Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cooking with Beer - Beer Marinated Steak Tacos

If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, beer makes an excellent marinade for meat. It tenderizes, it flavors, it rocks. 

Enough said.

This recipe combines beer with lemon juice and spices to create intoxicating Mexican flavor.

I used a dark lager in this recipe to add the taste of beer but not overwhelm the other flavors. 

Beer Marinated Steak Tacos 

with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Corn and Black Bean Salsa (see recipe below)
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
6 Ounces Dark or Amber Lager
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
Hot Pepper Flakes
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Pounds Skirt Steak
6 Flour or Corn Tortillas
2 Fire Roasted Green Peppers, Julienne
2 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced
2 Cups Mexican Cheese Mix

In a small bowl (I use a Mason jar) combine combine lemon juice, beer, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper flakes (to taste), salt, and pepper.

Place steak in a plastic resealable bag and pour the marinade over it. Seal and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. I marinated mine for about 16 hours.

Grill or broil steak to desired doneness. Place steak on a cutting board and cut across the grain into thin slices. 

Place however many tortillas will fit on a large baking sheet (I did two at a time). Put about 4 ounces of steak in the center and sprinkle with cheese. Top with a few ribbons of roasted pepper and sprinkle with green onions. 

Place the sheet in a 400°F oven and bake until cheese has melted (about 2 to 5 minutes).
Remove tortillas from oven; sprinkle with salsa. Serve immediately.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 14-Oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed And Drained
1 14-Oz Can Whole Kernel Corn, Drained
1 Small Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Chopped
1/2 Spanish Onion, Chopped
1 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Cilantro
1/4 Cup Minced Fresh Parsley
2 Teaspoons Hot Sauce
1 Lime, Juiced
2 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
Kosher Salt And Fresh Ground Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes for flavors to combine.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7BB Double Red

My friends love me. Okay, I'm not sure if they actually love me. But they bring me beer when they travel and that's good enough for me.

My gal pal Lindsay recently went to New Hampshire for work. She asked if I'd ever been to Seven Barrel Brewery. Uhm, no. No I hadn't

So, Lindsay brought me beer! And a story. Lindsay always has an amusing tale to tell. This one is too good not to share.

Her job is to teach physicians and staff how to use new medical equipment. She was on a particular job where this one doctor avoided her. She would greet him every day and he wouldn't even acknowledge her. Well, Lindsay had a job to do and, doggonit, she was going to get that job done!

So, one day she stopped this doctor and said, "Listen, you and me we're going to be friends. You don't have to like me but we need to get this thing done."

She did her job and showed him how to use the new-fangled technology and the doctor was impressed.

Thereafter they were buddies.

So one day a co-worker says, "You like dogs, right?" Lindsay does indeed love dogs. So the person says, "You should ask Dr. so-and-so about his dog."

Lindsay says, "Are you trying to get me into trouble or something?"

"No! No! He just got a new puppy! You should ask him about it!"

Lindsay goes up to her new doctor friend and asks, "You have a new puppy??!"

"Yes I do."

"Ooooh! What kind of dog did you get."

"A poodle."

"What? They didn't have any dogs for men?"

You could hear a pin drop.

Lindsay put down her head and was like 'oh f^ck!'


She looked up sheepishly, "I'm lucky you like me?"



Double Red  (7.9% ABV) is one of the two growlers Lindsay gave me. We drank it after an afternoon in the garden.

It poured a clear reddish amber with a smallish head.

The aroma was mildly malty.

The taste was all malt. It was slightly sweet but more bitter. The alcohol was well concealed. The finish was a linger after taste of malt and bitterness.

The mouthfeel was medium with moderate carbonation.

I wish I had more to say about this brew but it is a pretty straightforward red ale. Not bad but not outstanding either.

Overall: good

Friday, July 25, 2014

Maple Coffee Brewtail

When hubby and I were in New Hampshire for vacation we stopped at Fuller's Sugarhouse to pick up maple syrup. While browsing the store I spied a bottle of maple cream soda made by Squamscot in the cooler. Next to the cooler were six pack of said soda pop.

