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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Beer & Hard Cider

TIP OF THE DAY: Throw An Oktoberfest Celebration

Oktoberfest beer with a spicy cheese dip.
Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

 

Each year, many people look forward to Oktoberfest, an annual 16-day beer festival held since 1810 in Munich, Germany—the country’s renowned Bavaria region, comprising southeast Germany.

Oktoberfest is said to be the world’s largest fair, with more than 6 million people attending—15% of the beer fans come from outside Germany. Other cities around the world hold their own Oktoberfests, modeled after the original.

While it’s called Oktoberfest (German for October feast), the event begins in late September and ends in early October.

As you can imagine, large quantities of Oktoberfest beer are consumed—almost 7 million liters were served during the 16-day festival in 2007. The traditional style of Oktoberfest beer is Märzen,* an amber-red, smooth, mildly sweet lager with a malty aroma, which originated in Bavaria.

 

To be designated Oktoberfest beer in Germany, the beer must conform to the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law), which dictates a minimum of 6% alcohol (by comparison, America’s Budweiser has 5%). The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich.

Traditional foods served with the beer include:

  • Cheese noodles (Käsespätzle, a noodle casserole with cheese and onions—here’s a recipe)
  • Grilled chicken (Hendl)
  • Grilled fish (Steckerlfisch)
  • Grilled ham hock (Schweinshaxe)
  • Potato dumplings (Knödel)
  • Potato pancakes (Reiberdatschi)
  • Pretzels (Brezeln)
  • Roast pork (Schweinebraten), and of course,
  • Sauerkraut and Blaukraut (red cabbage sauerkraut) with
  • Sausages (Würstl, including the Bavarian specialty Weisswurst, a white sausage made from veal and pork, seasoned with bacon, lemon, onions and parsley)
  •  
    *For German speakers who wonder why a beer named for the month of March (März in German) is celebrated in October: Märzen was originally brewed in March and laid down in caves before the summer heat made brewing impossible. At the end of September, any remaining kegs were consumed during the two-week Oktoberfest. While some modern brewers make Märzen seasonally for Oktoberfest, others brew it year-round.

     

    TIME TO PARTY

    There’s still time for you to have an Oktoberfest celebration. You don’t need to adhere to the German schedule: Consider that you’ve all of October.

    For an adult Halloween party, combine the two events and do a tasting of Oktoberfest beers, fall beers and pumpkin beers/ales.

  • Brown Ales
  • Dunkelweizen
  • English/India Pale Ales
  • Harvest Beers/Ales
  • Oktoberfest/Märzen beers
  • Pumpkin Beers/Ales
  •  
    (Check out all the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.)

     

    Oktoberfest beer from Wisconsin: Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest beer with sausage and sauerkraut. Photo courtesy Leinenkugel.

     

    Here’s a recipe from the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, for brats steamed in Oktoberfest beer.

    BRATS COOKED IN BEER

    Enjoy Leinenkugel’s recipe for Oktoberfest-Infused Bratwurst, brats boiled in beer, then grilled.

    Ingredients

  • 1 dozen brats
  • 1 dozen brat buns
  • Oktoberfest beer, to cover†
  • 1 medium large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 ounces butter
  •  
    †We used 5 bottles.
     
    Preparation

    1. Place brats in a Dutch oven with sliced onions, peppers and butter; cover the brats with beer. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until brats are cooked. Remove brats and set aside remaining beer mixture.

    2. Grill brats until golden brown and return to beer mixture until ready to serve.

    3. Serve brats on fresh brat buns, plain or toasted, with your favorite toppings: ketchup, mustard, onions, peppers (chopped bell peppers or jalapeños) and sauerkraut.
     
    HOW MUCH BEER DO YOU NEED FOR A CROWD?

    If you’re planning a large event, use the handy calculator at Kegerators.com. We calculated that for a party of 25 guests consuming 3-5 beers apiece, we’d need 1 keg, 35 pounds of ice for a room temperature keg, and 30 cups, “Assumes 17% breakage, excluding drinking games.”

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Beer & Other Fall Craft Beers

    Invite Fat Jack and Oktoberfest to a fall beer
    tasting. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    We received an email from Innis & Gunn, an Edinburgh brewer that ages beer in oak bourbon barrels, announcing that their Spiced Rum Aged beer has arrived in the U.S.

    It was a reminder that it’s time to switch to “fall beer.” Just as cooks make lighter or heavier recipes based on the weather, so do brewers. Some of the delights of the fall season are pumpkin beer and other spiced beers.

