It’s no secret that our fine city is praised as America’s beer haven. In fact, many of the world’s premier breweries are located right in our own backyard! In celebration of the upcoming SAN DIEGO BEER WEEK (Nov 7th – 16th), we’ve put together a few trusted techniques & recipe using some of our favorite local suds in everyday at-home cooking. ENJOY!
THE TECHNIQUE: BRAISED
There are 101 ways to braise with beer, but braising with hoppy IPA creates a richer robust flavor.
THE BREW: Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale
TIP: Low & Slow! Infusing the hoppy notes into the meat, is just one of the key tricks for the perfect beer braise! The hop content of beer adds bitterness and acidity, and unlike wine or liquor, you can substitute beer cup-for-cup for stock or water when you’re braising.
THE TECHNIQUE: GRILLED
Beer is a great meat tenderizer because it’s less acidic than wine, vinegar, or citrus, so it won’t break down the texture as rapidly, making for great marinades.
THE BREW: Karl Strauss Windansea Wheat
TIP: Game marries well with beer, but so does chicken and fish. For the newbie, robust dishes are a good way to start before experimenting with the subtleties beer can have on more refined flavorings. Also, the more the beer is cooked and reduced, the stronger its flavor will be. If the dish requires long cooking and reduction, avoid using too strong a brew, or you’ll end up over doing it.
THE TECHNIQUE: BATTERING
Whether you are deep-frying fish for a main entrée or vegetables for a tempura-style appetizer, it all starts with the perfect beer batter. The yeast content produces a light, fluffy texture especially good in batters. Yeast can also help to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.
THE BREW: Pizza Port No Surf Cream Ale
TIP: A perfect beer batter is not complicated; it should only contain beer and self-raising flour. First rule, the beer should be cold. Second, you DO NOT need to sift the flour, and be sure not to over-whisk it. A few lumps actually makes for a better texture. Thirdly and most important, it’s important to choose the correct beer according to what you are going to cook. As any ingredient ranges in texture and taste, so does beer.
RECIPES TO TRY OUT AT HOME!
BRAISED: Carbonnade (Belgian Beer and Beef Stew)
Cooking with beer can be tricky. This recipe uses the acidity of the mustard and vinegar and the sweetness of the tomato paste to balance out the bitterness of the ale.
- 3 1/2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 medium yellow onions sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups)
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups Brown Veal Stock
- 12 oz Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- Brown Sugar to taste
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a heavy bottomed stew pot and brown the beef in batches over medium heat.
- Remove the meat and add the onions to the pot and cook over medium low heat until they are lightly browned. Add the flour to the pan and stir to form a roux. Add the stock and beer to the pot and stir well while bringing to a simmer. Scrape the bottom well to remove any browned bits.
- Return the meat to the pan along with the remainder of the ingredients. Simmer partially covered over low heat on the stove or place in a 300-degree oven. Either way, cook the stew gently for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve over potatoes, french-fries or buttered noodles.
GRILLED: Basic Beer Marinade for Chicken
It is important when using beer as a marinade to stir it well to remove the carbonation. A wheat beer is a good choice for marinating because of its light and fresh taste and mild bitterness.
- 12 ounces Karl Strauss Windansea Wheat (Stirred until flat)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 (1-by-3-inch) piece of orange peel
- ½ Tbsp Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- 2 each Sonoma Select Free Range Chicken (cut into 8 pcs each
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and mix well. Add the chicken pieces and marinate for 2-3 hours.
- Remove from marinade and pat the chicken dry. Grill or roast as desired.
BATTERED: Beer Batter
A couple of guidelines for making beer batter:
Keep the beer ice cold and don’t over mix the batter. A few lumps are ok.
- 2 cups of Self Rising Flour*
- 12 ounces of of ice cold Pizza Port No Surf Cream Ale
- Fish pieces or pealed and de-veined shrimp
- Seasoned flour and oil for frying
1. Combine the beer and four in a bowl. Mix until just combined. It is not necessary to remove all the lumps.
2. Dredge the fish or shrimp pieces in seasoned flour, shake off excess, dip in batter and place immediately in 350-degree fryer oil. Fry until golden brown, remove and allow to drain.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Combine and mix well!