If I Ruled the Thanksgiving Beer Fridge

I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year, or any year for the foreseeable future. It’s a mighty change for me, and I must admit not an easy one. I love hosting very much, partially because I love parties but also partially because I love cooking. And this year it’s also a bit hard because I finally feel like I got my legs under me for not only planning the meal but exactly how I’d do the beer. And, well, that basically requires knowing the food.

I thought.

Then I reconsidered.

Really, Thanksgiving might be just about the most easy to predict meal on the American menu. So I decided I might as well just pretend I was hosting and tell you guys what beers I’d have on hand (and why!) if I ruled the Thanksgiving beer fridge/cooler/washing machine.

Please note, this assumes I have access to any damn beer I want. This is never the case. In Oregon, for example, I cannot get the first beer on this list. However, I share this with you because it’s my dream list, and hopefully it will inspire your beer and food plan.

Now! Onto the beers!


Allagash White

Because I presume the “pre-game” time can last for several hours with only light noshes to stave off any potential drunkenness, I would aim to not have anything above about 5% ABV available, even though I think there’d be rumblings from a number of folks who are aiming to get sloshed before dinner begins. But you still need something flavorful and interesting (partially to stave off grumblings), so the corriander, wheat, and orange flavors of this beer will be satisfying without being overly filling or boring.


Blood Orange Gose

It’s got a bit of salinity, and will go fairly well with just about anything on the appetizer table. It’s fairly low in alcohol (around 4% ABV) so no one’s going to get sloshed before the turkey even shows up. At least, not without trying. But there’s more. It’s bracingly tart, which is bound to get folks salivating slightly. That will cue them up to be hungry for the big meal ahead. And, with orange notes, it’s a direct tie in to the previous beer.

Lunch was onigiri with brown rice, with two sage and oregano

Main Meal


Because it’s fucking amazing. And screw anyone who disagrees.

Ok, not really. But I am sad for them, because it’s damn delicious. And it works well for Thanksgiving in a variety of ways. One, it’s a saison, which (protip!) is like the cheater beer style for “food and beer.” It’s also slightly fruity, which makes it oddly refreshing. It’s highly effervescent, which leaves the palate clear for the next bite. It’s made with white peppercorns, so it plays fantastically with food. But the pepper isn’t so overpowering that it won’t also pair well with the marshmallow sweet potato casserole your family insists be on the table. And the fruity notes from above will come in well here too. Finally? It’s also slightly sour. So, once again it’s going to stimulate some appetite. And, let’s be honest, that’s part of what Thanksgiving is all about. Food. Food. Lots of food.

Yes, that's a bottle of Gillian on top of some leaves in the crook of a tree.

But Thanksgiving is also about sharing and togetherness, and that’s the final reason I recommend Gillian. It only comes in 765 mL bottles, which means it is absolutely meant for sharing.


Unita Brewing’s Sea Legs

Chocolatey, sweet, big booze but not huge booze. This is the barrel-aged beer of my dreams. (Ok, one of them.)

And, frankly, that chocolate flavor with slight hints of bourbon is made for pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and whatever weird-ass thing your friend Al shows up with. And if Al’s dessert is the only dessert, well, this beer is tasty and filling enough to be dessert by itself.

Finally, every sip is satisfying and leads to your guests talking late into the night with you. It’s a beer for lovers, dreamers, and you. And me.

What are your Thanksgiving beer or other beverage plans? Are you hosting, or going elsewhere?

If this isn’t enough of a list for you, go check out The Kitchenista Diaries on Saturday.

10 thoughts on “If I Ruled the Thanksgiving Beer Fridge

  1. Posts like this make me feel like I need to check out a beer-pairing dinner one of these days. I’ve never tried matching beers to foods and it sounds like a fun way to enjoy a meal. But no way would I be able to drink 4 whole beers in an evening and not fall over!

    • Definitely check out a beer and food pairing event someday! It’s so much fun, even when you disagree with the pairing. And it’s always educational.

      If you have to skip one… Well, just ask for half pours of the Gillian and the Sea Legs. Like you would if you just wanted to taste from a wine bottle. 😀

  2. This is timely in more than one way. I had already scheduled a assignment very similar to this for my BREW 100 students this coming week. Nice to see your choices!

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