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Thanksgiving Day - Cook with Beer Recipes and Beer Pairings

October 15, 2017


When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of spending the day with my beautiful family from near and far, catching up, playing games, laughing and of course eating.  And it's not just eating your everyday meals, I'm talking about rich, fatty, sweet, heavy foods.  Foods that you are allowed to indulge in specifically on this special holiday.  Diets are thrown out the window for 24 hours, but usually 48 (thanks to the many leftovers). And even though these filling foods leave me full and sleepy, I add delicious filling craft beers into the mix.  I love craft beers in the Fall.  Sweet and malty ales like Belgian Dubbel, Tripel or Quad, Brown Ale, Porter and Stouts.  So warm and comforting.  Oh and Pumpkin Ales.  So good.


I love cooking with beer, especially when I am using my own homebrews.  But if you don't homebrew, that is fine.  There are tons of amazing craft beers on the market that are easier to find nowadays.  And if you don't want to necessarily cook with beer, you can do some terrific thanksgiving dinner beer pairings.  If you live near any microbreweries and own a growler, I recommend seeing what they are offering for the Fall season before heading to the grocery store. 


Pairing food and beer is fun and very satisfying.  You are bringing new life to your dishes as well as your favorite craft beers.  I am thrilled to bring you some wonderful recipes that use malt forward ales as well as some great thanksgiving dinner pairings for Belgian Dubbel, Brown Ale and Belgian Golden Strong Ale.  





Belgian Dubbel


Belgian Dubbels are generally clear and appear to be dark amber to copper in color with a reddish depth of color.  The aroma of a Belgian Dubbel is complex, with rich malty sweetness and may have hints of chocolate, caramel and/or toast. The Dubbel is also known to have fruity aromas such as raisins, plums, dried cherries, banana or apple. You may also notice spicy notes which include light clove, coriander, black pepper, rose-like and/or perfume. Spicy qualities can be moderate to very low.  The flavor is rich, complex medium to medium-full malty sweetness on the palate with a moderately dry finish. The flavor balance is always toward the malt with medium-low bitterness that doesn’t persist into the finish. These flavors and colors are almost entirely the result of the heavy addition of caramelized beet sugar, which ferments completely into alcohol and lightening the body of the finished beer. 


These beers enhance the richness of gravy and mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and turkey. 


Cook with Beer Recipes


Beef Sliders with Allagash Curieux-Caramelized Onions, Bacon and Blue Cheese

Roast Turkey Breast with Dubbel Shallot Gravy

Grilled New York Strips with Dubbel Butter

Gingerbread Ale Ice Cream

Beer Doughnut Holes


Pair with Beer


Butternut Squash Soup

Oven Roasted Turkey with Stuffing

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole

Glazed Carrots

Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Gravy

Pumpkin Pie



American Brown Ale


There are several types of Brown Ales, but for the purpose of cooking and pairing with Thanksgiving dinner, American Brown Ale will be highlighted.  


American Brown Ale is a modern beer style derived from the English Brown Ale, but contain more hops. Overall the American Brown Ale is a malty but hoppy beer. The hop flavor and aroma complement and enhance the malt rather than clash with it.  The aroma is moderate malty-sweet to malty-rich with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty characteristics. The hop aroma is typically low to moderate. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, with fruity esters being moderate to very low.  The American Brown Ale should be a clear beer and appear light to very dark brown in color.  Just like its aroma, the American Brown ale will have a malty-rich flavor with chocolate, caramel, nutty, and/or toasty malt complexity, with medium bitterness and a medium dry finish.


These beers enhance the toasty qualities of foods cooked in the over, a brown gravy and cranberry sauces.


Cook with Beer Recipes


Brown Ale-Brined Turkey

Brown Sugar Beer Glazed Ham

Sweet Potato Brown Ale Fries

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts Tossed in Warm Bacon and Brown Ale Vinaigrette

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple Smoked Bacon and Beer

Soft Batch Beer and Brown Sugar Cookies