American Craft Beer With Food At Thanksgiving

Celebrate American Craft Beer With Food This Thanksgiving

American Craft Beer and Food

It’s Thanksgiving Day on 28th November and what better way to show allegiance with our transatlantic friends than by indulging in high-quality American craft beer paired with mouth-watering food dishes.

American Craft Beer and Food Pairing

Beer has a wider flavour spectrum than almost any other beverage and can accompany almost any food partner. Here are a few tips from ‘s Executive Chef, Adam Dulye to wow your family and friends with your own beer and food pairing creations this holiday season:

Match strength with strength.  Pair delicate dishes with lighter craft beers and strongly flavoured dishes with intense, more assertive beer styles.

Use the dominant flavour or ingredient in a dish as the starting point.  Hops are very food-friendly and will go with just about any food.

Think of beer as just another ingredient in a recipe, except it’s in a glass not on the plate!

Avoid incorporating beer within the recipe because cooking drives off flavour and, depending on the beer, may enhance bitterness.

Foods with spice, heat or acidity are a great way to showcase certain beers – hops can calm heat and spices, malt can balance acidity while carbonation can cleanse the palate.

Apply the three Cs!  Look for beers that complement, cut or contrast the flavours in your dish.

Taste, taste, taste! Experiment with flavours to find what works for you and be adventurous!

Food Pairing and American Craft Beer

Beer styles can be broken down into six flavour profiles ie:

Crisp and Clean  
Refreshing, delicate and slightly dry, these beers work well with light salt, vegetable or citrus flavours.    Salinity and carbonation respond well to the herbal notes of hops and lighter fats like olive oil work really well with carbonation.  Beer has a scrubbing effect that will lift fat off your palate and leave you ready for the next bite.

Beer examples:  Amber lager, Blonde Ale, Helles, Kölsch, Maibock, Marzen and Pilsner
Food suggestions:  grain-based dishes like risotto, pasta dishes, various salads, vegetable dishes.

Hoppy and Bitter
Hops contribute the majority of aromas and bitterness found in most beer styles.  They respond well to pairing with fatty food as the hops do here what carbonation does in a lighter style, ie. cleanse the palate of overwhelming and intense flavours.  This flavour profile can be earthy and bitter, herbal and citrus or resiny and piney.

American Craft Beer

Beer examples: Amber Ale, Barley Wine, ESB,  Imperial IPA, IPA and Pale Ale.
Meal suggestions: spicy foods, curry, pizza, cheese, carrot cake.

Malty and Sweet
Malty and sweet beers develop caramel flavours and toffee notes and are less about contrasting and more about complementing. Full-bodied and dark, they often rely on their carbonation level to showcase what little hops they have.  A lot of German-style beers fall into this category like dunkels and doppelbocks.

Beer examples:  American Brown Ale, Belgian-style Dubbel, Bière de Garde, Dopplebock, Dunkel and Scotch Ale.

Meal suggestions: roast turkey, roast chicken, meatballs, pork, duck, charcuterie cheese, Christmas cake or Christmas pudding.

Rich and Roasty
These beers bring intensely deep, rich flavours: barrel-aged bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, coffee and sometimes a smoky aroma to the table.  Dishes that work well include those with roasted fats and ingredients that can hold up to these stronger styles of beers.
They go with foods that are charred and grilled, or anything with a clean and briny finish, like oysters.

Beer examples:  Brown Ale, Imperial Stout, Irish Dry Stout, Milk Stout, Porter, Schwarzbier.  Meal suggestions:  ribs, burgers, barbecue, spicy foods, oysters, chocolate

Fruity & Spicy
Flavours are mainly driven by yeast with notes of stone fruits, citrus, ginger and caper-like salt..   With such spicy aromatics, foods that would go well with rosé or white wine work here.

Beer examples: Belgian Blond  Ale, Belgian-style Wit, Gruit, Hefeweizen,  Saison, Tripel
Meal suggestions: crayfish, shellfish, smoked salmon, fish and chips, sushi

American Craft Beer and Food Pairing

Sour, Tart & Funky
Often barrel-aged and may have fruit or natural sugars added to accentuate flavours and tartness.  They range from gentle, light almost bone dry beers such as BerlinerWeisse or Gose that are great with raw or barely cooked seafood, to lambics or gueuze (often with fruit like strawberries, tart cherries, rhubarb), to Flanders ales which may be a little more vinegary but make a great sweet and sour sauce when reduced!

Beer examples: American Brett, American Sour, Flanders Ale, Gose, Gueze, Lambic
Meal suggestions: seafood, sweet n sour stir fry, creamy desserts, cheesecake, crème brulee, goat’s cheese

More information is available on

We have a wide selection of American craft beer available on our site including beers from Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Foolproof Brewing Co., Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Odell Brewing Co., Port City Brewing Co., Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Spencer Brewery and Tailgate Brewery to help you plan your menu this Thanksgiving!