For many of us craft beer geeks, Thanksgiving is not just a day for sharing food; it’s also a great excuse to host a bottle or growler share. To best suggest what beer styles to bring to your Thanksgiving meals, I called in some food and beer experts, who helped to create this Thanksgiving food pairing guide.
Stuffing + Belgian Wit
“The light body and citrus characteristics of the wit complement the spices you often find in stuffing,” says Jared Rouben, the owner and brewer at Chicago’s Moody Tongue Brewery. Witbier also has the minerality that you’d find in oysters, Rouben says, so it’s a perfect pairing with oyster stuffing. Stock the fridge this Thanksgiving with these Belgian-style wits, which are so light in body, effervescent, and refreshing that they’ll pair with most of the other items at the table.
- Moody Tongue Brewing (Chicago, Illinois) Crushed Green Coriander Wit
- Fort George Brewery (Astoria, Oregon) Quick Wit
- Boulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City, Missouri) ZŌN Belgian-Style Witbier
Cranberry Sauce + Berliner Weisse
Let the sweetness of this Thanksgiving relish tame the sour, acidic qualities of these German-style Berliner Weisses for the ultimate pucker of a pairing.
- Hinterland (Greenbay, Wisconsin) Berliner Weisse
- Elevation Beer Co. (Poncha Springs, Colorado) Engel Weisse
- The Bruery (Placentia, California) Hottenroth Berliner Weisse
Roast Turkey + Saison
The light-to-medium body and fruit notes of a saison complement roasted turkey, says Rouben. Try one of these fruit-forward saisons to contrast with the meat’s rich, earthy flavors.
- Epic Brewing (Salt Lake City, Utah and Denver, Colorado) Sour Apple Saison
- Roadhouse Brewing Co. (Jackson, Wyoming) Saison en Regalia
- Grassroots Brewing (Greensboro, Vermont) Brother Soigné
Fried Turkey + American IPA
If your Thanksgiving turkey is a deep-fried one, go for a tropical, fruit-forward, aromatic IPA, says Rouben. The flavors from the IPA help cut through the richness in the fried turkey.
- Marin Brewing Company (Larkspur, California) 3 Flowers IPA
- Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) Humidor Series IPA
- Anchorage Brewing Company (Anchorge, Alaska) Galaxy White IPA
Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Pie + Brown or Smoked Porter
The sweet, roasted qualities of brown porters will help to pull out the spices in traditional Thanksgiving pies. Add an extra savory element to this pairing with smoked porter.
- Piney River Brewing Company (Bucyrus, Missouri) Old Tom Porter
- SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia) Exodus Porter
- Alaskan Brewing Company (Juneau, Alaska) Smoked Porter
When it comes to Thanksgiving pairings, Haymarket Pub & Brewery Chef Christopher McCoy sticks with one beer that he thinks works well with every item at the table.
“I figure I’m stacking my plate high with various foods; therefore all types of different flavors are going on all at once,” he says.
McCoy’s go-to beer is Haymarket’s Mother Jones Abbey Dubbel. “This style shows aromatic special-B (flavor of raisins), chocolate (flavor of toffee), Caramunich malts (flavor of dark sugar), and Hallertau Blanc hops (spicy),” he explains, “respectively pairing with yams, gravy, turkey, and cranberry sauce.”
Do you have a go-to Thanksgiving pairing beer? How about pairing suggestions for your favorite Thanksgiving foods?
Podcast Episode 21: New Belgium's Wood Cellar Director & Blender Lauren Limbach
Jamie is joined by American sour beer pioneer Lauren Limbach of New Belgium Brewing, and they talk about the evolution of New Belgium’s sour beer program, from the earliest days two decades ago to the advances in analytics and technical process today.