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The 4 Best Beer Styles to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner

You have all the superb classics on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner - creamy mashed potatoes, tangy cranberry sauce, and perfectly roasted succulent turkey served with a warmed butter roll on the side. Now comes the hard part, beer. Determining the best beer to pair with your Thanksgiving feast can be overwhelming.

The beer aisle is a football-field-long, stocked floor to ceiling with a variety of styles and flavors. You stand dumbfounded. You rack your brain about the endless possibilities of pairing combinations.

Should you play it safe and go with a light, crisp lager? Or are you feeling adventurous and want to challenge your guests' pallet with something, say, a little more unique like a sour?

Don't worry, we've got you covered. Impress your guests with the right brew and choose one of these sensational beer styles.

1. Saison

When considering what to serve guests, you don't want to overwhelm their palate from the get-go. Lean towards the lighter side to start. Saisons are the perfect match. A member of the Belgian beer family, the distinct yeast characteristics of farmhouse ales meld well with appetizers such as salads, shellfish, and brie.

Complimentary notes of spice, fruit, and herbs will awaken the senses. You may find saisons so enjoyable, you will pair it with the main course. The versatile complexities make it the go-to if you only had one style to choose.

  • Saison | Allagash Brewing Co. | Portland, ME
  • Carnevale | Lost Abbey | San Marcos, CA
  • Sneak Attack | 21st Amendment | San Francisco, CA

2. American Pale Ale

Hopheads would not be satisfied if Thanksgiving lacked a bitter companion. However, an aggressively hop forward IPA can be a tad overboard when it comes to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Unless you are deep frying your turkey, the idea is to match intensities.

American Pale Ales pair well with a roasted turkey. The medium hop bitterness can cut through the fat and enhance flavors with its piney, citrusy, biscuity profile. An American Pale Ale will please hop lovers while complimenting the meal.

  • Pale Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. | Chico, CA/Mills River, NC
  • Mo Pale Ale | Maine Beer Company | Freeport, ME
  • Reward Pale Ale | Boojum Brewing Company | Waynesville, NC

3. Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy


For those that don't have a distinctively hoppy pallet, veer toward the malty side of the spectrum with a scotch ale. Balanced sweet malts with notes of caramel, dried fruit, and a light peat characteristic make scotch ales a unique choice.

And it's the perfect match for rich foods. Turkey, gravy, and mashed potatoes are no problem. Plus, the subtle smokiness will compliment the meal.

  • Dirty Bastard | Founders Brewing Co. | Grand Rapids, MI
  • Claymore Scotch Ale | Great Divide Brewing Company | Denver, CO
  • Scotch Style Ale | Smuttynose Brewing Company | Hampton, NH

4. Coffee Stout

Why serve either coffee or beer for dessert when you can drink both in one glass? One of the fun challenges of a beer pairing is adding complimentary characteristics that enhance the flavors of both beer and food.

Toasted malts with hints of dark chocolate and espresso pair brilliantly with the cinnamon and nutmeg spices of pumpkin pie. So whip out that special bomber you've been saving and top off Thanksgiving with a bold, full-bodied coffee stout.

  • Cappuccino Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company | Petaluma, Ca
  • Speedway Stout | Alesmith Brewing Company | San Diego, CA
  • Breakfast Stout | Founders Brewing Co. | Grand Rapids, MI

Read More: 7 Classy Cocktails You'll Need After the Holiday Guests Leave