The best MN beers and wines for holiday meals

Pair these local options with every course of your big feast.

This story is part of GoMN's 2017-18 Winter Guide.

When it comes to decimating a cube of light beer or a box of wine over a holiday weekend, no instructions are necessary. But if the goal is to actually create flavor harmony with an overflowing plate, that takes some planning.

Here are some Minnesota-made beers chosen by certified Cicerones Michael Agnew (@APerfectPint) and Sean Lipinski of Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery. Sommelier Leslee Miller of Amusée highlights local wines that’ll pair perfectly with your indulgent meals.


Beer: The best styles to pair with turkey are Scotch ales, Belgian dubbels and biere de garde. Examples include Surly's CynicAle or Schell's Bock.

Wine: Parley Lake Winery’s Barn Quilt Red is especially good if you like your turkey savory and stuffed with a handful of herbs. It exudes soft red fruit that’s perfect for the crunch of that outside turkey skin.

Mashed potatoes

Beer: Unless you’re putting a lot of stuff in your mashed potatoes, they don’t really taste like all that much, and yet they are so satisfying. The bready-soft malty sweetness of a helles lager perfectly matches the texture and taste intensity of the mashed potatoes. A little bit of hops cuts the massive amount of butter that you’ve hopefully included. Try Schell’s Fort Road Helles.

Wine: Cannon River Winery’s Sogn Blanc leans into the creamy, buttery potatoes with notes of sweet harvest apples without being overly sweet.

Cranberry sauce

Wine: WineHaven Winery’s Cranberry Wine is an explosion of cranberry. “The acidic pieces sort of soften one another out, making them perfectly harmonious together,” Miller says.

Beer: Summit Great Northern Porter will make you think about that dark chocolate bar with dried cranberries. The tartness of the fruit contrasts the bitter/sweetness of the chocolate, making both things pop.

Green bean casserole

Wine: Wild Mountain Winery’s Wild River Red has red cherry with black and red currant fruit notes and pairs with the mushrooms and the crunch of the French onions.

Beer: Plain Midwestern food meets plain Midwestern beer with Schell’s Dark. The caramel maltiness of the beer complements the earthy-sweet creamy mushroom soup. A touch of toasted bread builds a bridge to the tots or crispy onions on top. A bit of bitterness and high carbonation cuts through all of it to leave your palate ready for something else.

Pumpkin pie

Wine: Millner Heritage’s Müllner Nice has a tremendous amount of flavor that’ll give your pie a little touch of honeyed sweetness.

Beer: Carbonation helps cut the richness in the pie, and you should look for one that has similar spices to complement the pie. Town Hall Brewery’s Grand Cru is a good local option.

This story is part of GoMN's 2017-18 Winter Guide.

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