I grabbed a cold bottle for then and the six pack for later.

On our way to our next next destination, I commented to hubby that I'll bet the soda would make an awesome mixer for a beer cocktail. Specifically, mixed with a hearty stout.

So, when we got back home whipped up this amazing drink with Granite Ledge Stout which is brewed by Canterbury Aleworks (a New Hampshire nana brewery).

Maple Coffee Brewtail

1 1/2 - 2 Oz Patron XO Cafe Coffee Liquor
6 Ounces Maple Cream Soda
6 Ounces Expresso or other Stout

Pour the ingredients into a pint sized glass. Stir gently. Enjoy responsibly.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kasteel Tripel

This was from a trade from my friend in Belgium. I looked for an import counterpart to this brew for comparison but couldn't find one locally.

I shared the bottle with my hubby . . . unfortunately.

Kasteel Tripel (11.0% ABV) is brewed by Castle Brewing Van Honsebrouck in Ingelmunster, Belgium; a family owned and operated brewery since 1900.

It pours a clear lemony orange with a head of big bubbles that diminish to a halo around the edge of the glass.

The aroma is combination of fruity wine and Belgian funkiness. Intriguing.

The taste is both tart and sweet with a touch of banana, bubblegum, and spiciness. There are wine like characteristics as well. An unusual combination of flavors that somehow work very, very well together.

The mouthfeel is medium and tingly. The tingle comes from both the carbonation and alcohol.

This really is a wonderful brew that I would happily drink again.

Overall: very good.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cooking with Beer - Hefeweizen Chopped Salad

This salad is a remarkable combination of tastes and textures. The veggies add crunch and flavors ranging from bitter chicory to anise. The apples are crisp and sweet. The cheese and prosciutto are soft, sharp, and salty. The dressing is sweet and citrussy.

Adapted from a recipe in American Flavor by Andrew Carmellini. It's a carnival of flavors and truly wonderful.

Use a good hefeweizen or wheat beer for the dressing.

Hefeweizen Chopped Salad

1/3 Cup Wheat Beer
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
1/3 Cup Grapeseed Oil
1/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Fresh-Ground Black Pepper
3 Heads Belgian Endive, Chopped
1 Head Radicchio, Chopped
1 Head Anise, Chopped
1/2 Pound Prosciutto
2 Gala Apples, Diced
1/4 Pound Sharp Cheddar, Diced

Whisk together the beer, honey, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Drizzle in  the oils, whisking briskly to blend the ingredients. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Toss the chopped veggies, apples, half the prosciutto (chopped) and cheese. Pile onto a chilled salad plate.

Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and then lay a couple slices of prosciutto over each salad.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Thirsty Thursday at our local brewery (Two Roads Brewery) has become a standing event with me and
some of my fellow beer drinking buddies. A regular to this little gathering is Robert.

Robert is an intelligent, fun-loving, and sweet fellow. He also has more than a passing resemblance to Glen Quagmire from Family Guy. He's a pig but we love him anyway. Giggidy, giggidy, gig-gi-dy!

Because he's such a rockin' good dude, he brought me beer back from his recent trip to Texas. One of those brews was Shiner Bock. The other was an IPA brewed by Rahr & Sons Brewing in Fort Worth, Texas.

Stormcloud (6.00% ABV) pours a hazy orangy amber with a big floofy off white head that leaves behind a spattering of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is bright tart citrus with sweet malty undertones.

The taste is grapefruity and pleasantly bitter. The flavors are balanced out by the caramelized malt. There some dry toasty biscuit presence towards the tail end.  The finish is mildly bitter.

The mouth feel is medium-ish and well carbonated.

Stormcloud is a really nice, quaffable IPA. I liked it a lot!

Overall: very good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Blonde Ale

Hump day wouldn't be complete without cold beer, hot wings, and the occasional pizza. A new beer on tap is like the froth on the brew.

