The Ultimate Beer Pairing Guide for the Holidays

The ultimate beer pairing guide for your holiday parties.
The holiday season is upon us. This means plentiful food, drink, and stronger drinks. We’ve all heard about pairing wine with our food, but what about beer? Beer has many different varieties including pilsner, IPA, pale ale, stout, lager, and wheat beer—just to name a few. They all come with their own tastes. For instance, a lager is a cleaner-tasting beer with an amber coloring. Now, a few other beers have amber coloring as well, but these are just a few characteristics of a typical lager.

With the growing popularity of craft beer, it seems like now is the perfect time to give you a guide to breaking out the perfect beer for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. We’ll start with Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving

Come November the trees have shed all their leaves, and the time is ripe for a Thanksgiving dinner full of pumpkin pie, turkey, and stuffing. Now, there are many beers we’re about to recommend for each separate dish, so if you want to pick one and stick with it, that’s fine. It’s also fine if you choose to try all of them—we’re certainly not judging.

Caesar Salad

Starting off with a Caesar salad is not uncommon for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a basic, creamy combination of Parmesan, lemon, and anchovy, and would be paired well with a light wheat beer. The more complex flavors the beer has, the better.

Stuffing

We recommend a nice Pilsner to help wash down the stuffing of your Thanksgiving dinner. The Craft Beer Club sources some brews from Diamond Bear Brewing Company, which has a delicious German-style Pilsner that would work with this.

Cranberry Sauce

The tangy flavor of cranberry sauce pairs well with the rich flavor of a traditional IPA. It really adds another layer to the flavors when paired right. Try out the Apocalypse IPA from 10 Barrel Brewing Company. It’s 10 Barrels most popular brew, combining flavors of toast, lemon zest, and citrus making for a complex brew.

Turkey

We’ve gotten to the granddaddy of Thanksgiving dinner—the Turkey. We recommend an amber ale for your main dish this Thanksgiving season. The Wynkoop brewing company from Craft Beer Club sports a delicious amber ale that has the malty flavor of an Oktoberfest lager and the slight fruitiness of a typical ale, which is perfect for this time of year.

Pumpkin Pie

One of the most prominent Thanksgiving dishes is Pumpkin Pie. You’re not going to want to spoil the opportunity for a great pairing with this seasonal desert. We recommend a strong dark ale. Its high-strength flavors are enough to be a dessert on its own, and are paired nicely with Pumpkin Pie.

Christmas

It’s not hard to get excited about Christmas dinner. The buttered rolls, green beans, and savory ham are all enough to widen our eyes come December. Here are a few wonderful dishes and our equally wonderful beer pairing suggestions.

Buttered Rolls

The rolls are enough to fill everyone up before the ham is served, and when you’re drinking a beer to compliment it, this statement is especially fitting. Try a black, German-style lager with your bread this holiday season. The Germans are already famous for their bread preferences, so trust them to deliver a great compliment to your rolls this season.

Green Bean Casserole

Try an American pale ale with your Christmas green bean casserole. The diversity of tastes in the casserole fits well with the citrus hops and toasted barley grains of a traditional pale ale. You can find a pale ale from Hale’s Brewery, which is sourced from the Craft Beer Club on our website.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

The buttery flavor of good mashed potatoes is accented well with gravy. It’s the gravy that beer drinkers must zero in on when pairing their beer with this traditional Thanksgiving side. We recommend a Brown Ale that typically has hints of cocoa, caramel, and/or light fruit. This darker beer compliments the gravy quite well in mashed potatoes. Look at the Brown Ale that Uinta Brewery carries from the Craft Beer Club website.

Ham

Thanksgiving has Turkey, and Christmas has ham. The salty flavor of traditional hams are paired well with a strong German wheat ale. German wheat ales act almost like a second glaze to the ham, and are bold enough to face this powerful main course head on.

Prime Rib

We recommend a Pilsner with your Christmas Day Prime Rib. It has a bitter flavoring that counteracts well with this beautiful piece of meat, and is sure to please everyone in the family come Christmastime.

We bet you’re ready to dive into your Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners right about now—and that’s good. Whether you want to purchase many beer varieties for dinner or a few, we have you covered. Now all that’s missing is a perfectly roasted Turkey or Ham!

Don’t forget that you can go on our website and purchase any beer varieties you need for the upcoming holiday by joining one of these exclusive beer of the month clubs. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner!



Thomas Kuegler is a Senior Editor/Researcher with Revuezzle and originally hails from Baltimore, MD, where he received his degree in Marketing. Despite loving Baltimore-indigenous pit beef and being an avid Oriole's fan, he recently decided to take residency in Orlando, FL. In his free time he enjoys reading, watching any movie that's being shown in theaters, and hunting down opportunities to take a picture with Pluto at Magic Kingdom. In the future he aspires to be a published author and write a movie script for the ages.

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