    These beers aren’t sweet pumpkin pie, but you can certainly serve them with the pie. No matter how you serve them, you’re in for a treat: The pumpkin adds body, smoothness and richness to the beer, and the seasonal spices add complex notes.

    One of Samuel Adams’ Small Batch Series, Fat Jack Double Pumpkin Ale adds 28 pounds of pumpkin to each barrel, along with allspice, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, The AVB* is a hefty 8.5% (by comparison, Budweiser is 5% ABV). Along with toasty smoked malts, this delectable brew salutes fall with layers and layers of flavor.

     

    Samuel Adams also makes an Oktoberfest beer with those same roasted malts. After a sweet start, the roasty malt comes up; the beer finishes with a hoppy, biscuity taste we enjoy.

    So when you’re next at the supermarket, roll down the beer aisle and see what fall treats await. Entertain your friends with a fall beer tasting to determine the best pumpkin beer, spiced beer, and other types you find.

    CRAFT BEER TRENDS

    Industry reports from chain stores selling beer across the USA show that:

  • More than half of the 25 top selling SKUs† for import and craft beers—including three of the top five SKUs—were seasonal beers or variety packs. These specialty products are from craft brewers, who produce small batches and have the flexibility to make seasonal and other special brews. This parade of new beers has developed fans who are continually on the lookout for new and exciting brews.
  • At the end of 2011, there were 6,607 beer SKUs in chain stores nationwide (not every store carries every SKU; some SKUs are only available locally/regionally). A whopping 743 new SKUs were introduced during 2011. Not only are there a lot of beer choices in the marketplace, but the rate of new launches is accelerating.
  • According to the data, the average chain branch carries 1,202 SKUs (that sounds incredible!). A growing number of beers are competing for limited shelf-space. Retailers carry what sells the best, so support your favorites!
  •  
    DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER?

    Check out our Beer Glossary.
     
     
    *Alcohol by volume.

    †A SKU, pronounced “skew” and short for stock-keeping unit, is a number/code used to identify each unique product or item for sale in a store. Different sizes of the exact same product (8 ounces versus 16 ounces, for example) are different SKUs.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Serve Hard Cider

    For Memorial Day festivities, we cut our beer purchases in half and substituted hard cider—specifically, the Crisp Apple variety of Angry Orchard Cider.

    Think of an elegant apple cider, made from a very complex blend of both culinary (eating) apples and bittersweet “angry” apples. Then, add a lengthy fermentation process, including oak aging for complexity and balance.

    Angry Orchard is made by a brewer that knows how to satisfy: Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beer. (Read the full review.)

    Th cider was a hit.

    So for summer entertaining, consider a hard cider tasting. Following our Memorial Day success, we’re gathering up different hard cider brands and for a multibrand tasting.

    Magners (made in Ireland) and Woodchuck (from Vermont) are brands found most often in our local supemarkets, but check in wine stores for artisan brands (if your state’s wine stores don’t sell cider, they may be able to send you somewhere that does).

     

    Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple Cider is our new favorite refreshment. Image courtesy Angry Orchard.

     

    WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT HARD CIDER (FOR STARTERS)

    “Apple cider” is a redundant term: By definition, the term cider indicates a beverage made from apples. Cider made from pears is called perry.

    Hard cider has been fermented into an alcoholic beverage. Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process. Apple juice has been filtered to remove solids and pasteurized so that it will stay fresh longer.

  • Varietals. Certain grapes make better wine. While wine can be made from any grape, good wine is made from tried-and-true varietals. The same is true with cider.
  • Bubbles. We prefer our cider bubbly, but not all hard ciders have bubbles. They often require an added step: added carbon dioxide (like soda) or a dosage, which a bit of sugar and yeast that causes a second fermentation (like Champagne).
  • Style. Ciders are made wherever apples are grown. As with beer, styles vary widely. The French style tends to be light and subtle; English ciders are typically higher in alcohol and drier, with bolder apple flavor. American ciders are made in a broad variety of styles, from dry and semi-dry to sweet.
  • Pairings. Depending on the style, cider can start the meal as an apéritif; sweeter styles can conclude the meal with dessert. We enjoy lighter styles of cider with fresh cheeses; sushi; with oysters and other raw bar seafood; grilled or poached fish; seafood-based luncheon salads and green salads. Heavier cider styles go better with poultry, meat-based luncheon salads and sandwiches; we enjoy them with blue cheeses. As with beer, any cider can be enjoyed whenever you’re thirsty.
     
    For Labor Day, we’ll be hosting a perry tasting—a hard cider-type beverage made from pears instead of apples.

  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Have Fun With The History Of Food

    If you love food, you may love learning more about it. Museums mount enlightening exhibits that put the history of our mainstay foods in perspective.

