Last week, the story of Joe Morrette, a turkey farmer out of New Hampshire, made national news. For the last twenty years, Morrette has been feeding his flock beer, because he believes it helps fatten them up and make them tastier come Thanksgiving Day.
It all started two decades ago after a turkey knocked over a beer one of his workers was drinking at the end of the day. Without hesitation, his flock started to guzzle it down. As a result, he says he stopped giving his flock water, and has been feeding them beer ever since. He used to give them Coors, but has since switched to giving them an unnamed lager. He believes, as do his longtime customers, that feeding his flock beer not only makes them fatter, but also juicier and more flavorful.
“Oh yeah, it’s noticeable. It’s not a strong gamey flavor, it’s a nice turkey flavor,” Morrette says. He figures that “beer is good for our bellies” and makes them grow.
But don’t get your feathers ruffled. The Associated Press also discussed the legitimacy of this practice with Carl Majewski, a “Poulty Expert” from nearby University of New Hampshire and an avid homebrewer. While he’s not quite convinced that it would make them juicier, as that would all be a matter of how well of a cook you are, he does seemingly confirm that it could have a slight effect on the flavor.
Majewski also doesn’t believe the birds are being harmed by this practice, as they are not fed enough beer for it to have the same disorienting effect that too much alcohol has on humans. They’re “just enjoying a beer with their meal,” he says. However, like humans, the extra calories found in a beer probably does put on a little extra weight.
The Associated Press also talked with Kathi Brock, the National Director of Humane Heartland, an organization that works with farmers to ensure that their farm animals are being treated humanely. In an email to AP, she says “while giving beer to turkeys is not a standard protocol, hops could be beneficial for the intestinal tract.” She also confirmed that giving an animal beer is not forbidden by the American Humane Association, although we would imagine they would expect it to be done in a responsible manner.
Predictably, PETA wasn’t a fan of this practice. But, who didn’t see that one coming?
Joe Morrette has 50 turkeys that will be ready for Thanksgiving. So, if you want a lager-flavored turkey to pair with your favorite beer, we know where you can get one.
From all of us here at Kegerator.com, we’d like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Whether you plan on binging on turkey or stick to the delicious side dishes, we’d like to remind you to keep it fun, stay patient with your family and drink responsibly.