Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Last week while perusing the Netflix instant watch selection, I saw How Beer Saved the World as a possible selection. It looked fairly entertaining and was rated well for me. Nathan was also interested in watching it, so I told him we should save it for the weekend and do a beer-themed snack.

It's a good thing that we had a plan of something happy to watch because Nathan's beloved Packers lost their first game of the season which was sort of sad I guess... I spent my time starting an epic re-reading of the Wheel of Time in anticipation of the final book coming out at some point.

But back to beer! There are a few simple rules to cooking with beer... really there's one rule to cooking with beer.

If you wouldn't drink a a pint of it, don't cook with it.

Seriously, use the beer you drink and enjoy and your beer-using recipes will 100% be more enjoyable than if you use a can of Beast.

We purchased the Sam Adams Winter Classics Variety pack at our local store so we would have a little bit of selection for the day (both for cooking and drinking).

Beer Bread

 Fun fact about beer bread--(almost) any bread can be a beer bread! Just replace part or all of the liquid in the recipe with beer and ta-da beer bread! If this scares you, don't worry I have the easiest bread recipe ever below:

12oz beer
3 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar

garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together beer, flour and sugar with a spoon and then with your hands. The dough is very sticky. Put dough into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise on the counter for at least 30 minutes. This isn't going to rise like an actual yeast bread and you can put it straight into the oven if you want, but leaving it on the counter will give it a lighter consistency.

Uncover and bake for about 35 minutes. Spread a little butter, garlic powder, and shredded cheese on top if desired and bake another 5 minutes. Test the bread with a skewer to see if it's done (stick comes out clean). Let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Slice and eat plain or with beer cheese.

This makes a delicious, moist bread. Because the beer is the only real flavoring, you really get the taste of it. I used the Sam Adams Holiday Porter as I think that darker beers work better in this recipe as the flavor is more concentrated. The smell of this bread is incredible and it held up really well over night just covered by a dishcloth.

Beer Cheese

surrounded by things to dip in it... as if it needs those
Oh magical beer cheese, you are such a delicious dip.  This is another time where the quality of ingredient comes into play. If you are going to use shitty beer and shitty cheese your beer cheese is going to taste shitty. There's no magical combination fairy at work here that's going to take sub-par ingredients and make them delicious. Use good cheese. Use good beer. The result will be fantastic.

16oz high quality, sharp cheddar grated
1/2 cup beer
1 tsp horseradish
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until cheese is incorporated into the beer and dip is smooth and creamy. Serve with veggies, crackers, or beer bread. Keep any leftovers in the fridge.

Nathan and I have made this beer cheese probably half a dozen times. Sometimes we use REALLY good cheese and sometimes we use ok cheese and the difference is really astounding. Really good cheese makes amazing dip and ok cheese makes ok dip. The type of beer really changes the flavor as well. The first few times we made it, we used Yuengling Lager which is our staple beer. We've also used their black and tans. This time we used the Sam Adams holiday lager and you could really taste the spices used in the beer in the cheese. Really really tasty.

Both of these recipes are really simple but look and taste like they would take a lot more effort. Pair them with one of the beers used in the recipe and you've got a winning combination.

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