Beer pairings perfect for Thanksgiving

Cherokee Rachel DukeThanksgiving is a time to celebrate with friends, family and loved ones. If you’re hosting a celebration, you can spice up the average apple cider and serve some festive adult beverages at your dinner or holiday gathering.

First, we have a recipe for a beer cocktail called Pumpkin Cider. This is an easy addition to Thanksgiving because it’s simple to make, it looks and tastes festive and you can make it in batches. This recipe makes about four servings. You can serve it with dinner or as a special cocktail.

To make four servings in a pitcher, you’ll mix 2 bottles of Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale and a ½ bottle of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. Then, simply garnish with a cinnamon stick, lemon wedge and sprinkle of cinnamon.

The Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale has great traditional, seasonal flavors because it’s made with real pumpkins, as well as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and orange peel. You can use other pumpkin beers, but if they come in a standard 12-ounce bottle instead of these 22-ounce bottles that are called Bombers [show Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale bottle], you may want to add three bottles instead of two.

Next, we recommend trying a Cranberry Ginger Cocktail. This cocktail has beer and vodka, much like a Moscow Mule, which is a popular drink right now. You also can make this recipe in batches, but you may want to serve it as a before or after-dinner cocktail. For this drink, we’re using Leinenkugel’s Cranberry Ginger Shandy, which is part of their seasonal Winter Explorer Pack.

To make six servings, we’ll mix:

  • 2 cups of the Leinenkugel’s Cranberry Ginger Shandy
  • 2 cups of apple juice
  • 1 cup of cranberry juice
  • 1 cup of ginger ale
  • ½ cup of vodka
  • Serve it over ice and garnish with an apple slice

Everyone loves dessert on Thanksgiving and throughout the holidays. An easy and delicious way to incorporate a craft beer is to substitute your regular after-dinner coffee and instead have a coffee-flavored beer with your dessert. One beer with coffee notes that we recommend is the Thunderstruck Coffee Porter by Highland Brewing Company. It has rich roasted flavor and subtle fruit, spice and chocolate notes.

There are many other seasonal and holiday beers available in your local grocery and liquor stores. They feature festive packaging and unique seasonal flavors, so they’re perfect for serving at holiday parties or bringing as a host or hostess gift. Just a few examples to look for include Delirium Noel, Samuel Adams Winter Lager and Shiner Cheer.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And always remember to be safe and drink responsibly.

To see these tips in action, check out this clip from “Live at Five at Four” on WBIR-TV Channel 10: