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Beer Pancake Bonanza

13 Dec

4 beers, one recipe and 5 satisfied, formerly-hungry friends.

So, the recipe was the constant in our experiment.  The beers varied in styles and hence, in tastes.

The recipe comes from CraftBeer.com, and was posted by Mike Burns of Twisted Pines Brewery.  His recipe used a Raspberry Wheat Ale, we simply substituted our four beers.  Take a look:

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ cup white sugar
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Beer
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine your dry ingredients and then add in your wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Then you have pancake batter and should know what to do with it from there (put it on a griddle or pan, wait for bubbles, flip, remove and enjoy.)

The Beers:

 

Left to Right: Ommegang's Three Philosophers, Troeg's Dreamweaver, Well's Banana Bread Beer, Lost Coast's Tangerine Wheat Beer.

The two best pancakes came from the batters that included Well’s Banana Bread Beer and Ommegang’s Three Philosopher’s.  My personal favorite was Three Philosopher’s: the dark fruit flavors came through and made for a nicely textured, thick pancake.  The Pancakes that used the Banana Bread beer tasted like delicious banana bread pancakes, no shock there.  I didn’t really notice any tangerine flavors coming through from Lost Coast’s wheat beer, and the Troeg’s Dream Weaver Wheat just couldn’t compare to the culinary orgy created by pancake melding with Three Philosophers or Well’s Banana Bread Beer.

For more information on the pancake extravaganza check out my friend (and fellow participant’s) blog, Foodonia.

Thanksgiving Traditions

26 Nov

Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays I greatly enjoy.  I personally don’t get too wrapped up in religion so many holidays hold little spiritual meaning for me.  The holidays that make sense to me are the ones I enjoy the most: Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Halloween.  Perhaps these are stupid reasons but I like Thanksgiving because I believe it is important to be grateful for how much we have and I enjoy eating the traditional foods and eating a lot of it.  (I like the other listed holidays for very similar, simple reasons, but that is another story and potentially a future post.)

I find myself getting into traditions (something semi-new for me) and this year I really started settling myself in.  My number one Thanksgiving tradition is listening to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant. Thankfully, no planning is necessary for this tradition to happen.  I always have to travel for my meal on Thanksgiving and every radio station is playing this song at least once a day.  I just kept hitting my search button until I found it (about a 2 minute operation.)

My second tradition is pumpkin pie.  I have to have it on this day, no other pie is an adequate substitution.  This year I brought the pumpkin pie and I think I did an okay job baking it.  My recipe originated in the November issue of Bon Appetit.  I changed one part of it: it calls for a 1/4 cup of scotch which I did not have.  I did have, however, a bottle of Saranac’s Pale ale, and well you see where this is going.  It came out great and you’ll notice I have no photos: the pie was consumed before a chance arose to document it.  Here is the recipe:

I used a frozen crust, make one if you want but I didn’t have the time.

For the filling:

3/4  cup [packed] golden brown sugar

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup of Pale Ale

1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

 

Melt butter in medium sized saucepan and add salt and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.  Stir frequently until sugar dissolves into the butter.  Continue stirring until mixture turns dark brown.  Remove from heat, stir in pale ale and whipping cream.  Mixture will bunch up, add back to heat and continue to stir until every harder piece dissolves into the mixture.  Remove from heat and chill to room temperature.

Stir in remaining brown sugar with pumpkin puree in large bowl.  Add eggs and then spices.  When properly mixed add in caramel mixture and stir in completely.

Fill pie crust with filling and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.  Cool to room temperature and serve.

 

Lastly, my newest Thanksgiving tradition (I’m starting it now) is to have a Biere de Garde with my meal.  This year’s beer was a success: see Thanksgiving’s Beer of the Day.  Light, fluffy and very cleansing.  This beer worked well with every dish and I have to make it part of my holiday.

Beer Bread Showdown

22 Nov

In a joint effort with Foodonia we have put together a beer bread test group, if you will.  We baked four loaves of bread all using the same recipe just adding a different beer to see how the results varied.

Beers Used:

the lineup

Budweiser was used because most recipes online call for Coors, or Bud light and a close friend requesting using straight-up Bud.  I chose #9 for it’s bit of Belgian yeast funk and spices.  The porter was used because I wanted to use a  beer with good, pronounced darker malts.  Lastly, Ommegang’s Hennepin was chosen for it’s white pepper notes and farmhouse qualities.

For a review of the bread baking process and recipe used make sure to check out Foodonia’s post.

The results were not exactly how I guessed things would have turned out.  The porter I had predicted to have tasted the best, however, almost none of the flavors stuck to the bread.  For the most part, it only imparted it’s color to the bread.  The Budweiser was deemed the worst of the breads.  The #9 and the Hennepin both came out giving off good flavors.  I preferred the Hennepin, though others backed the #9, and for good reason.

They boast a remarkably clean oven

The breads came out looking stupid.  I don’t really know how else to say it but they didn’t really get too much of a crust.  This is purely an aesthetic problem because the breads all tasted fine.  They were best after sitting for some time and for whatever reason when the bread is toasted the beer flavors become more pronounced. *shrugs*

If we were to do this again (and we may very well refine the recipe and the beers and give it another go) then I would consider using the following beers:

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Samuel Adam’s Winter Lager, Southern Tier’s Pumking, and Brown’s Harvest IPA.

