Best Beer for Thanksgiving: 16 Best Beers To Go With Your Turkey
Picking the best beer for Thanksgiving can be quite the task, especially when we have new beers popping up every now and then.
Thanksgiving is known as the season of get-togethers and home-style food, with most people hunkering down for a hearty meals and fun bonding time.
While wines are usually the go-to drinks that are paired with Thanksgiving dinners, most of the folks also prefer a good hearty beer alongside that juicy smoked turkey. Here are some of the best beers for Thanksgiving that you must try.
Best Beers for Thanksgiving
Even if you are a hard-core beer drinker, when the holiday season is around the corner, you feel the need to sip some good quality wine on the side of your meal. But as much as wine goes with every holiday meal, good, chilled beer is also a mode of celebration.
Although it is very important to prepare the different types of dishes to serve to your guests during Thanksgiving, don’t neglect to prepare the drinks that you’ll be sipping on throughout the night.
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about scouring the shelves for the perfect beer, as we’ve prepared a list of some of the best Thanksgiving beers recommended by beer enthusiasts and experts that will complement your festive dinner.
Russian River Brewing Damnation
- Style: Belgian Golden Strong Ale
With an ABV of 7.5 percent, Damnation is an excellent choice without a doubt. There is no way Russian River Brewing ever goes wrong with their beers, and when it comes to their Damnation, it stays a remarkable combination for almost any type of dish.
With great head retention, this beer has a pale, biscuity, crackery and wafery aroma with earthy malts and light herbal hops. Slight flavors of lemongrass and clove can be felt on the palate. It is a medium-bodied beer with a light mouthfeel, perfect for a wholesome Thanksgiving dinner.
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale
- Style: Amber Ale
With an ABV of 5.2 percent, this beer is easy to drink. This beer has a crystal clear pour with a thick, off-white head. The Fat Tire has almost nil hops and tastes gently sweet. A light beer like this is perfect for hearty and heavy meals such as those served on Thanksgiving.
For many people, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey. Their obsession with the perfect turkey just never ends, so when it comes to the beverage, they cannot bear anything that overpowers their beloved bird. This is why the Fat Tire bodes well with a Thanksgiving dinner. It is slightly malty and has bare minimum flavors, putting the turkey in the limelight.
Stella Artois Cidre
- Style: Apple Cider
At 4.5 percent ABV, this beer will do well as a Thanksgiving beer. If you are a Stella Artois fan yourself, you would know that this beer is for traditional Thanksgiving. Technically, this is a non-beer beer because it is an apple cider.
This beverage is a show of good balance. It has a soft, fruity sweetness and a crisp, dry finish, but it isn’t as dry as other traditional ciders. It is almost like enjoying a good apple pie at the end of the meal.
Allagash Brewing Company, White
- Style: Belgian Style Wheat Ale
At 5.2 percent ABV, this beer is brewed with oats, malted wheat, and raw wheat for a hazy white look. White is Allagash’s best-selling beer. It is soft, mild in bitterness and low on the sweetness. Although it is mild in bitterness and sweetness, the flavor of this beer shines through the profile.
This is an extremely well-balanced beer with a fuller mouthfeel and almost nil flavor adjuncts. Subtle flavors of apple, pear and lemon peel make it a brilliant Thanksgiving beer. It is a flavorful beer with a crisp finish, making it an exceptionally delicious brew.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Sour Rose
- Style: Wild Ale
At 4.5 Percent ABV, this is a light brew in the wild ale family. This is the perfect beer for all wine lovers. If you are someone who grabs a bottle of wine for a hearty festive family meal and are looking for something with a similar taste profile, Sour Rose is your right choice.
It smells very wine-like and tastes like cranberry juice. The overall mouthfeel is very light and juicy. It is easy to down, which is another reason why this makes for a good Thanksgiving drink.
New Belgium Brewing Company La Folie
- Style: Sour
At 7 percent ABV, the La Folie is wood-aged. It smells like cherry, oak and Flanders’ funkiness. For a sour beer, this drink isn’t loud on its sour side. It is nicely carbonated with a moderate mouthfeel and goes down easy.
On the first sip, there are plenty of notes of caramel followed by fruity sour aromas. It tastes like apple tart and sour cherries. The sourness is very minimum, which makes it a pleasant drink overall. There is a nice balance, thanks to the caramel adjuncts which make it a good beverage for a Thanksgiving dinner.
