Ah, Saint Patrick’s day…the day full of frivolity, poor dress choices, and unappetizingly colored beers; and oddly enough one of our favorite smaller holidays. Why, you ask? Well, first off as hunters we fully support anything that revolves around the color green, especially when it gives us an excuse to have an office camo day. Secondly, we love it because it gives us the chance to enjoy some brews (preferably NOT the green kind), good laughs with people we love, and has a tendency to spur fantastic discussions about how this holiday marks just around a month until we get to kick-off turkey hunting season. We’ve also found that some of the best ways to enjoy a tasty adult-style St. Paddy’s Day is to have an awesome dinner complete with interesting beer and wild game recipe pairings. Not only does this help clear out the freezer to make way for this year’s game, but it gives you the opportunity to elevate your dinner with ease. So this month, we present to you some of our favorite wild-game and beer pairings. Salut!
1. Duck. We love us some duck! It’s tender, delicious, and pretty versatile overall. You can batter it and fry it, you can roast it; the limits of duck know no bounds. We have found though that duck tends to pair best with a little bit sweeter of a beer that has more of a fruit or citrus base. Fortunately, sweeter beers abound! We have found that some of our favorites include pairing a nice Kriek Lambic (like this one from Lindeman’s), a Doppelbock (we love Celebrate by Ayinger), or a Trappist ale (we recommend Trappist by Rochefort 8, or a lovely Chimay Cinq Cents). If those are a little too fancy or hard to find (because let’s be honest, sometimes your options are limited), any sweeter stout or Baltic porter will definitely go great!
2. Venison or Elk. Venison can be a bit trickier to pair, as it often has a bit more of a gamey flavor to it. Lots of people love and embrace the gamey flavor, while others prefer to mask it as best they can. We personally love the venison for what it is: nature-made deliciousness. Since venison tends to have a bit more of a bold flavor, we love to pair it either with a simple wheat if you’re doing burgers (like a Miller High Life, O’Dells Easy Street, or New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat), or a nice Brooklyn Brown ale like Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown. The caramel undertones in addition to the malty quality pairs amazingly with the venison and does a great job of complimenting it by highlighting all the wonderful flavors, and masking any potential overly gamey flavors.
3. Wild Hog. Now, we have to say that one of our favorite things to pair with any type of pig (wild or not) is apples. We can’t say exactly why since we aren’t chefs, but there is something about that sweetness that just takes pork to a whole new level. So, of course, one of our favorite beer pairings is one with apples. Now, we know many of you will give us a judgmental brow for this one, but we insist you try it before you judge. We personally love the way Angry Orchard pairs with wild hog; particularly their Green Apple. The reason we prefer the green apple as opposed to the regular, is we’ve found that on occasion the regular Angry Orchard can be just a tad too sweet, where as the Green Apple gives a nice tartness that balances the flavors just right. If, however, you simply cannot bring yourself to drink Angry Orchard, Dubbels also pair quite nicely with hog, as do most Belgian Strong Ales or Stouts.
4. Turkey. With spring hunting season just around the corner, we couldn’t leave out one of our favorite birds! Luckily, turkey pairs great with quite a few beers allowing you a variety if you so choose. Some of our favorite beers to accompany a nice wild turkey are a good IPA (we recommend Julius by Tree House Brewing Co, Orange Starfish by the Aslin Beer Co, or Yellow Rose by the Lone Pint Brewery), a Saison like Hennepin, or a nice amber ale (we adore Levity by O’Dells Brewing Co). If we were you, we’d just make lots of delicious wild turkey in as many ways as possible and just explore the possibilities!
We hope you all enjoy our pairing recommendations, and hope that if you try them, you let us know what you thought (or even send a picture, we love pictures)! We also believe that any day is a special enough occasion for an awesome dinner party with some delicious beverages. We wish you all a safe and happy St. Paddy’s day and hope that you all stay safe. May your dinner clear you freezer, and your Pro-Tracker, Ultimate Tracking and recovery system help you to successfully fill it anew this year!