Let’s Get Basted – Turkey Day Beer Pairings from Jeremy

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  Among the things i’m thankful for, I would be remiss not to mention the beer community of this town.   I’ve met some of my best friends in this city through a shared love (read: obsession) of all things beer.  If you’re reading this blog, there is a good chance that beer is probably a big part of your life as well.   I’m also thankful for beer, in general.   I mean, how awesome is beer?  Very awesome.   


I don’t ever need an excuse to open a beer, but Thanksgiving is certainly good reason.   If you’re planning a cellar raid, you’re probably covered.  But If you’re not planning on popping any vintage stouts, gueuzes or barrel-aged barleywines …..keep reading.   

(My guess is that Uncle Joe isn’t ready for #whalez yet anyway…)


Meal Prep/Appetizers/When the hell is that turkey done?


  • KC Bier Co. – Helles Lager


Light and easy to drink, this is a safe bet – even the occasional beer drinkers.


  • Firestone Walker – Pivo Pils


Same concept as above.  Super tasty, and won’t fill you up before the main course.  Slightly more hoppy than Helles, but not enough to turn away someone who “doesn’t like hops.”


  • Prairie – Flare


This gose is tart, fruity, and pairs well with many common appetizers.  Low in ABV, and just a touch salty on the finish, this will warm those salivary glands right up!


  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale


A true classic.  In general, hops do not pair well with traditional Thanksgiving meals.  

However, if you GOTTA have some hops… maybe skip the double IPA.  Sierra Nevada is just hoppy enough to give you that bite you’re looking for, and is recognizable to even the non-beer nerd folks in your family.   Are you thankful for craft beer?  Because Sierra Nevada had a monumental hand in showing craft beer’s commercial viability to the beer industry.  Pay homage to one of the biggest forefathers of craft.  


Main Course:


  • Bell’s – Best Brown Ale


Best Brown is a versatile choice.  The roastiness helps hold the beer up to strong food flavors, but lesser levels of bitterness ensure it doesn’t overpower a dish.   The creamy mouthfeel does well to not get in the way of food either.   And with cold weather in full swing, this a perfect selection without going into the double digits on ABV.   


  • Fantome – Pissenlit Saison


Saisons are a classic style choice for the main course.  The herbal, spice and yeast notes do well to complement many of the savory flavors.  The body is light, and the carbonation is refreshing and helps to keep your palate from fatigue.   Pissenlit is an authentic Belgian saison brewed with dandelions.   The dry and earthy flavors play well with turkey, roasted veggies, and stuffing.


  • North Coast – Le Merle


This well-made American take on the saison is a great choice.  Bitterness is minimum in this one, and a yeasty, dry and slightly tart finish help to cut the fat in a dish and let other flavors shine.  The finish is also a great palate cleanser.   


  • Weihenstephaner – Korbinian


Doppelbock is another great style choice for the main course.  If you have a German beer fan in your family, this is the beer for you.  Notes of dark fruit, nuts, and toffee meet a full body and sweet boozy finish.   Perfect alongside the bird!   


  • Boulevard – Bundle Up Barleywine


Barleywine is a common recommendation.   The caramel and raisin flavors meet earthy hops for balance, and a full body is backed by a sweet boozy finish.   Complex but well-balanced, this will play well with the rich flavors of the main course.   




  • North Coast – Old Rasputin


Stouts work well with many types of desserts.  If you want bang for your buck, Old Rasputin is a solid choice.  A nice ABV to help you drift off into food-coma-land, and enough roasty flavors to stand up to the sweetness of dessert.


  • Crane – Omar Porter (Growlers in Brookside!)


This well balanced porter would pair well with chocolate-based dishes.  And it’s local!  Third reason?  Growlers are 10% off on Thanksgiving!  This is a draft only release, but have a growler station sure takes care of that problem, doesn’t it?!

  1. Torn Label – House Brew

Want a kick of coffee in your dessert beer?  Torn Label’s House Brew is a great choice.  A respectable 6.5% ABV keeps the party rolling, but a light and drinkable body won’t make this a chore to finish with that mountain of food already down the hatch.   

  1. Evil Twin – Even More Jesus

Have fun explaining to grandma why a brewery called EVIL Twin makes a beer with JESUS in the name.   Oh well, this will taste great with her cake.  A whopping 12% ABV and enough roastiness to complement the sweetness of dessert.  And you’ll need that ABV to tolerate any “kids these days” or political discussion that you may endure.  You know why this is a beer to be thankful for? $3.99 per 16oz can of a stellar imperial stout.   

  1. Crane – Beet Weiss

Sours can have their place, too!  Crane’s Beet Weiss will be a tasty talking point as well.  The bright color, the fact that it has beets in it, and that it tastes amazing!  The sourness pairs well with many sweets, and the earthiness of the beets helps balance the counterpoint of sweet food with sour beer.   And being a local selection, this is a no-brainer.  


Hopefully this gives you a few ideas.   In case you missed it, we’ll be open tomorrow!  So if the grocery store gets the best of you, we’ll be open at 8:30 AM on Turkey Day, and will be happy to help you knock that task off your list.  Growler fans, stop by for a fill!  All growler fills at all 3 stores are 10% off on Thanksgiving.  Check out the taplists on Untappd or www.mikeskc.com


Happy holidays!

Jeremy Morton | Mike’s Wine & Spirits Beer Manager

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