The Best Beer Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner

For an authentic Thanksgiving, pair your dinner with some beer this year.

The Best Beer Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner

We know you can’t wait to dive into Thanksgiving dinner this year. But while the turkey, smoked ham and cranberry sauce are important, pairing your dinner to the right Thanksgiving beer styles are crucial. But worry not, we’re here to help you make sure your Thanksgiving beer perfectly complements your course.

So first, there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to pairing beer:


1. Decide What You Are Highlighting

If you are pairing with each course, then think about the dish you are serving. If it’s something with a light taste, like mashed potatoes, you can pair it with a stronger or more complex beer because the flavours won’t clash or overpower. In this case, you’d be highlighting the beer. If you are using your Grandma Tilly’s special yam mashed potato recipe which has spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove those are some pretty overpowering spices, so you’ll want to dial back on the complexity of the beer so you can highlight the dish instead.

2. Keep it Simple

If pairing with each dish or course is too much, (we get it – hosting an entire Thanksgiving dinner is no “walk in the park”) then match your beer to the entire meal. (This is also a good strategy for potlucks!) Beer styles that flatter the entire meal, but are still a little fancier than showing up with a 6-pack of Buds are: Biere de Garde, Biere de Champagne, an Oktoberfest Lager or Barleywine.

3. Your Taste is Nobody Else’s But Yours

The difficult part about pairing is that everyone’s taste is different. You might love something that someone else thinks tastes like a foot. So in this case, it might be smart to keep that 6-pack of Buds in the fridge to be safe!


Let the Thanksgiving Beer Pairings Begin


Oven-Roasted Turkey – Amber or brown ale

An amber ale or a brown ale is a great match for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey. We highly recommend Big Rock Brewery’s Traditional Ale, Village Brewery’s Troubadour, Alexander Keith’s Red Amber Ale or Arrowhead Brewing Company’s Original 83 Honey Ale.

And if you’re wondering how to cook a (beer basted) turkey, we can help you with that, too.


Smoked Turkey – Scotch Ale or Porter

A plate of smoked turkey is never done wrong by the full-bodied heaviness of both Scotch Ales and Porters. We recommend McAuslan Brewery’s St. Ambroise Scotch Ale, Rickard’s Dark or Anchor Porter.


Smoked Ham – Pilsner or Lager

A clean and crisp Pilsner or a Lager is a heavenly match to balance out the saltiness of a smoked Thanksgiving ham. We suggest Great Western Brewing Company’s Brewhouse Pilsner, Big Rock Brewery’s Honey Brown Lager or Stanley Park Brewing’s Noble Pilsner.


Veggies – Hefeweizen or Saison

If you’re looking to balance out all that Thanksgiving meat with some veggies, Hefeweizen or Saison are your thanksgiving beer styles. Roasted root vegetables, glazed carrots or some sort of squash dishes pair nicely with light-coloured, light-bodied ales. We like Old’s College Hefeweizen, Blindman Brewing’s Saison Lacombe Ete, and Gilgamesh Brewing’s DJ Jazzy Hef.


Mashed Potatoes & Cornbread – Spiced Ale or Winter Warmer

Remember the rule we mentioned earlier, if a food has a lighter flavour, then highlight the beer. Mashed Potatoes and Cornbread are examples of this, so we suggest pairing them with a beer with a bit of spice or kick to it. Try a Spiced Ale or Winter Warmer. We recommend Nickel Brook Brewing’s Cuvee Reserve Ale, Bomber Brewing’s Old Fat Heater Winter Ale or 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat


Pies – Milk Stout or Dunkelweizen

Pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, pecan pie, apple pie… there’s an abundance of delicious Thanksgiving pies that you can serve this holiday. All things sweet and delicious pair wonderfully with sweet style beers like Milk Stout aka Sweet Stouts or Dunkelweizens. We love Double Trouble Brewing Company’s French Press Vanilla Stout, Whistler Brewing’s Winter Dunkel, and Speakeasy’s Black Hand.


Happy Thanksgiving!



Now that you’ve perfected your Thanksgiving beer styles and created the perfect pairings, check out some of our other articles:

Pumpkin and Spice Makes Fall Taste Nice
Cork that wine! What did the Pilgrims really drink on Thanksgiving? Beer!
Beer and Food Pairings for a Merry Christmas
12 Gifts for the Beer Lovers on Your List

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