Thanksgiving is a holiday for gathering with your family and friends to give thanks for one another and enjoy a delicious meal together. From turkey to cranberry sauce to buttered rolls to mashed potatoes, there are many traditional Thanksgiving staples that will likely grace your table this holiday season. No matter how delicious the food is, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without beverages to get the joy and gratitude flowing at the dinner table.
Wine and beer are both popular choices for alcoholic drinks to be served on Thanksgiving. Affordable and a universal crowd-pleaser, beer is a great choice for any holiday celebration. The right beer can even make your Thanksgiving dinner taste better. If you pair certain beer styles with complementary dishes, the beers can bring out the flavors of the food you eat to enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the meal. These five perfect pairings can help you figure out which beer styles to serve with some of the most popular traditional foods that will likely be on your Thanksgiving table this year.
Rye Beer and Pre-Meal Snacks
The food on Thanksgiving usually doesn’t start when everyone is seated at the table and the turkey has been carved. If your Thanksgiving celebration is an all-day event where your loved ones gather to help you cook, watch a football game, or just enjoy each other’s company, pre-meal snacks are likely an integral part of your festivities.
Pre-meal snacks on Thanksgiving tend to be very casual and pre-made. Chips, crackers, and boards of charcuterie and various cheeses are popular choices for snacks that are available to your guests before dinner. Rye beer complements these pre-meal snacks very well. It is a malty beer with a creamy, sweet flavor and notes of citrus and spice. Rye beer has a unique, distinct flavor. It isn’t too overwhelming, but it matches the intensity of classic salty snacks to balance out your palate and leave you feeling refreshed and ready for more food once dinner is served.
Scotch Ale and Sides
Thanksgiving dinner is rich all-around, and most of that richness is found in the traditional sides that are served to complement the turkey. Bread rolls and cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mashed potatoes with gravy are three of the most popular side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner.
Scotch ale pairs very well with traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. It is malty with sweet fruity notes and a subtle smoky finish. This ale balances the richness of Thanksgiving sides and enhances their flavor with its light smokiness.
Pale Ale and Turkey
Turkey is the main course of most Thanksgiving dinners, so it’s important to pair it with a beer that will complement its flavors well.
If you roast your Thanksgiving turkey, pair it with pale ale. Pale ale has a mild hoppy flavor that stands out against the rich juiciness of turkey but isn’t too overwhelming. Its notes of pine and citrus are also very distinctive and enhance the flavor of the turkey. If you want something a little deeper to pair with the main course, golden ales also complement turkey well.
Coffee Stout and Pumpkin Pie
When you think of dessert on Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie is likely the first thing that comes to mind. Pumpkin pie is by far the popular Thanksgiving dessert and is a staple at the majority of traditional Thanksgiving meals across the country.
Chances are good that your guests will be looking forward to a slice of pumpkin pie at the end of the big meal. Set this pumpkin pie apart from pies of Thanksgivings past by pairing it with coffee stout. The full body, malty flavor and bold notes of coffee and chocolate enhance the sweet spiciness in pumpkin pie like no other beverage can. Coffee stout can also stand on its own as a unique after-dinner drink to follow the final course of the meal.
Saison and Seasonal Desserts
Although it is the most popular choice, pumpkin pie is not always the only dessert served at Thanksgiving dinner. While coffee stout pairs beautifully with pumpkin pie, it is not always complementary to other popular Thanksgiving desserts.
Saison pairs very well with most seasonal desserts that are commonly served after the main course of Thanksgiving dinner is over. It has a complex flavor that blends together both bitterness and sweetness. This balanced flavor pairs well with most desserts without creating a muddled flavor. If you don’t want to serve five different beers at one Thanksgiving dinner and are trying to pick just one style to serve, Saigon is a good choice. Its bubbly finish acts as a great palate cleanser between courses and its balanced flavor helps it complement every course without taking the focus off the flavors of the food.