Summer Blonde Ale (4.50% ABV) by River Horse Brewing was up on tap. So, of course I had to try it.

It was served in a pint glass. It was a hazy yellow orange with a smallish head. Loose lacing clung to the glass.

The aroma a was a gentle whiff of lemon.

The taste was mild and palate friendly. A tiny bit sweet, nary a bit bitter with a pleasant lemony finish. Clean and refreshing.

The mouthfeel was light and smooth.

Summer Blonde Ale is easy to drink and tasty. A perfect summer brew.

Overall: very good.

Shiner Bock

I have a buddy who's from Texas. Well, that's not entirely accurate. He was born in England. moved to Texas, then Maine. I think he lived in New York for a time and now he lives in Connecticut. You should hear his accent! It's like pip-pip-cheerio-ayup-y'all. Funny as hell.

Anyhoo . . .

He often travels back to the Lone Star state for both business and pleasure. So, of course, I bug him to bring me back beer. Specifically, something uniquely Texan. I asked for Lone Star beer but he out-and-out refused.

What I got was Shiner Bock. Ironically, about a week or two after he brought me the Shiner Bock it became available in Connecticut. Go figure.

Thanks Robert! Ride'm cowboy!

Shiner Bock (4.40% ABV%) is brewed by Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas.

It pours a clear brown with a small head with minimal retention and no lacing.

The aroma is clean and malty.

The taste is malty with a bit of sugary sweetness. Clean tasting, nary a hoppy bite, and nothing really outstanding. The finish is sweet and mildly metallic.

The mouth feel is light and bubbly. Much like most of my conversations with my buddy Robert.

Shiner Bock is an easy drinking beer. It's nothing special but I could kick back and drink a fair share when I'm looking for a light, uncomplicated brew.

Overall: good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hoptimus Prime

The Transformers! More than meets the eye!
The Transformers! Robots in disguise!
The Transformers! More than meets the eye!
The Transformers!

Oops . . . that's Optimus Prime not Hoptimus Prime.

The only transformation that will happen with this beer is if you drink too much . . . and that's not into a cool crime fighting robot but a drunken slurring lush.

Hoptimus Prime (9% ABV) is a double IPA brewed by Ruckus Brewing.

It pours a deep hazy orange with a thick but small head of foam.

The aroma is mildy hoppy with fruity undertones.

The tasty is malty with sweet fruits and barely any hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is pretty well concealed. The hops pull in towards the finish, which is clean and gently bitter.

The mouthfeel is medium with lots of bubbles.

When I pulled Hoptimus Prime from the fridge, I was craving a lot of hoppy bite. This doesn't have it. In fact, it's a pretty sweet brew for an IPA. Not a bad beer just not what I was looking for.

Overall: good

Monday, July 7, 2014

Peche Mel Scaldis

I picked up this beer on a whim. I like peaches. I like beer. It could be good.

 A precursor to Pêche Mel’Scaldis was a brewtail made up by students who would mix of equal parts Scaldis Amber and peach juice. The popularity of the cocktail was the inspiration for making it an official brew of Brasserie Dubuisson,

Pêche Mel’Scaldis (8.5% ABV) pours a hazy orangish amber with a wisp of a head.

The aroma is very peachy with underlying Belgian funkiness.

The taste is big time juicy peaches with a whisper of bitterness. There is some Belgian funk but it is mostly overtaken by the fruity sweetness. The finish is somewhat sticky.

The mouthfeel is medium-light and smooth.

Pêche Mel’Scaldis makes for a refreshing summer brew or an after dinner beer. Drink in moderation, though, it's a strong one!

Overall: good

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ale Flip

Hubby and I were lounging around celebrating the independence of our nation by watching patriotic movies. During one movie - Scarlet Coat, The (1955) - there was a scene where a robust gentleman poured beer, molasses into a flagon and then *gasp* mixed the concoction with a hot poker pulled from the fire.


