Bartenders Tell Us The Best Beers To Pair With Thanksgiving Desserts

This Thursday — once you’ve had your fill of roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a dozen other belly-busting sides — be sure to leave room for dessert. Holiday favorites include pumpkin pie, Tollhouse pie, pecan pie, and any number of fruit-based pies and cakes. We encourage you to try them all. Twice.

And what to wash it all down with? You could definitely go with bourbon. But there are also more than enough beers that would be perfectly suited to take on that role. Plus, instead of just washing down your sweet treats, many porters, stouts, and sour ales help add to the flavor experience.

Graham Courter, bar manager at Main Street Meats in Chattanooga, Tennessee opts for sour beers.

“Years ago, I worked in a craft beer bar, and I really got into bringing Belgium beers to Thanksgiving for my family to try,” he says. “Rodenbach Gran Cru Flemish Sour is still talked about at our gatherings. It’s not super sweet, but well-balanced with a bright tartness. Paired with my uncle’s pumpkin cheesecake and homemade Chantilly, it was the perfect cap to an evening of excess.”

Others opt for the rich, bold notes of a well-made stout. This includes Ben Rojo, bartender at Black Emperor in New York City.

“My favorite beer with Thanksgiving dessert is the Morticia Stout from Barrier Brewing, made right here in the Rockaways,” he says. “A full-flavored, full-bodied Russian Imperial Stout, Morticia’s roasted nose and chocolate-driven palate pair perfectly with the entire pecan pie set aside for me each year.”

Those aren’t the only options when it comes to pairing beer and desserts. That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us their go-to’s.

Lucas Siegel, bar manager at Von Elrod’s Beer Hall & Kitchen in Nashville

When it’s time to break out the thanksgiving dessert, be it sweet or savory, surprise your friends and family with a perfect pairing: a nice tart sour. Destihl’s Cranberry Criek has been a personal favorite and a big hit with the varied flavor profiles in our restaurant, and it makes just as good a side as your grandma’s cranberry sauce.

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