Beer Fed Turkeys

Choosing the perfect turkey is one of the most important parts of Thanksgiving, but it’s kind of hard to tell which is the “best” bird. Do you just buy a giant Butterball from the supermarket? Should you go down to the local turkey farm and pick out your dinner while it’s still alive?


Or should you buy a turkey that has been drinking beer? Yes, friends. There is a farmer in New Hampshire that has been giving beer to his Thanksgiving turkeys since 1993.


Before you go all PETA on this guy, it’s important that you know the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension said it’s highly unlikely that these turkeys are suffering (psh, we could have told you that). Additionally, Kathi Brock from Humane Heartland said the standards from the American Humane Society do not prohibit serving beer to animals – she even noted that an avian veterinarian said the hops could be beneficial for the bird’s intestinal tract.


Now back to more important things: beer. The farmer, Joe Morette, believes the lager he serves to his turkeys makes them fatter, more flavorful and juicier. Dan Bourque, a longtime customer, said he also finds that the gravy is much darker and much tastier. He said the turkey has a slightly different taste overall and it’s very appealing.


Morette is raising about 50 turkeys this year for Thanksgiving and he said his beer idea actually came to him by accident. 20 years ago, one of his workers popped open a can a beer on a hot day in July. A turkey knocked the can over and started drinking it. The rest is history.


“I don’t know exactly how much beer each turkey is consuming, but it would have to be a lot in order for it to kind of have the same effect as too much beer on people,” Carl Majewski, field specialist in food and agriculture, told the AP. “I imagine it’s not enough to really make ’em tipsy or anything like that. It’s just enjoying a beer with their meal. Why not?” You can say that again, Carl.


We think we might make the drive to New Hampshire this year to get our turkey just to see what all the fuss is about. And, even though Morette swears by lager, we’d love to see if there are any noticeable differences in the flavor of the turkey depending on the type of beer it drinks.