Beer for Thanksgiving

Our local paper today had an article (picked up from the AP, though I haven’t found it online elsewhere) about pairing beer with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Once through the fluff of the article, the general recommendations are a Belgian-style beer, a brown ale, or a bière de garde, as single beers that are well-balanced against the overall dinner "package."

Myself, I would prefer to have more variety and pair beers with certain dishes or courses. They cover that too:

  • Cream ales or pale ales with turkey and gravy
  • Doppelbocks with salty ham and mashed potatoes
  • A malty, spiced beer with dessert

I’d have to go with a pumpkin ale somewhere in the mix, but knowing me, is that really a surprise?

Looking around to see what other Thanksgiving beer ideas might be out there led me to this BeerAdvocate article—I’ve covered it before, but it’s good to revisit. To be fair, it covers the holidays in general, but I think it fits nicely. Recommendations:

  • Apéritif: light-bodied Pilsner or lager
  • Hors d’oeuvre: moderately-hopped pale ales
  • Dinner: Strong Belgian-style ales, or Pilsners
  • Dessert: "Rich and big" stouts
  • Digestif: Barleywines

Naturally, they offer specific beer suggestions for each style.

Now I’ve gone and made myself hungry. So what’s everyone drinking with their Thanksgiving meals this year?


  1. I homebrewed an IPA that’s just finished carbonating. I’ve been invited to a friend’s for turkey day, so I’ll be bringing, and drinking, a bunch of that.

  2. With dinner I’ll be drinking Rogue’s Christmas ale, and with dessert I’ll be having Dogfish Head’s Olde School Barleywine.

  3. Bringing Baron Pilsener and Victory Prima Pils for before dinner sitting around. Avery and Racer 5 IPAs as well as Maritime Imperial Pale for hors d’oeuvres. Avery 13 Weizen Doppelbock and Baron Oktoberfest for dinner then Elysian Great Pumpkin and New Belgium La Follie for dessert.

    Then there’s the Alaskan Smoked Porter used for brining the deep fried turkey. Yum.

  4. IPAs are always good. Homebrewed beer with Thanksgiving always resonates with me. 🙂

    Good choices, all around; I especially like the idea of brining the turkey with Smoked Porter!

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