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The Beer Drinker’s Thanksgiving Table

Turkey day is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what will accompany your feast. Surely there will be wine, but why not have a selection of beers to match your favorite courses as well? America’s first Thanksgiving in 1621 was celebrated with local ale in hand. We must pay homage to that tradition! Add some excitement to your celebration by stocking your fridge with a variety of beers that will enhance the dining experience for your guests.

Remember, as flavor intensity increases throughout your meal, so should your beer pairings. So as not to kill your palate too early, start with lighter beers, and work your way up from there. Here is a list of my favorite beers to bring along to Thanksgiving dinner:

Victory Prima Pils

One of the best pilsners in the land. Victory Prima Pils is elegant and refreshing. Its dry finish and bracing herbal hop bite make it a crowd-pleasing quencher. Serve Prima before the main courses to whet appetites.

Pair With: Salads, snacks, and other appetizers early in the meal.

Bauhaus Stargrazer Schwarzbier

This mystifying black lager pours darker than a moonless night. You will be surprised by its light body and quaffable character. Bauhaus Stargrazer is a session-able choice for the Thanksgiving dinner table. Its silky smooth roast is inviting, ant leads into softly sweet malt-forward notes of chocolate, toffee, dark fruits, and nuts.

Pair With: Heartier, meaty appetizers. Stargrazer’s nutty roast character also plays well with buttered rolls, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Try it with desserts containing nuts such as pecan pie.

North Coast Le Merle Farmhouse Ale

Crafted along the Shoreline Highway in the scenic coastal town of Fort Bragg, this invigorating Saison-style ale can lead you through most Thanksgiving courses. Exotic tropical fruit and rustic hay-like aromas lead to a lively palate. Fruity yeast notes and a peppery, dry finish show Le Merle’s food-pairing prowess.

Pair With: Earlier courses such as funky cheeses and salads. Le Merle also matches well with the roast turkey or chicken. The spicy, pepper-like, citrus finish latches on to the spicy herbs and seasonings.

Bent Paddle Harness IPA

Bent Paddle’s winter-seasonal is a staff favorite. This IPA features a slightly darker malt profile along with some malted rye and flaked oats. Bold and flavorful with a snappy citrus hop punch.

Pair With: Stronger hard cheeses like Montgomery’s Cheddar. The hop profile also balances saltier pre-meal snacks. The full character of this IPA helps it stand up to bigger courses as well. It won’t get lost amongst more rich, savory flavors. IPAs play well with cranberry sauce, too!

Delirium Tremens Belgian Golden Strong Ale

A truly mesmerizing bottle-conditioned brew, that yields a dense foamy head when poured. Delirium Tremens has a malty nose with yeasty, floral accents. Malty, fruity flavors and a warming alcohol presence lead to a dry, bitter finish. Delirium is an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Pair With: Sweet Potatoes and glazed ham. Delirium also dances with apple and cherry pie.

Schneider Weisse Aventinus Weizenbock

Schneider’s Aventinus is Bavaria’s eldest wheat doppelbock. Pleasant aromatic sweetness greets the senses: caramelized banana, spicy clove, and biscuit-y malt. Aventinus’ flavors are reminiscent of banana bread, brown sugar, caramel, raisins, and cookies. This beer feels perfect on a cool evening.

Pair With: Banana bread pudding or bananas foster. Aventinus is also a nice complement to vanilla ice cream.

Founders Backwoods Bastard Barrel-Aged Wee Heavy

Founder’s Backwoods Bastard is the perfect sipper to round out a satisfying Thanksgiving dinner. Big scotch-like aromas of oaky-bourbon, smoke, sweet caramel and dark fruit suggest the taste that follows.

Pair With: Desserts! German chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate truffles, snickerdoodles, etc.