7 Thanksgiving Beers Without Pumpkin

Drink Lists Thanksgiving
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There’s nothing more boring than yet another pumpkin beer overdose for Thanksgiving. Shove those pumpkin-laced ales, porters, stouts and IPAs to the side and embrace some of Thanksgiving’s more diverse flavors. With beers flavored with cranberries, sweet potato, oysters, chestnuts, pecans and marshmallows, this year’s Thanksgiving meal is coming straight from a bottle.

Sweet Potato Ale
Piney River Brewing Co.

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It’s a good bet that no sweet potato ever dreamed of ending up in a brown sugar-crusted, mini-marshmallow mess of a casserole. It may instead have aspired to become a pint of Piney River Brewing Co. Sweet Potato Ale. Inspired by sweet potato pie, this ale pairs roasted sweet potatoes, vanilla, and classic fall spices. With notes of malted earthy caramel, and a dry spiced finish, this is an amber ale made to order for Thanksgiving. Found inside a 70-year-old barn in Bucyrus, Missouri, Piney River Brewing Co. brews and cans this seasonal beer from August to November, with distribution throughout Missouri and parts of Arkansas.


Marshmallow Milk Stout
Garage Brewing Co.

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In case no one thought of topping that sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows, Garage Brewing Co.’s Marshmallow Milk Stout is here to help. Smooth and milky, the scent and taste of this deeply dark stout is toasted vanilla marshmallow fluff, balanced with chocolate roasted malts. Wasn’t it time the Thanksgiving turkey and family drama got a healthy dose of roasting marshmallows by the fire? This stout can make that happen.


Vieille Artisanal Saison Cranberry & Spice
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

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Photo via Hophideout

It takes a special kind of brewery to get beer geeks excited over a pink, fruity beer, but Denver-based Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project is just that kind of brewery. Working primarily with brettanomyces, a naturally occurring and unpredictable strain of yeast long used in beer making, Crooked Stave’s Chad Yakobson brews up barrel-aged beers complex enough to please the most discerning of beer geeks, but approachable enough for the rest of us. Released for the holiday season, Vielle Artisanal Saison Cranberry & Spice is full of the wild yeast funk the brewery is known for, permeated with bright tart cranberries. Think of this beer as lemon-spiked cranberry relish, mixed with the sweet funk of wet hay, nutmeg and a dash of mad scientist brewing know-how.


Pearl Necklace Chesapeake Stout
Flying Dog Brewery

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Oysters may not be as popular for Thanksgiving today as they were in the days of the Pilgrims, when the bivalves filled America’s coastline and were ripe for the picking, but they’re still a prime seasonal food perfect for the holiday. Brewed with Rappahannock River oysters and Perle hops, Flying Dog Brewery’s Pearl Necklace Chesapeake Stout pours as a dark marriage of bittersweet chocolate malts and delicate briny oysters. Proceeds from Pearl Necklace go to restore oyster populations in Chesapeake Bay, so skip the smoked-oyster stuffing and grab a six-pack of this year round brew instead.


Dark Ale
Ground Breaker Brewing Company

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It wouldn’t be a holiday anymore without someone’s ‘gluten intolerance’ ruining the beer drinking for everyone with sticky sweet sorghum based gluten-free beers. Ground Breaker Brewing is hoping to solve that particular beer problem with imaginative brews good enough to seem ‘accidentally’ gluten-free. Brewed with darkly roasted chestnuts and lentils instead of the traditional grains, their Dark Ale drinks of bittersweet chocolate, dark coffee and a prominent earthy, nutty finish. Getting a six pack of this dedicated gluten-free brewery is so much easier than getting that chestnut stuffing in the oven at the same time as that giant oven-hogging turkey.


Picacho Pecan Pie Brown Ale
Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.

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The first time the bearded brewers of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. cooked up this nutty ale, whole pecan pies were thrown into the mash. It was this kind of brewing shenanigans that earned this tiny suburban Phoenix, Arizona brewhouse the title of the World’s Best New Brewery by RateBeer.com in 2014. Things have been toned down a bit since then, but not by much. Instead of whole pies, this year’s release relies on 300 pounds of Arizona grown pecans, copious amounts of maple syrup and Madagascar vanilla beans to round out the brown ale. The only problem with this seasonal ale? It’s available only on site, in Gilbert, Arizona, and by the time November is over, it is long gone. Hit the road now.


Coffee Pecan Pie Porter
Clown Shoes

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Nothing says ‘Thanksgiving appropriate’ more than a label depicting an armored warrior surrounded by dead and vanquished turkeys. Or perhaps it’s the cold-brewed coffee spiked pecan porter inside the 22-ounce bomber bottles of Massachusetts based Clown Shoes’ Coffee Pecan Pie Porter. Dark and silky, the porter is rounded out with the expected flavors of molasses, roasted malts and a very pleasant 8% ABV. No pecan pie is going to give you that kind of kick.


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