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Thanksgiving Turkey Beer Brine & Pairing Suggestions

Happy Thanksgiving!



Here at Empire, we are rather passionate about our local family, good food and of course, our beer. We have a lot to be thankful for, and as we prepare to celebrate with our friends and family, we’d like to share a little of our beer wisdom with you because Thanksgiving is a holiday worth savoring. Read on for a fool proof beer brined turkey recipe, and beer pairing suggestions that will put the cherry on your festive spread.

Beer Brined Turkeyturkey

There are several ways to cook the finished beer brined turkey.  This recipe is for your classic oven roasted turkey.    Below this recipe are several links to all the ways this base recipe can be cooked.  This recipe yields enough brine for a 16 – 24 pound turkey. Check out the recipe below, adapted from the Home Brew Chef.


Beer Brine Ingredients:
Turkey Ingredients:


Prepare the brine:

In a large pot, over high heat, add the water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, lemon and orange. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors together, dissolving the salt and sugar. Turn off the heat and let the brine cool for 20 minutes, then add in the ice and beer of choice. Mix the ingredients together and take the temperature of the finished brine. A thermometer should read 40°F/4°C or lower in order to be safe to use. If it is warmer, place the pot into a refrigerator/kegerator until 40°F/4°C is reached.

 Prepare the turkey: 

Take the fresh turkey and remove it from its package in a large sink. Remove the neck, gizzards and liver, setting aside (for stock or gravy). Rinse the bird under cold water, turning the bird over a few times, washing any blood from the cavity and under the neck flap.

Brine Time:

Once your brine mixture is cooled, get your bird in a brine bag and submerge it with the brining solution. Let the turkey soak for 16 – 24 hours in a cool location.

Discard the brine and rinse your bird under cold water. After that, fill the sink with cold water and soak the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes. This will remove any excess saltiness on/under the skin and just leave you with wonderfully brined, tender turkey.

Roast your turkey:

Place the turkey, back side down, in a roasting pan. Place the bunch of sage inside the cavity, as the herbs will release their aroma into the meat as it roasts. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 2 hours prior to being cooked. This will let the turkey warm up, allowing it to cook more evenly. Put it your roasting pan on the bottom rack of a pre heated 350°F oven. A 16-20 pound turkey should take between 3 and 3 1/2 hours to fully cook to 165°F.

Let the turkey rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before carving. This is critical in keeping a moist and juicy turkey. This resting will relax the muscle fibers, helping re-distribute the juices and allow the bird to be easier to handle when carving.

Thanks it! Now you can enjoy with a tall glass of well deserved craft beer. Check out brewmaster Tim Butlers pairing suggestions for the whole meal.

Pairing Suggestions

Courtesy of Empire’s Brewmaster, Tim Butler.

1. Roasted Turkey – Amber Ale

2. Stuffing – Slo Mo’ IPA

3. Mashed Potatoes – Skinny Atlas Ale

4. Cranberries – White Aphro

5. Pumpkin Pie – Barley Wine

Building Beer – Week 27


the final scramble before winter!



Window framing, insulation and house wrap has begun on the front face of the building.


The loading-dock pad was poured at the back of the building. We can’t wait for beer to be flowing out of here for your consumption!


You can see the exterior silo pad being poured by DG Masonry. This concrete pad will support two 60,000 pound silos, full of some of the worlds finest malting barley.


The guys are pouring the tasting room concrete floor over the radiant floor heating system.


Installation of the siding began once the silo pads were poured. The cladding for the entire building is rough cut Hemlock board and batten siding from Oran Milling, right down the road from us. It came out looking beautiful with a few coats of natural sealer.


On a particularly frosty morning, the trench for electric and gas service was dug out and utility installation began.


We took advantage of some of the nice weather and installed hop poles for what will be 2 acres of hops.



Construction has really been cranking as we try to beat the snow here, and we hope to see some brewing tanks moved in here shortly!

Empire Mug Club Release Party

Empire Mug Club Launchmugclub_graphic

This Saturday, November 7th Empire will hold an event at the Brewpub announcing the release of the first ever Empire Mug Club! Everyone interested will receive a punch card, the first 50 people to return their card with all 15 punches will be inducted into the club. One pint equals one punch.

Members will get a special rewards card, and will receive a ton of great perks. Use the rewards card each time you make a purchase, for every dollar spent, one point is received. Members are able to trade in points for merchandise and other fun stuff! Points can be traded in at any time. Check out the full points list here.

More information about special Mug Club deals:

  • Every time members order an Empire beer at the bar, your 20 oz mug will be filled at regular price, offering 4 extra ounces at no extra cost
  • Every Tuesday night is “Mug Club Tuesday”  from 5 p.m. until close. 
    • $1.00 off any draft beer
    • $2.00 off samplers & pitchers
    • 10% off entire check 
  • Every Thursday $2.00 off growler fills (wheat wine, barley wine, double IPA, & Strong ale excluded)
  • 15% off merchandise
  • Birthday discount of 50% (member plus one)
  • Receive email offers & invitations to exclusive club events, upcoming releases, and various festivals throughout the year
  • Monthly Members ONLY Social Events at the brewpub
    • Special pricing on featured beer and app combo
    • Beer trivia
    • Special tastings and Q&A with Brewers
    • Silent Auctions for local charities donations

We hope to see you there!




It’s a race against the weather at this point, and although we did see snow here in Cazenovia over the weekend, the weather has warmed up and the guys are full throttle on the steel work.