After a little poking around on the internet I discovered that this particular odd beverage is called an Ale Flip and that it was quite popular in colonial days. In fact, it was very likely that our founding fathers consumed a version of this beverage. The ale flip was the apple-tini of its day!

A flip is a classification of cocktails that is, in fact,  a mixture of beer, rum, and sugar, heated with a red-hot iron. The hot poker causes the beverage to flip - or froth - making the drink creamy and smooth.

Some versions of the flip include the addition of eggs to add texture and substitute molasses for the sugar. Sound familiar? Kind of like a classic winter beverage called egg nog?  They are actually very similar drinks. The difference between an egg nog and a flip is the omission of cream in a flip.

So, being in a patriotic mood and all, I decided to make a flip based on a recipe from Corin Hirsch's book Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England.

I made it with Canterbury Aleworks Granite Ledge Stout. It is an interesting drink but unusual. It is velvety smooth, gently sweet but odd tasting.

Ale Flip

1 1/2 Ounces Rum
1 Tablespoon Molasses
1 Large Egg
8 Ounces Dark Beer (brown ale, porter, or stout)
Freshly Grated Nutmeg for Garnish

Pour the rum and molasses into one shaker pint glass. Crack the egg into another shaker pint glass and beat well with a fork.

Warm the beer in a small saucepan over low heat just until it begins to froth and steam; don’t let it come to a boil.

Pour the beer into the glass filled with rum, then pour the egg into the beer. Continue to pour the drink back and forth between the pint glasses until smooth and well-blended, then transfer to a mug or other clean and heat-safe drinking glass.

Grate fresh nutmeg over the flip and serve immediately.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jam'n Tonic

My absolute favorite summer drink - aside from beer, of course - is a tall, cold, refreshing gin and tonic.

I wanted to see what would happen if I combined my favorite hot weather cocktail with a summer brew - Two Roads Road Jam

What happened was magic.

The crisp, dry gin and tonic mixed with the gently sweet and slightly sour Road Jam made for a wonderful hybrid beverage that is perfect to cool off and relax with.

I substituted the traditional gin and tonic lime garnish with a lemon wedge to compliment the lemon grass in the Road Jam.

Jam'n Tonic

2 ounces gin
4 ounces tonic
6 ounces Road Jam
1 lemon wedge 

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add the gin, tonic and Road Jam. Squeeze the lemon wedge into the drink. Stir gently. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cooking with Beer - Beerific Garlic Roast Beef

Beer makes an amazing meat tenderizer. In addition, it enhances the flavor of meat and imparts its own flavor characteristics. 

I've found that darker beers - like brown ales, porters, and stouts - work well with beef. As much as I hate to "waste" a good beer by cooking with it, the better the beer the better the results.

For this recipe I selected a brown ale. The meat is marinated in the beer, then stuffed with garlic, seasoned, then roasted. It's incredibly flavorful. Perfect for a hearty meal and then sliced up for sandwiches if you manage to have left-overs.


Beerific Garlic Roast Beef 

3 to 3 1/2 lbs of Boneless Rump Roast 
1 12-Ounce Bottle/Can Brown Ale
Olive oil
8 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper

Place the roast in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the beer over it and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate at least 8 hours before cooking.

About an hour before you're going to cook the roast, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

With a sharp knife make 8 small incisions around the roast. Place a sliver of garlic into each incision. Take a tablespoon or so of olive oil and spread all around the roast. Sprinkle around the roast with salt and pepper. 

Place the roast directly on an oven rack, fatty side up, with a drip pan on a rack beneath the roasting rack. This arrangement creates convection in the oven so that you do not need to turn the roast. The roast is placed fat side up so that as the fat melts it will bathe the entire roast in its juices.

Brown the roast at 375°F for half an hour. Lower the heat to 200°F. The roast should take somewhere from 2 to 3 hours additionally to cook. When the roast just starts to drip its juices and it is brown on the outside, check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Pull the roast from the oven when the inside temperature of the roast is 135° to 140°F. Let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes, tented in aluminum foil to keep warm, before carving to serve.