Thanksgiving. Just the word conjures up thoughts of turkey, pumpkin pie, family and football. It may also stir up memories of crowded kitchens, bickering relatives and itchy holiday sweaters. Good news! There’s one thing that makes the former even more enjoyable and the latter at least bearable. And that thing, of course, is beer.
There’s often a lot of painstaking thought put into identifying the perfect bottle of wine to complement the Thanksgiving feast. It’s a worthy (albeit often stressful and pressure-filled) endeavor, but we prefer to focus on the many different beers that can take every phase of your meal—from hors d'oeuvre right through to dessert—to the next level.
Of course, everyone’s Thanksgiving spread is different, with a wide variety of flavors and textures butting up against each other on a single plate. In short, there’s not one “go to” system for perfecting your beer pairings, but we’ve compiled resources you can use to plan a beer drinking strategy that all your guests will be thankful for.
- American Craft Beer has put together a thoughtful five-beer plan that suggests the ideal pint for every phase of the long, food-filled day.
- Craftbeer.com offers up suggestions for different Thanksgiving mainstays. Combinations include witbiers with turkey; saisons with stuffing; IPAs with mac n’ cheese. You can also check out their specific guide to beers that go best with your preferred stuffing recipe. From cornbread to sourdough to rice-based stuffings, they have you covered.
- Hopsteiner created a fun take on Thanksgiving pairings, with recommendations for beers that work well with pre-dinner nuts and crackers, to beers that help when “Aunt Mary is talking politics again."
- October sought advice from three beer experts to create their insightful and complete guide to flavor pairings that will make your Thanksgiving beer run a breeze.
Dessert deserves its own special section, no?
- First, the obvious—pumpkin pie. Draft Magazine defines four distinct paths you can take to arrive at the beer and pumpkin pie combo of your dreams.
- If your thanksgiving pie offering extends beyond pumpkin, Craft Beer and Brewing Magazine has recommendations for beers to complement everything from apple to pecan to banana cream.
- Last but not least, Serious Eats breaks down common dessert flavors—such as chocolate or toffee—and suggest beer styles to go with each.
There you have it! Now all that's left to do is finalize your Thanksgiving food menu, then grab your uKeg(s) and use this intel to fuel your beer selections for the day.