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The ceiling in the production area was installed to allow the pipe fitters to start running some sprinkler piping.



What do you do when the sprinkler piping will be exposed in the production area? You paint it fire engine red. The guys from J Meadows Sprinkler Co. only do the finest work with the highest quality finishes. Installation of the sprinkler system began last week and will continue through this week.


Installation of retaining walls began outside of the basement entrance and patio area.

Fall Sampling Dinner




Empire’s Executive Chef, Matt Riddett, released a new autumn menu last week and we invited members of the media to test out our brand new dishes and craft beer cocktails! Guests included representatives from Syracuse Yelp, the New Times, Syracuse Women of Craft Beer, Syracuse First, NoExcuses Tours Inc., and the Jefferson Clinton. The company was great and the reviews were awesome!

Featuring nearly 30 local agricultural businesses, including 15 Central New York State farms, the brewpub continues to maintain its reputation for creative American cuisine while utilizing the freshest local ingredients possible. We will continue to offer our signature dishes like the Big Easy Gumbo, Tumbleweed Burger and Jambalaya, with complimentary offerings more resembling classic comfort foods of the fall harvest. Chef Riddett has crafted several exciting new dishes, including:

Cowboy Beef Stew
with braised beef tips, baby potato, and root vegetables in a rich demi-glacé, served with roasted corn salsa and blue corn bread

Southern Style Chicken and Biscuits
slow roasted and pulled rosemary chicken with carrots, celery, and peas in a rich gravy, served over buttermilk-pumpkin biscuits

Thai Pork Tenderloin
marinated and grilled, served with vegetable fried rice and topped with our Indonesian sauce

Owner and former Executive Chef, David Katleski, is excited about Empire’s 53rd new menu saying, “Chef Matt has really created a seasonal comfort menu to capture the flavors of our region while designing dishes that compliment our award winning beers”. Ask Empire’s knowledgeable staff for beer pairing recommendations. With an extensive variety of ales and lagers, the right e-beer pairing will truly accentuate your dining experience.


Syracuse’s elite Yelpers got a little taste of everything. No picky eaters here!



Executive Chef Matt Riddett dishes up our Tater Tot Poutine and Cowboy Beef Stew.



The bacon mac and cheese didn’t last too long.



Nothing like chicken and biscuits to warm you up on a brisk fall day.



Lisette Brod from Spinnaker Custom Products enjoyed the BBQ chicken quesadilla.



Syracuse Women of Craft Beer can truly appreciate fine brew. And Tater Tot Poutine.



Chris Fowler from Syracuse First and Mike Heagerty from NoExcuses Tours. Proud members of the Clean Plate Club.



Building Beer – Week 20


Steel Structure Continues


The guys from Homer Iron Works have been putting in long days and the steel structure is going up quite nicely.

Here are a few pictures of the steel progress.





The basement floor is poured, ready for the sour beers.



The main structure is mostly complete and the tasting room / office section has begun to go up.

Building Beer – Week 17


Concrete’s down, steel’s up!1116d4a1-df5b-4038-a3fe-803b10bfa73b

Steel’s here and the guys from Homer Iron Works are taking advantage of the great weather and moving fast!

The steel couldn’t go up until DG Masonry got all of the concrete floors poured. Click here for footage of the floors going down.

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Installation of the floor joists over the basement began.

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Oh yeah, and our hop poles arrived! Wayne Law from Law Logging delivered us the first load of great looking poles that will make up almost 3 acres of hop yard. We sealed the butts and will hopefully get them in the ground in the next 30 days.




The excavators have continued to add top soil and seed the areas that are finished, the picture above is the beginnings of our backyard which has been aptly designed for epic corn hole tournaments.

The plumbers and electricians have been hard at work getting utilities in underground before the masons come back and pour the concrete floor, hopefully at the end of the week. The pictures below show underground piping in the kitchen area,


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Basement walls are complete and the plumbers are putting in drain piping.


Excavation for our process waste tanks. These tanks will equalize the waste water created during the brewing process, also giving us the opportunity to treat it before it heads down stream if need be.

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The process waste tanks were set with a crane and the plumbers began to pipe them together.





Building Beer – Week 11



While the guys from DG Masonry formed and poured out the basement walls, Mike and his crew from Homer Iron Works and a crew from Complete Construction Concepts spent most of the day unloading 13 tractor loads of metal building components. Once the concrete floors are poured, these metal components will be bolted together to form the frame of the building.


Here is a video of the building being unloaded through the all the encompassing view of our trusty Go Pro…



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Forms are constructed for the basement walls….


a pump truck pumps concrete into the basement wall forms…


 Back filling and compaction around the piers…


The basement walls are poured and the concrete guys are out of here for a few weeks while Halco MEP’s, the company installing all of our plumbing and electrical utilities, begins work on the plumbing and electrical being installed underneath the concrete floors.

We are getting into the heat now and continue to hope for dry weather as things move forward!

Building Beer – Week 7



 Concrete has arrived!

The team on site has grown to include DG Masonry who poured footers from the piers last week, and weather permitting will continue to pour piers and footers for the basement walls.

But first, enjoy a ride from the view of our dozer cam! The guys from Burrell’s Excavation were cool enough to take the Go Pro along as they finished the grading at the front of the property.


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Excavation is complete on the cellar and this week they will put in footers and walls.



Meet Larry, the construction dog! Larry tags along with David Gillis, owner of DG Masonry, and keeps everyone on site in line.