Planning a great Thanksgiving dinner comes with many decisions. While selecting the perfect wine pairing for a diverse table of food is tricky, beer is much easier. In reality, it's hard to go wrong when selecting the ideal beer for the holiday.
There are, however, a number of beer styles that pair perfectly with the traditional Thanksgiving feast and these brands do it well. Since selection does vary based on where you live, if you can't find the exact beer, your local beer cooler is sure to have something within the style. Explore your possibilities and enjoy!
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This beer was made to join any dinner table and it's simply an overall great food sipper. Brewed by Two Brothers Brewing Company in Illinois, the title of "artisan beer" definitely applies to this French country ale. Domaine DuPage (5.9 percent ABV, 24 IBU) is sweet, earthy, and has a gentle bitterness that is sure to shine against any food you place on the table.
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Brown ales are an absolute joy with turkey and diverse enough to go along with all the side dishes. The best example of this is Moose Drool (5.2 percent ABV, 26 IBU) from Montana's Big Sky Brewing Co. It offers a rich flavor marked with coffee and cocoa and is just bitter enough to get your taste buds salivating.
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Another turkey-worthy style is American amber ale with its maltiness and notes of caramel. A tasty representation is Bell's Amber Ale (5.8 percent ABV, 32 IBUs). The balance of hops and malt in this beer is pleasing and marked by toasted citrus. It's simply a nice, clean beer that offers a food pairing of ultimate refreshment.
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What would Thanksgiving be with a great Oktoberfest? Paulaner offers a brilliant example of this crisp, clean German lager that's reliable, versatile, and perfect for turkey dinner. From the earthy grains to the sweet caramel, it's a balanced autumn-worthy beer.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Belgian tripels are known for being warm, dark, and heavy on the alcohol. They're also fantastic with a roast bird. It's not the most widely produced style of beer, but New Belgium's Trippel makes an appearance in beer cases that are otherwise devoid of tripels. This Belgian-style ale is a nice introduction and an easy drinker. Considering Thanksgiving's a family meal, take it easy with this one as it's a heady 8.5 percent ABV.
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When your menu includes smoked turkey, pick up a meaty Scotch ale. And, if your family has a sense of humor, showing up with Founders Dirty Bastard (8.5 percent ABV, 50 IBUs) is sure to give them a good laugh. It's big, it's bold, and the complexity added with its smoky peat tones are ideal with an equally smoky bird. It's also a boozy ale, so enjoy a bottle then move on to something lighter.
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Porters are another good choice for smoked turkey. If you want a beer that can hang on through dessert, Breckenridge Brewery's Vanilla Porter (5.4 percent ABV, 16 IBU) is a nice option. It offers that dark, roasted nuttiness that's signature of an American porter, but adds a smooth vanilla flavor that makes it most enjoyable.
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Whether you have ham or turkey on the menu, wheat beer is an excellent option. For an authentic hefeweizen, go with the German Franziskaner Weissbier (5.0 percent ABV). It has a full body with the signature banana and clove notes that make the style memorable. If you've only tasted American versions, the real thing will surprise and delight you. Plus, it's a beer that everyone at the table will enjoy.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Thanksgiving is the time to enjoy cranberries and the fruit can appear in your beer as well. A newer addition to the seasonal beer scene, cranberry beers are finding devoted fans among those who enjoy a good sour beer. Out of Colorado, Lone Tree Brewing's Cranberry Saison (8.5 percent ABV, 30 IBU) is a great example of the fruit's potential. It's a Belgian-style farmhouse ale with just enough sour cranberry flavor to make it really interesting. It may not be the best during dinner but will wake up your taste buds afterward.
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Thanksgiving is the kick-off to the holiday season and a perfect time to start enjoying warming spiced beers. In fact, spiced ales and winter warmers are a perfect pairing for pumpkin pie (much better than those pumpkin ales). Released just in time for the November holiday, Harpoon's Winter Warmer (5.9 percent ABV, 23 IBU) is a really nice seasonal. This dark, medium-bodied brew includes cinnamon and nutmeg and it's pleasantly sweet. You're sure to fall into the festive spirit with this one!