Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away and it’s time to start thinking about what beers to have on hand for the big dinner. Lucky for us we have access to some amazing beers so let’s load up our growlers and get ready for the big day.
I kept things super simple and have three categories listed: Appetizers, Thanksgiving Dinner (Main Course), and Dessert. For some folks Thanksgiving Day is a big deal with a huge party and food all day long. For others it’s a smaller affair with a big meal and maybe a pie. This list should cover all your needs no matter what kind of shindig you participate in.
Since the main course of Thanksgiving tends to be a bigger, heavier dinner, appetizers tend to stay on the lighter side. There might be a cheese plate, some nuts, and maybe some dips for chips, pretzels, and veggies. If we think about the flavors of appetizers, there’s salty, nutty, and creamy. Because of this you’ll want to keep beers on the lighter side as well. Something crisp and refreshing that accentuates the appetizers. You also want to keep the ABV on the lower side. Remember, these are starter beers for a day filled with drink and food.
- Pumpkick (might surprise you but it has a tartness that will go well with appetizers)
- 90 Shilling
- 5 Barrel Pale
- Bike Trail Pale
- Moon Arete Wheat
Horse and Dragon Picnic Rock Pale
The big meal tends to be a heavy one full of earthy, rich flavors. When we think of Thanksgiving dinner, we automatically turn to roasted veggies, heavy mashed potatoes with gravy, and roasted turkey. These are big bold flavors and the beer to go with those needs to be something that is going to cut through all that heavy food but not overwhelm the palate. You can go a little higher on the ABV with dinner but don’t go past 10%. Thanksgiving is a BIG dinner usually followed by a short food coma so anything 10% and up, you risk all your guests passed out on your couch for a nap!
Funkwerks Saison (has a dry finish with that nice black peppercorn bite to it)
Snowbank’s Silent Snow White IPA
Fort Collins Brewery’s 1020 Pale Ale
Dessert can go either way when it comes to Thanksgiving. There will probably always be a pumpkin pie but some folks like to expand their dessert menu and have all sorts of treats available. I personally like having darker beers at the end of the evening and dark beers pair so well with dessert dishes.
- Salted Belgian Chocolate Stout
- Smirking Lantern Pumpkin Ale
- Pawnee Porter
Fort Collins Brewery Double Chocolate Stout
Horse and Dragon’s Sad Panda
- Isolation Ale
- Cutthroat Porter
Of course at the end of the evening you can open up the ABV bombs to sip and share. You may still be able to find some of Avery’s Rumpkin floating around town. Or The Bruery’s Smoking Wood would be a great night cap. If you want to keep things stouty, you can’t go wrong with Epic’s Big Bad Baptist.
Naturally this list isn’t all of the possibilities as we have so much beer to choose from! This was just to give you an idea of what to look for and what to think about when pairing beers for Thanksgiving Dinner. Do you have a go-to beer that you love having on the big day?