Boston Beer Company Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Style: Lager
At 5 percent ABV, Sam Adams Boston Lager is labeled as one of the most versatile beers. It has a well-balanced richness, complexity and a full mouthfeel. On the first sip, you can feel some caramel and toffee-like flavors.
There are some delicious notes of citrus, pine and floral adjuncts. It has a very pleasant, earthy and malty scent. It is filled with just enough hops and very light malt sweetness and almost invisible bitterness, making it a good festive beer.
Founders Breakfast Stout
- Style: Stout
If you are looking for a beer that helps you pull a late night, then Founders Breakfast Stout is your beer. It is filled with enough caffeine to keep you up for a late night without tiring you out. This coffee stout is an ideal way to end your Thanksgiving meal.
Also, if you are a coffee lover, look no further as you have got your new favorite drink. This Stout tastes as it smells. Strong coffee notes emerge from the drink on pour followed by chocolate notes. There is also some tart acidity which lowers the initial coffee buzz.
It isn’t too sticky or syrupy like other Stouts, which is why it’s a winner beverage for the Thanksgiving table.
- Style: Porter
At an ABV of 6.2 percent, this American Porter is dark and luxurious in character. It is rich and toasty with a slight hint of chocolate. It has a brilliantly balanced toasty flavor that is easy to drink, unlike some other Porters.
On the first sip, this beer is dry with bitter nuts and almost burnt coffee flavors. At mid-sip it follows roasted malt character with a slight tinge of chocolate sweetness. The beer finishes with slight bitterness with an overall crisp and light mouthfeel.
It pairs well with smoky flavored dishes, which makes it the best beer for turkey. Try it with a chocolate dessert as a finisher.
North Coast Brewing Company, Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
- Style: Imperial Stout
With an ABV of 9 percent, this is an extremely strong beer, so if you are the type who enjoys indoor get-togethers and doesn’t have to drive back someplace else, a couple of these beers and you are good to spend the night on the couch.
This beer is black in color and is filled with roasty aromas.
Roast and chocolate dominate the palate with low levels of fruity esters like cherry to complement the robustness of the beer. There is moderate malt sweetness and the hop bitterness balances it out. The beer is crisp and dry in the finish, leaving a heated after-feel. These are here to keep you warm on that crisp autumn Thanksgiving night.
Two Brothers Domaine DuPage French Country Ale
- Style: Farmhouse Ale
At 6.2 percent ABV, this beer offers ultimate deliciousness and will gel perfectly well with your lip-smacking Thanksgiving meal. It is an award-winning craft beer. The French Country Ale offers a toasty caramel sweetness, and the hops are represented as palate cleansers.
There are flavors of orange, citrus, acorn, mild caramel and some faint dill pickle off the back. Due to the presence of big caramel maltiness, the beer goes well with spicy dishes. It finishes slightly dry and warm, again, perfect for cool autumn nights. This beer won’t disappoint.
Big Sky Brewing Moose Drool Brown Ale
- Style: American Brown Ale
This is one of the best beers that go perfectly with a Thanksgiving turkey. It has fresh aromas of nuts, toffee and mild and pleasant sweetness of honey. On the palate, it tastes the malty sweetness of chocolate and coffee flavors.
There is some burnt coffee aftertaste, but it lasts only a couple of seconds. It is very light in body, has some creaminess, with a good amount of carbonation and just enough hop spiciness. At an ABV of 5.1 percent, this beer is a pleasant pour and an easy drink.
Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter
- Style: American Porter
At an ABV of 5.4 percent, this beer has a wholesome taste of vanilla and toasted grains. It boasts subtle flavors of vanilla and dark roasted malts. This Ale has all the classic characteristics of a regular Porter – chocolate and roasted nut flavor.
There are some notes of fig and lightly roasted coffee on the palate The finish gives a feel of toasted chestnut with light carbonation and a full body and light finish. This beer is full of delicious flavors and is an overall smooth drink.
It’s best paired with a delicious pumpkin pie, so if this is your finishing dish for the evening, you know which beer to pick. This is a perfect finisher for a hearty Thanksgiving meal.
Harpoon Brewery & Beer, Hall Winter Warmer
- Style: Winter Warmer
At 5.9 percent ABV, this delicious dark copper ale is the ultimate winter warmer on a cold Thanksgiving night. If you are a fan of cozy atmospheres like the Danish folks, then this is your best option. Plus, it goes perfectly well with a cozy family Thanksgiving dinner.
On the first sip, you feel strong notes of cinnamon followed by notes of nutmeg and roasted malts. It tastes like it smells – like a spiced malt Ale. Spices rise more at the back of the throat. There is a generous warmth at the end of the sip.
