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10 game-changing Thanksgiving beers

Thanksgiving. We hug, we talk, we break bread and break out the good stuff.  Let’s set the table this year with 10 great beers to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving. We hug, we talk, we break bread and break out the good stuff.  Let’s set the table this year with 10 great beers to be thankful for.

What beers should I bring to Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving can be tricky from a “beer hero” perspective. Can you please every palate? Is it worth the risk to give Grandpa a sour or play it safe with a lager? We think you can push the envelope on Thanksgiving with some different stuff while also keeping some trusty crowd-pleasers in the mix.

Thanksgiving food pairings - and more

The typical Thanksgiving dinner consists of earthy, savory fare. Turkey links up with potatoes, potatoes lead to squash, and squash calls for a spoonful of turnips. It’ll take more than gravy to quench your thirst for this once-a-year meal, so which beers make the cut? We’re living in an of IPA age, but Thanksgiving calls out for much more variety. From the table to the TV to the fire pit, Thanksgiving arguments shouldn’t be about the beer selection. Some of these beers are fancier than others, but they’re all world-class. Drizly’s here to take you through all phases of Thanksgiving beer.

10) What beers do you drink at Thanksgiving cocktail hour?

Style: Pilsner  Recommendation: Firestone Walker Pivo Pils

A nice, crisp pilsner makes for an agreeable Thanksgiving starter beer to take your through cocktail hour as the first football game ends (what a lousy call on that last play). Hey, there’s a long way to go and you don’t want to wipe out your palate. Pivo is a great example of the style: it’s crisp, florally hoppy, and really well-balanced. At just over 5% ABV, it’s a sensible starter.
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  • 9) What do I drink with Thanksgiving appetizers?

    Style: witbier  Recommendation: Allagash White

    If you’re doing some light apps like crackers, cheese, and grapes, you’ve gotta pair it with a Witbier. Brewed with a healthy portion of wheat, this Belgian ale uses a distinctive yeast. It’s citrusy and doughy with light touches of spice; and it never met a cheese/cracker pairing it didn’t like. Hoegaarden is the timeless Belgian standard here, but Maine’s Allagash White somehow feels even more Belgian; weird. We like it even better from a food pairing standpoint. Witbier’s ABV is rarely over 5.5% ABV, so having one of these won’t spoil your dinner - or your night.
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  • 8) What’s the best beer for Thanksgiving dinner?

    Style: Brown ale  Recommendation: Cigar City Maduro

    Dinner’s the main event, isn’t it? Thanksgiving is inherently a harvest festival, bringing the best traditional flavors of Autumn. Crack open a Cigar City Maduro brown ale to complement all these earthy flavors. It’s malty, nutty and smooth, so it will pair splendidly with roasted root veggies like potatoes and yams, but won’t overpower turkey’s delicate flavor. Honorable mention to traditional Sam Smith Nut Brown being a great choice for pairing with turkey leg/thigh meat.
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  • What’s a good lighter beer for Thanksgiving dinner?

    7) Style: Vienna lager  Recommendation: Brooklyn Lager

    The craft beer world is stuffed with lots of lagers, but we often find ourselves coming back to Brooklyn Lager. As a Vienna lager, it’s actually a pretty rare style. Brooklyn’s decision to use toasty, bready Vienna malt in the mash gives this beer a nice amber character that will pair well with your Thanksgiving meal without weighing you down. Stick with this one if you plan on 4th and 5th turkey helpings.
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  • 6) What’s a good sour beer for Thanksgiving dinner?

    Style: berliner weisse  Recommendation: Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial

    Sour beer’s acidity excels at slicing through fat and refreshing your palate; this can be a key asset during a marathon feast like Thanksgiving. Funkwerks’ Raspberry Provincial is a sour ale (berliner weisse, actually) that undergoes secondary fermentation on raspberries. It’s super light, approachable and the tart raspberry flavor pairs gorgeously with poultry. At a low 4.2% ABV, you’ll also retain all of your charisma during dinner.
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    Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial

    Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial

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    5) What’s the best hiking beer?

    Style: winter warmer  Recommendation:  Odell Isolation Ale

    So it’s Black Friday and you went out for a hike in the brisk air. What was it? 5, 6 miles? Whatever it was, the sun is setting quickly and it’s getting chilly. Time for a “winter warmer”. Quintessential cold-weather beers, winter warmers are designed to restart your internal fire. Odell’s Isolation has a luscious malt and dried fruit character balanced expertly with just enough hops. Check your pulse if this one doesn’t warm you up after that hike.
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  • 4) What’s the best fire pit beer?

    Style: IPA  Recommendation: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

    Many newly-minted fire pits see their first action on Thanksgiving weekend. The crackle of the fire adds one more voice to a circle of people who know each other very well. For hops fans, Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is an old friend, too; they’ve been brewing it with the freshest cascade hops for 40 years. It’s piney and citrusy, backed up by just the right amount of malt. Pale is a venerable pale ale that still feels ahead of its time. It really feels like the exact beer for chilly outdoor drinking.
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  • 3) What’s a sour after-dinner beer to impress all my beer lover relatives?

    Style: flanders red  Recommendation: Duchesse de Bourgogne

    Don’t wolf down Thanksgiving dinner just to get to this one; the Duchesse is patient. After all, this flanders red spends over a year in massive vertical wooden casks, known as foudres. As it ages, it develops fruitiness, acidity and a vinous character from the wood. Few beers are as complex yet drinkable as Duchesse de Bourgogne. Grab a bottle and share it as a digestif and you may join the Duchesse in legend.
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  • 2) What’s a great pumpkin beer?

    Style: Pumpkin ale  Recommendation: Southern Tier Pumking

    You’ve got to do one, right? A few bad apples have over-spiced their pumpkin beer, which ultimately gave them all a bad rap. But come back, Jack, and you’ll find some well-balanced pumpkin beers on offer. Pumking is an extreme example of pumpkin brewing. Southern Tier hits the right balance of real actual pumpkin as an ingredient as well as nutmeg and cinnamon spices. This is a balanced but electrifying pumpkin beer. At 8.6% ABV, Pumking’s not sessionable, but it’s properly seasonal and authentically North American.
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    1) What’s a good beer to pair with Thanksgiving dessert?

    Style: Imperial stout  Recommendation: Founders KBS

    Impressive! Getting to dessert on Thanksgiving takes careful planning and pacing. Your reward is Founders KBS. It’s an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels straight from the distillery. The beer soaks up a good deal of bourbon, but also chocolate, coffee and vanilla flavor. It will hold its own with your pumpkin pie, cookies or really any dessert you can throw at it. It’s a strong (12% ABV) choice to end an evening of conviviality and gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving from Drizly!
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