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.
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.
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).
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.
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.