Excel Brewing Company, Bruja
- Style: Pumpkin Beer
At an ABV of 12 percent, Bruja is an extremely strong Pumpkin Beer. This beer is aged in Anejo tequila barrels, and some tasters even call it a gem. With an airy light white head, light body and absolute luster, this beer has tons of tequila spice, brown sugar, vanilla and oak finish.
This beer is sweet and strong (as mirrored by its alcohol content). It has a lot of toasty and warming grain characters, which makes for a perfect Pumpkin beer base. Tequila is what makes the beer super interesting.
If you are someone looking to call it an early night, this beer will do the trick. Its high alcohol content just acts as a good wrapping-the-night and tucking-into-bed beer.
Bosteels Brewery Tripel Karmeliet
- Style: Belgian Tripel
At an ABV of 8.4 percent, this beer is full of love, patience and passion. This beer has been perfected time and again across seven generations and has stayed award-winning since. The brewers use a three-grain recipe of barley, oats and wheat.
This beer is super refined, with a good balance of malt and hop character. It has some soft fruity notes of banana. Some brewers call it an all-terrain brew as it is hoppy and zesty, with some spice yeast esters. Tripel Karmeliet is utter perfection when it comes to a hearty Thanksgiving meal.
Best Beer Styles for Thanksgiving
When you are planning a big Thanksgiving dinner, drinks are mostly an afterthought. You are busy planning the big things, trying to make the perfect turkey, deciding on the desert, the dip and the sauce. When it comes to the beverage, most people prefer a good wine or a fancy cocktail, but here is something to reconsider.
While beer generally goes with almost every meal, when it comes down to a good family holiday meal like Thanksgiving, you don’t want to go wrong with your choice of beverage. These are some of the beer styles to stock over the holidays so you never go wrong with serving the perfect drink to your guests.
India Pale Ale
A rich, full-bodied American IPA with an ABV of 5 to 8 percent goes well with Thanksgiving dinner. Their distinct fruity and earthy aromas pair well with a well-cooked, smoked turkey and cranberry sauce.
This Pale Ale is highly carbonated and filled with rich, fruity and spicy flavors. These flavors also pair extremely well with a Thanksgiving meal, making this the go-to style for most Thanksgiving party hosts.
A strong Belgian Ale is filled with caramel and malt flavors. This style is extremely low on hop bitterness and is extremely sessionable. Because of its low to moderate flavor profile, this beer style is also a good pair with that roasted turkey.
These beers are medium-bodied and have chocolate, coffee and toffee-like flavors. They have a slight tart finish and pair well with a Thanksgiving dinner because they have a slight dessert-like taste and feel on the palate.
Gose Style Ale
This type of beer is less famous than other styles. These beers have a lemon sour flavor with an underlining herbal characteristic. They also contain a strong saltiness, which makes them a good pairing for Thanksgiving dinner.
Is beer used to make thanksgiving turkey?
No, beer is not traditionally used to make Thanksgiving turkey. However, some recipes may include beer as an ingredient for flavoring.
Was beer served at the first thanksgiving?
There is no historical record that beer was served at the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims are known to have consumed water, wine, and possibly beer-like beverages made from fermented corn.
Are Ales great as a thanksgiving pairing?
Ales can be a great pairing with Thanksgiving dishes, particularly those with bold and savory flavors. However, individual taste preferences may vary.
Everyone enjoys a good brew, and honestly, you can never go wrong with beer.
With newer and fresher brews popping up every other day, beers have become the go-to option for family get-togethers, so here are some of the best beers for Thanksgiving:
- Founders Breakfast Stout will help you pull an all-nighter. It is filled with the goodness of caffeine and will keep you going for a long time.
- Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Sour Rose is the perfect choice of beer if you prefer wine over beer. It tastes and smells like wine.
- New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale is one beer that most people prefer as it doesn’t overpower their favorite bird of the night.
- Russian River Brewing Damnation is right on track with its brews and Damnation is an excellent example of warm, earthy tones with a crackery, biscuity base.
- Old Rasputin Imperial Stout has a high caramel maltiness, so this beer blends perfectly well with spicy, roasted foods.
Thanksgiving calls for family get-togethers and delicious meals, so a perfectly paired beer is the one thing that would end the holiday night on a good note. These beers are some of the most loved and tried Thanksgiving beers, so why not stock up on your favorites and enjoy the holidays with family and friends!