enhance the dining experience for everyone! (over the age of 21, of course)
Often at Thanksgiving dinner, there are tons of different food items all with different flavors, so finding the perfect beer to pair with dinner can be a little tricky. This is why we’ve created this Thanksgiving beer pairing guide to help you out when selecting the beers to go with your Thanksgiving dinner menu.
What Beer Styles to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner
Quick Thanksgiving Dinner Beer Pairing Guide
For quick reference, use this pairing guide for traditional Thanksgiving dishes
- Oven-Roasted Turkey – Amber or brown ale
- Smoked Turkey – Scotch Ale or Porter
- Smoked Ham – Pilsner or Lager
- Veggies – Hefeweizen or Saison
- Mashed Potatoes & Cornbread – Spiced Ale or Winter Warme
- Pies – Milk Stout or Dunkelweizen
Traditional Thanksgiving Beer Pairings & Recommendations
Roasted Turkey – The Spotlight of Thanksgiving Dinner
There are many ways to prepare your turkey. No matter which way you choose, the turkey will always be the centerpiece of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you are choosing the perfect beer to complement the main dish:
What Beer Style to Pair with Roasted Turkey:
Try an Amber Ale or a Brown Ale. The browning during the brewing process is similar to the caramelizing that happens to a turkey while roasting in the oven. If you’re more of a lighter beer connoisseur, try a Lager like an Oktoberfest.
Bergseth Bros. Favorites: Samuel Adams Boston Lager, August Schell Firebrick Vienna Lager, Newcastle Brown Ale
Stuffing a.k.a. Dressing – Thanksgiving turkey’s best friend
Stuffing and turkey might have more of a “friends with benefits” relationship and sometimes things can get complicated between them. There is one thing we know for sure though, you can’t have a Thanksgiving feast without stuffing!
We recommend a Milk Stout or a Winter Warmer. The bread flavors in the stuffing will complement flavors in these dark beer styles.
Bergseth Bros. Favorites: Fargo Brewing Company Starlite Milk Stout, Samuel Adams Winter Lager, Odell Brewing Company Isolation Ale
Potatoes – Mashed, roasted, scalloped, etc.
Potatoes are another staple for your Thanksgiving feast. Mashed potatoes are an obvious go-to but some States choose to roast or scallop their potatoes. Either way, you need to make sure your beer perfectly complements your Thanksgiving side dish.
What Beers to Pair with Potatoes at Thanksgiving:
Since potatoes are usually light on flavor, it is great to pair them with heavier beers like Strong Ales or Spiced Ales.
Bergseth Bros. Favorites: Delirium Tremens Belgian Pale Strong Ale, Bell’s Brewery Christmas Ale, Delirium Nocturnum Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Thanksgiving Veggie Dishes – Green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, etc.
There are many different traditional veggie dishes to serve at your Thanksgiving feast. Finding the perfect beer pairing for your thanksgiving veggies can enhance the overall experience of your meal. (Perfect beer pairing for Vegetarians and Vegan Thanksgiving dishes!)
What Beer to Pair with Thanksgiving Vegetables:
Many vegetable dishes have a lot of flavours. We suggest pairing lighter-bodied beers with veggies. Try a Light Lager or a Hefeweizen.
Bergseth Bros. Favorites: Paulaner Hefeweizen, Utepils Brewing Company Hefeweizen, Half Brothers Classic Golden Ale
Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows – A Thanksgiving classic
This classic Thanksgiving dish is more popular in the United States than it is in Canada. This dish is the perfect mix between dinner and dessert. Best of both worlds!
Beer Pairing for Sweet Potatoes / Marshmallows:
This traditional Thanksgiving dish has very sweet flavors. Try pairing this side with a hoppy IPA! The bitterness of an India Pale Ale will enhance the sweet flavors on your palate.
Bergseth Bros. Favorites: Bell’s Brewery Two Hearted IPA, Lagunitas Brewing Company IPA, Summit Brewing Company Saga IPA
Pumpkin Pie – Everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert
Every Thanksgiving feast needs to end with a great dessert. Pumpkin pie is a classic! If you’re not into pumpkin pie as much as we are, just enjoy the beer alone.
Thanksgiving Beer Pairings for Pumpkin Pie:
Pumpkin pie has lots of spice flavors. Some may think that lighter beers should be paired with bold pumpkin flavors, but this would be wrong! Try a flavored porter, stout, or brown ale. These strong flavors in your beer will complement and help bring out the flavors in your pie.
Bergseth Bros. Favorites: Empyrean Brewing Company Dark Side Vanilla Porter, Finnegans Caribou Coffee Stout, Dogfish Head Punkin Brown Ale
Bell’s Brewery Hopslam® Ale
DOUBLE INDIA PALE ALE WITH HONEY
GRAPEFRUIT, CITRUS, STONE FRUIT & FLORAL AROMAS • MICHIGAN HONEY
Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.