Best beer for Thanksgiving?

Everyone always goes on and on about what’s the best wine to have with one’s turkey and trimmings, but nobody seems interested in beer. A shame, since there are so many wonderful beers out there.

Since I’m fortunate to live in a region where the local Safeway has a roughly 100-foot long refrigerated case filled with dozens and dozens of mini- and microbrews to pick from, what’s good?

To start things off, I’ve heard good things about Anchor Steam and Red Tail ale. Haven’t had a chance to actually try them out, though.

Usually, if I’m drinking beer, it’s Guiness, but that’s probably too heavy to go with the turkey and potatos and stuffing and gravy and and and…

If you’re willing to try a pumpkin ale (very seasonably appropriate IMO), I’d suggest Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale or if you can’t find that, Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale.

I would think the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale would go well with Thanksgiving fare. Then again, I’m at a loss to think of what it wouldn’t go with.

Maybe Donner. Don’t serve it if you’re having any Donner.

I’ll just be drinking iced tea during the feast, but will start in on pints of Guinness or Kilkenny at the pub afterward.

Jesus, you don’t ask for much, do you? :wink:

I’d argue for going with something only mildly hoppy, with a fairly rich flavor and strong aroma to compete with the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, et cetera. If you want to stick with just beers, I’d stay inside the amber to nut brown range, in which case my favorite recommendation would be Samual Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, which is as close to manna as beer gets. If you’re willing extend yourself a bit more, I’d argue for a Abbey or Trappist ale–in fact, I had the Chimay Rouge last year for Thanksgiving, but couldn’t convince anyone else to join me. I think Bleue would pair okay as well, but I don’t think the Blanche is right for a heavy turkey dinner. But there’s no reason to stop with Chimay; there’s a whole range of Trappist-style ales (Duvel, Delirium Tremens, Westmalle, et cetera) to check out; Chimay is just probably the easiest to find. I agree Guinness isn’t probably the thing for that meal, but it’s nice to walk into the pub after escaping the typical family commotion or whatnot and have a Guinness and play a bit of snooker while calculating how long it’ll take everyone to settle down and the kids to fall asleep.

Anyway, I’m right on with having a beer instead of wine with Thanksgiving, which is after all, supposed to be a traditional family-style meal without a lot of pretense or delicacy. Good on you.

Now, what kind of whiskey should follow the meal? I’d argue something simple, like a Black Bush or Arbelour 12 Year, as the pallet is going to be too exhausted to appreciate something more complex, but I’m sure the bourbon fans will come up with something totally unappealing to me.

Pumpkin ale is the smut of Satan. But then, I can’t really stand anything pumpkin-related, so I take that comment for what it’s worth.


One of the beer blogs I read had a blind pumpkin ale tasting recently, and Cottonwood came out way on top.

A good brown ale like Newcastle would be good, but something hoppier like the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale would stand up well to the rich flavors of Thanksgiving.

I’ll probably go with Sam Adams Lite

We don’t get a lot of your fancy beers over here, although the beer situation has improved exponentially over the years. I would love a nice Trappist ale, though.

I’m the total opposite, I love just about anything pumpkin related. I agree with you on the Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale though. I had that for the first time a few weeks ago and I loved it.

So y’all are sayin’ that Old Style is right out then, right?

I had Sam Adams Cherry Wheat with Thanksgiving last year, and it was rather nice. But, I’m not a beer snob so I can’t offer you anything more than my own personal taste.

But the Cherry Wheat is good by itself, too, and this is coming from a girl who absolutely despises every type of wheat beer she’s ever had, save Sam Adams.

I had a pumpkin ale last night that was completely awesome - unfortunately I don’t remember the name, because they were out of the one on the menu and she rattled off the one they did have and I said okay. But it was really good.

Hey, whatever floats your boat. It’s just not what I would recommend.


Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic.

Checks fridge

Looks like Negra Modelo, here. Of course I’m doing brisket instead of turkey, so MMWV :slight_smile:

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. It’s their seasonal winter beer, and it’s one of the few reasons to get excited about the holiday season. If you can find it, get it. It is quite possibly (maybe) my favorite beer (today).

Edited to add a link.

Guinness. Not too heavy so I can shovel more food into my tummy. Oh what I’d give for 4 stomachs this time of year.

Guinness is actually quite a light beer, despite the color. Much lighter than just about everything mentioned in this thread, including the Anchor Steam and Red Tail you mention.

As for what goes with Turkey… I’d go with something like the aforementioned Belgians rather than something overly hoppy. Then again, I don’t know that I’ve ever done beer with turkey. Sounds like an occasion to open several different kinds and experiment.

Oh and I’m not drinking my Guinness with turkey. We’re bucking trad and having a standing rib roast tomorrow. Mmmmmm, rib roast…drooooool.

I plan to have some Sam Adams Winter Lager with my bird tomorrow. I had the Cranberry Lambic last year around this time, although not with food. I didn’t like it much and I don’t think having it with a meal would change that much. It’s very tart and is probably the only Sam Adams variety besides their springtime White Ale that left me with a sour look on my face because they’re both so sweet and citrusy and not in a good way, so they weren’t very drinkable to me.

Boston Beer Company also has two Sam Adams varieties called Old Fezziwig Ale and Holiday Porter, the latter of which I remember being pretty tasty. Not a very complex porter, but drinkable with an inoffensive semi-sweet chocolate/malt/coffee thing going on. I think it’s my favorite of all their winter seasonals. I still like the regular Boston Lager the most, but I think these are good varieties to recommend with holiday meals since they’re pretty easy to find.