For many Coloradans, beer is an essential part of reuniting with friends and family this time of year. And while beer is good, the right beer will make any holiday gathering even better. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of Denver brews perfect for four different Thanksgiving scenarios (though we can vouch the suds are worthy of enjoyment, regardless of where you drink them).

A Thanksgiving with…the in-laws

Beer requirements: The strongest brew available
Our pick: Copper Kettle’s Snowed In, available at the Copper Kettle taproom and in 22-ounce bottles (for a limited time)

Photo courtesy of Copper Kettle Brewing Company.

Substitute “in-laws” with whatever you want. If your Thanksgiving plans require you to make multiple introductions, talk about yourself at length, or take part in Thanksgiving traditions for the first time—a strong beer is probably exactly what you need. Copper Kettle started producing its Snowed In stout (nearly 13 percent ABV) in 2012, at which point it was most like an oatmeal stout. This year, for the first time, two other flavors of the annual release will be available: Coconut and Maple. Move quickly if you want to snag limited-release 22-ounce bottles—and good luck at Thanksgiving.

A Thanksgiving with…friends

Beer requirements: Something hip, delicious, and rare
Our pick: Black Shirt Brewing’s Bonzo! Pistachio and Lavender Rye Pale Ale, available at BSB in canned four-packs

It’s tough to find a brewery quite like Black Shirt Brewing. The rock ‘n’ roll-inspired, counter-culture brewery pushes the boundaries of the traditional amber genre. But we’re most excited for todays’s release of the Bonzo! Pistachio and Lavender Rye Pale Ale (6 percent ABV), which will be canned and sold in four-packs for folks to bring home to Thanksgiving. This is the first time Bonzo! has been canned, and the folks at BSB expect it sell out fast, so be sure to head to the brewery asap to get yours.

A Thanksgiving with…your foodie friends

Beer requirements: A brew that complements the meal—without stealing the show
Our pick: Station 26’s American Copper, which is available in liquor stores around Denver

When you want your Thanksgiving brew to complement food more than anything else, amber ales are usually a safe bet. The malty, bready flavors don’t overpower your palate and should allow you to enjoy every bit of the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and whatever else you, and your friends cooked up. We’re going with the American Copper (ABV 5.4 percent). Station 26 Brewing’s take on the amber ale is true to its style, which means the only thing you’ll be filling up on is the grub.

A Thanksgiving with…the slackers who would rather watch football than help you the kitchen

Beer requirements: Full-bodied and strong. Ideal for the lone cook who makes all the Thanksgiving magic happen.
Our pick: Declaration Brewing’s Mile Highlander, which can be found in liquor stores around Denver

Photo courtesy of Declaration Brewing Company.

We’ve all seen it happen. A lone cook slaves in the kitchen to to perfect all parts of the Thanksgiving dinner and—of course—his or her calls for assistance go unheeded. It’s around this time that everyone is reminded that, “Thanksgiving doesn’t just happen,” which is true. This is the beer that cook should drink. The Mile Highlander, a scotch ale from Declaration Brewing, provides a strong brew (ABV 8 percent), and its caramel, malty flavors should make for a great pairing as you taste-test the Thanksgiving feast.