 

My Overdue Oktoberfest Post

24 Oct

We are pushing three weeks since I volunteered my Saturday to work at Wolff’s Biergaarten for their 2nd annual Oktoberfest celebration.  My bad on not posting sooner, [insert lame excuse here.]

I volunteered to help out at this event and I recommend anyone who likes: beer, sausage, German folk music, cool free stuff, or any combination of these things to strongly consider it next year.  I went in for 5 hours of working security.  However, it wouldn’t be fair for them to put me in a situation where I would be responsible for checking IDs because they would seriously loose their liquor license if I were an idiot (which, let’s face it: I am.)  So, I really didn’t do anything all day.  For a while I stood behind the food tent watching to make sure people didn’t try to sneak in through a parking lot (no one did.)  BONUS: I got some free eats from the chefs working because I helped them break down boxes and carry a cooking range.  Later on in the day I was just walking around the bar area.  Literally, they told me that it makes the bartenders feel better if there is someone walking around amongst the crowd (surely a false sense of security because if you have seen me I am not intimidating and my first thought in a violent situation is to run.)

What was my reward for all of this ‘work?’  A $50 dollar gift certificate for the Biergaarten, two Wolff’s T-shirts, a meal voucher for Oktoberfest, 2 beer tokens for the event, and a glass Spaten stein.  Talk about a bargain.

My only complaint about the event was that a lot of people were there.  It took a while to get a beer, and people were kind of douche-y about waiting in lines.  A few righteous bros thought that they were entitled to not having to wait for their beers so they barged through the patient, relaxed, fun-having crowd.  Number one: are those aviator sunglasses really necessary indoors, and number two: I hope you choke on your beer.

For the most part everyone was relaxed and quite pleasant.  The employees I worked with at Wolff’s were fun and I am happy to give Wolff’s my business.  If you haven’t checked the Biergaarten out yet, then you may be wasting time in the capital region.

wasting precious "beer-getting" time by posing for photos, also: sweet gloves.

Another Burger Laid to Rest, Another Beer Enjoyed – Brown’s Brewing Company, Troy, NY

14 Sep

My Beacon in the Night

In my battle against hunger, thirst and the craving for the flavor and aroma of hops I found satisfaction in Brown’s Taproom, on River Street in Troy.  I had settled upon my destination but soon found myself caught in a feud of burger ownership from the City of Lakes, Minneapolis.  The Juicy Lucy, or Jucy Lucy, is a cheeseburger where cheese is cooked in the middle of the beef patty.  Two bars in Minneapolis both claim they were responsible for the creation of this burger, but I’m not picking sides: I am just enjoying Brown’s take on it.

Head chef, Paul Minbiole, has put together a very interesting menu for a Troy brewhouse: many of his creations involve beer made locally by Brown’s.  My burger, unfortunately did not contain any of their signature beers, but it was oozing with delicous boursin cheese.  What to pair with my rich, cheesy burger?  I used Brown’s Harvest I.P.A. (Beer of the Day on September 10th) because I gave in to temptation.  I can’t resist the idea of an I.P.A. made with hops that have been used in brewing a day after they are picked.

poor guy didn't have a chance...

I made short work of my burger and my beer was soon to follow.  If you live in the area and haven’t been to Brown’s then you should re-examine your priorities.  Even the building is cool: their taproom is an old brick building they saved and have re-worked to contain their brewery and pub.  I have to cut myself off because I will literally go on about how much I like this place for the rest of the day.  Just experience it for yourself.

Bloomington, Indiana’s Own Upland Brewery

9 Sep

I sometimes find myself in strange places during my travels.  My journey into the midwest ended in Bloomington, IN where I found a cove of good food and good beer.  I dined around town for two and half days but ate and drank every night at the same place: The Upland Brewery.

they're all good

My first stop included a chocolate cake made with their in-house Bad Elmer’s Porter.  It was late in the evening and we had spent the day figuring out academics at the local Indiana University’s campus so we capped it off after the cake.  The next day we stopped later in the afternoon for a sampler.  It included all of their year-round brews and I did not find one that I didn’t enjoy.  Obviously though, I did have my favorites: Bad Elmer’s Porter, Upland Wheat and the Rad Red Amber.  We visited in the middle of June so the Upland Wheat was everything we wanted: clean, crisp, refreshing and the draft of the day.  We left, explored downtown Bloomington, dealt with academic issues again and returned that night for dinner (we were addicted.)  I had a jalapeno burger with a spicy habenero sauce.  The burger was awesome, but even more awesome was how the Rad Red Amber cut through the beef and cut through the heat (Caramel malt with 100% American hops for a cleansing, flowery, citrus taste.)

On top of the food and brews what won me over on Upland was their practice.  Upland is potentially the most green and Earth-friendly brewery I have ever stumbled in or out of.  They donate proceeds of their Preservation Pilsner to saving local forests, they donate their spent grains to local farmers, and their brewery is fitted with solar panels and energy efficient lighting.

If you ever find yourself in Bloomington, Indiana with no idea where to eat, this is a must-stop.  The brewery was the highlight of my trip to the midwest.  Upland does everything in-house, EVERYTHING: even marketing and design.  To be honest, it shows.  I have seen worse websites (though not many) but that is one more thing to love about this brewery: it’s local people doing it all for themselves and the community they are a part of.  Check them out online, and if you get the chance, in person.  Upland Brewery

Spent Grains at the Upland Brewery