Beer and Food Pairings

The Best Beer Pairings For Traditional American Thanksgiving Dishes

This year, American Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Like Canada, Thanksgiving is a big holiday in the United States. Your friends at JustBeer want to ensure you are getting the most out of each traditional Thanksgiving dish by pairing it with the perfect beer! Continue reading to learn which beers you should drink during a Thanksgiving feast!

The Best Beer Pairings For Traditional American Thanksgiving Dishes

Beer Pairings For Traditional American Thanksgiving Dishes


Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for everything (and everyone) you are grateful for. It is a time to spend with the people you love, to enjoy good food, and of course, to enjoy good beer. Did you know that pairing your Thanksgiving dishes with the perfect beer could enhance the whole dining experience for everyone (over the age of 21, of course)?


Roasted Turkey – The spotlight of Thanksgiving dinner

While Canadian Thanksgiving did come first, it is said that Canadians copied the turkey tradition from America. There are many ways to prepare your turkey. No matter which way you choose, the turkey will always be the centrepiece of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you are choosing the perfect beer to complement the main dish:

Beer Pairing For Turkey: Try an Amber Ale or a Brown Ale. The browning during the brewing process is similar to the caramelizing that happens to a turkey while roasting in the oven. If you’re more of a lighter beer connoisseur, try a Lager like an Oktoberfest.

Amber/Brown Ale Beers We Love: Wynkoop Brewing’s Rail Yard Amber Ale (Denver, CO), Around The Bend Beer Co.’s Puffing Billy (Chicago, IL), Abita Brewing Company’s Octoberfest (Covington, LA)


Stuffing a.k.a. Dressing – Thanksgiving turkey’s best friend

Stuffing and turkey might have more of a friends with benefits relationship and sometimes things can get complicated between them. There is one thing we know for sure though, you can’t have a Thanksgiving feast without stuffing!

Stuffing/Dressing and Beer Pairing: We recommend a Milk Stout or a Winter Warmer. The bread flavours in the stuffing will complement flavours in these dark beer styles.

Milk Stout/Winter Warmer Beers We Love: Belching Beaver Brewery’s Beavers Milk Stout (Vista, CA), Hillman Beer’s Hi-Dee-Ho (Asheville, NC)


Potatoes – Mashed, roasted, scalloped, etc.

Potatoes are another staple for your American Thanksgiving feast. Mashed potatoes is an obvious go-to but some States choose to roast or scallop their potatoes. Either way, you need to make sure your beer perfectly complements your Thanksgiving side dish.

Potato and Beer Pairing: Since potatoes are usually light on flavour, it is great to pair them with heavier beers. This Strong Ales or Spiced Ales.

Strong Ale/Spiced Ale Beers We Love: Anchor Brewing’s Anchor Barrel Ale (San Francisco, CA), Yards Brewing Company’s Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce (Philadelphia, PA)


Thanksgiving Veggie Dishes – Green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots, squash, etc.

There are many different traditional veggie dishes to serve at your Thanksgiving feast. Finding the perfect beer pairing for your thanksgiving veggies can enhance the overall experience of your meal. (Perfect beer pairing for Vegetarians and Vegan Thanksgiving dishes!)

Beer Pairing For Vegetables: Many vegetable dishes have a lot of flavours. We suggest pairing lighter-bodied beers with veggies. Try a Light Lager or a Hefeweizen.

Lager and Hefeweizen Beers We Love: Mehana Brewing’s Humpback Island Lager (Hilo, HI), Rahr & Sons’ Summertime Wheat (Fort Worth, TX)


Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows – An American Thanksgiving classic

This classic Thanksgiving dish is more popular in the United States than it is in Canada. This dish is the perfect mix between dinner and dessert. Best of both worlds!

Beer with Marshmallows and Sweet Potatoes: This traditional Thanksgiving dish has very sweet flavours. Try pairing this side with a hoppy IPA! The bitterness of an India Pale Ale will enhance the sweet flavours on your palate.

Beers We Love: Gigantic Brewing’s IPA (Portland, OR), Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA (Milton, DE), Anchorage Brewing’s Galaxy White IPA (Anchorage, AK)


Pumpkin Pie – Everyone’s favourite Thanksgiving dessert

Every Thanksgiving feast needs to end with a great dessert. Pumpkin pie is a classic! If you’re not into pumpkin pie as much as we are, Deschutes Brewery has put together this great pie and beer pairing infographic to help you out.

Pie and Beer Pairings: Pumpkin pie has lots of spice flavours. Some may think that lighter beers should be paired with bold pumpkin flavours, but this would be wrong! Try a chocolate or coffee porter. These strong flavours in your beer will complement and help bring out the flavours in your pie.

Porter Beers We Love: Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter (Portland, OR), Odyssey Beerwerks’ Psycho Penguin Vanilla Porter (Denver, CO), Boulder Beer’s Shake Chocolate Porter (Boulder, CO)


In 2018, American Thanksgiving will fall on Thursday, November 22. The United States Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November, while Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. It has been assumed that Canada copied the tradition from America, since it is the younger country but that may not actually be true.


If you need tips on WINE pairings for Thanksgiving, JustWine is your best resource:

The Best Food & Wine Pairings for Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner


Why does the U.S. have a different Thanksgiving than Canada?

Canadian Thanksgiving dates back to 1578, when explorer, Martin Frobisher, held a celebration in honour of arriving safely in Nunavut (although some people believe this story to be “mythologized”). The first official day of thanks wasn’t until April of 1872 when the nation celebrated King Edward VII‘s recovery from a serious illness. Canada didn’t actually settle on a true Thanksgiving Day until 1957, and back then it was considered a religious holiday.

Americans didn’t begin their Thanksgiving tradition until 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians came together for an autumn harvest feast. However, it wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

It is not exactly known why America and Canada celebrate Thanksgiving on different days. It is commonly believed that because Canada is the more northern country that the Canadian harvest season arrives before America.


Happy American Thanksgiving!


Interested in learning about more food and beer pairings? Look below:

Craft Beer and BBQ Pairings
Food Pairings for Stouts and Porters
Christmas Dishes and Beer Pairings
Beer and French Fries

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