Beer and Wine That Go Well With Turkey

best beers and wine to pair with turkey

A lot goes into planning the perfect holiday dinner. You send the invites, make the lists and plan for a long weekend of grocery shopping. And while food and friendship are ingredients that make any Thanksgiving dinner memorable, why not step things up this year and plan a purposeful pairing for the evening’s main dish—the turkey. The best part about this big meal is that there are plenty of beer and wine options that will make you a confident host.

Best Beer for Thanksgiving

When thinking about a Thanksgiving beer to pair with your turkey, it’s important to start with its preparation. Grilled, smoked or fried all deliver different varieties of tastes that you can use to playfully pair with a holiday or a more traditional style beer.

Scotch Ales

Are you smoking a turkey this year? While extremely versatile, in terms of pairing, Scotch ales bring a sweet malt flavor and aroma to the table. With an underlying hint of caramel, this type of beer pairs nicely if you plan to smoke your main dish. What’s more, if spiced root vegetables are on the menu, you’ve got an ale that will complement the side dish. Bonus points if you serve this up in a thistle.

Amber Ale

If you are taking the time to ensure your turkey has the perfect caramelized skin, then you want to look for a beer that applies a similar brewing process. Amber ales get their amazing color from the use of caramel and crystal malts – and like your turkey – are roasted to perfection. This process brings out a more toasted, toffee flavor, pairing perfectly with grilled or roasted meats.


For the final bite, try pairing the cocoa sweetness of a porter with your dessert. Yes, this is all about the turkey, but we couldn’t help ourselves. From pecan pie to a holiday-inspired cheesecake, if you are serving up a decadent dessert, this bold beer’s notes are perfect for sipping in between each bite. 

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing

For some reason, pairing wine with Thanksgiving always seems daunting. But it doesn’t need to. There’s just something magical that happens when you combine the meaty succulent flavors of a roasted turkey with fruity or earthy flavors of a great wine. Here are few suggestions for your table.


Did you know you could baste a turkey with Chardonnay? If it’s good enough to cook with, it’s good enough to drink alongside. Chardonnays -with their oaky notes – are great if you are planning to roast your turkey. This full-bodied wine is always a crowd pleaser and is an easy pairing if you aren’t wanting to get too adventurous this season.

Pinot Noir

A good Pinot Noir is like a great insurance policy because it can cover everything. This wine is as versatile as they come. From notes of mushrooms and cherry to floral and fruit, this red wine brings out all the traditional flavors you want from your turkey and even your side dishes. If your dishes feature cranberry, apples, allspice or cinnamon, a good Pinot Noir will always complement. 

Dessert Wine

We did it with beers, so why not with wines? Things can get a bit complicated when you combine wine with sweet desserts, and we didn’t want to leave anyone guessing. For those at the table who may want to sip wine after dinner, a good dessert wine possesses a profile that complements the dessert, not overpowers it. If pumpkin pie is on the menu, we recommend a wine that combines stone fruits with citrus. These notes work well with fall spices and the rounder flavor of pumpkin pie.

Let Tap on Ponce Help You Find the Perfect Pairing

Got holiday plans that require some planning? Swing by The Tap on Ponce where we can help you find the perfect pairing or shop our current selection online. Cheers!

Categories: Beer, Wine