The man with the bow tie who is cracking dreadful puns in three languages is Horst Dornbusch. Raised in Northern Germany, educated at Reed College in Oregon, Horst has straddled at least two cultures ever since, interpreting German brewing to Americans and American brewing to Germans.

On a trip through Bavaria a few years ago, he shepherded a group of American beer writers who, to Horst’s evident relief, always managed to stay just on the right side of behaving badly. Beer in food was not much in evidence, but beer with food was at every stop: baked stuffed onion with Schlenkerla smoke beer; roast pork with malty, dark beers.

At our final stop of the trip, the Zötler Brewery in the mountainous Allgäu region, I tasted goose for the first time, rich and delicious on a cold night that threatened snow, and washed down with more terrific beer. I knew from a newspaper article I once saw that Horst sometimes presides over beer-based roast goose in his own kitchen, and here he shares it with us. —JJ

Beer Bird in the Oven

Horst Dornbusch

This recipe is particularly good with goose, although it can be made with any fowl, including chicken and turkey. The recipe below is for a bird of 12 to 16 pounds. Reduce or increase the quantities, if your bird is bigger or smaller. Baking time is about 25 minutes per pound at 400 °F. Serve with boiled chestnuts, red cabbage and egg noodles.


  • 1 12 to 16 pound goose (or chicken or turkey)
  • Salt/black pepper
  • ½ cup dried herbs (mugwort is best, but hard to find; marjoram and/or sage are suitable substitutes)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 sweet apple, diced (Delicious or Macintosh, for instance)
  • 1 sour apple, diced (Granny Smith, for instance)
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 5 cups (40 fl. ounces; almost 4 bottles) dark ale (Most porters are suitable, but avoid chocolate- or coffee-flavored stouts and porters!)

1. Preheat oven to at 400 °F.

2. Rub the bird and out with pepper and salt. Rub the bird cavity with dried herbs.

3. Dice the apples and the onion. Chop the parsley. Stuff goose with mixture of apples, onion, and parley. Pour 1 cup dark ale into the bird cavity for additional moisture. Close cavity openings with skewers to hold stuffing in.

3. Place bird breast down on rack with dripping pan and bake for one-third of the total time. (Weigh stuffed bird if necessary; plan on a baking time of approximately 25 minutes per pound.)

4. Remove bird from oven briefly. Prick skin with skewer or fork to render fat. If bird is very fatty, empty drippings into a grease separator cup and set aside. Turn bird on one side, douse with about 1 cup of dark ale, and return to oven.

5. Bake for one-sixth of the total time. Remove bird from oven a second time. Prick skin with a skewer or fork again to render more fat and set aside the drippings. Turn bird on the other side, douse again with about 1 cup of dark ale, and return to oven.

6. Bake for another one-sixth of the total time. Remove bird from oven a third time, prick skin and empty additional drippings. Turn the bird on its back, douse again with about 1 cup of dark ale, and return to oven for the final third of the total baking time.

7. For the gravy, separate grease from drippings. Pour the de-greased drippings into saucepan, add 1 cup dark ale, thicken with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and cook until of gravy consistency.

8. Remove bird from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 25 minutes before carving.

Tomorrow: A beautifully roasted bird needs a sweet-tart relish for contrast. Add a dash of Belgian lambic for emphasis.