    Take beer. The New York Historical Society has just opened an exhibit called Beer Here, Brewing New York’s History. Chock full of artifacts, the exhibit runs through September 2, 2012.

    At the conclusion of the exhibit, you step into a “tavern” to taste some outstanding craft beers from New York brewers. The selection varies daily. We happened to catch the new Small Batch IPA from Heartland Brewery, a brewpub with seven Manhattan locations. The IPA’s complex layering of herbal and floral flavors and aromas is simply thrilling.

    But you don’t have to be in Manhattan to find an exhibit on beer, hot dogs, tacos and other favorite foods. Check with your local museums, historical societies and academic institutions to see what they may be cooking up.

     

    Engraving of a 16th century brewery. Image courtesy Wikimedia.

     

    THE IMPORTANCE OF BEER IN CITIES

    As cities grew and local water supplies became polluted, microbes in the water caused disease in the population. People could not safely consume water that had not been boiled.

    But beer making boils the water and kills the pathogens. Plus, in the 19th centuries it was discovered that the hops used to flavor beer had antipathogenic and preservative properties (and were even made into medicines).

    Beer was one of the most common beverages in the Middle Ages, consumed daily by all social classes in the northern and eastern parts of Europe. Beer also provided a considerable amount of the daily calorie intake. Until clean municipal water supplies were developed in the 19th century, even young children drank beer.

    In addition to serving as a vital source of nourishment, beer was a steady source of tax revenue.

     

    The Lightning closure, was invented in the
    1870s and is still in use today, upgraded with
    a ceramic cap and a rubber gasket, and is called a swing top.
    Check out more historic bottle closures. Photo courtesy SHA.org.

     

    Beer Trivia

  • Party time, 10,000 C.E. People were brewing beer 12,000 years ago, about the time when mankind began to transition from a nomadic lifestyle to agricultural communities. Women became the primary brewers, among their many household duties.
  • Four simple ingredients. Beer is made from water, a fermentable starch source, brewer’s yeast to produce the fermentation (conversion into alcohol) and a flavoring such as hops (the cone-shaped flower clusters from the hops plant, Humulus lupulus.
  • Grain of choice: malted barley. In the U.S. and Europe, malted barley is fermented into beer. But the first beer brewed in the Colonies, in colonial Virginia in 1587, was made from local corn. In other parts of the world, agave, cassava root, millet, potato and sorghum are used (among other sources).
  • Fast forward to the year 1587 in colonial Virginia; Europeans produced the first homebrew made from corn in what would become the United States.
  •  

  • You have the right to homebrew. On October 14, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337, which exempted beer brewed at home for personal use from taxation. This exemption encouraged many people to homebrew, some of whom went on to establish the roughly 2,000 craft breweries in America today…and an estimated 1,000,000 homebrewers.
  •  
    Thanks to the American Homebrewers Association for the beer trivia.

    As you enjoy a cold one, consider brewing your own. We really enjoyed making beer with a Mr. Beer kit.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Personalized Beer Labels

    Personalize a six-pack: a great gift idea. Photo courtesy Pinhole Press.

     

    Give your favorite beer lover a memorable six-pack: one with custom, personalized beer labels. If you’re looking for something different for college graduation or Father’s Day gifts, this could be it!

    Pinhole Press, which specializes in gift items customized with your photos (calendars, journals, magnets and the like), has a beer label option that’s sure to make an occasion more festive.

    You simply upload your photo and text and get 15 labels in return ($11.99). Add the cost of a six-pack, and you’ve created a memorable yet affordable gift.

    Order yours at PinholePress.com.

    Prefer Wine To Beer?

    Custom wine bottle labels are available in a broad selection of designs, including some for baby showers, weddings and other celebratory occasions (9 labels, $9.99).

    Cheers!

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Mexican Beer For Cinco De Mayo

    One of our favorite ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is with a Mexican beer and salsa bar: a tasting of different beers from Mexico, different salsas, and our favorite corn chips from Food Should Taste Good.

    Bohemia* is one of our favorite Mexican beers. It was named after a region in the former republic of Czechoslovakia† that produced some of the world’s finest beers.

    A pale pilsner-style beer, it is the most awarded of Mexican beers. It’s worth tracking down.

    To set up a beer and salsa bar:

    1. Pick six different beers† and six different types of salsa. Choose among green salsa/salsa verde/tomatillo salsa, red salsa, salsa fresca or pico de gallo (fresh red salsa), salsas made with beans, chipotle, corn and fruit.

    2. Serve the salsa in bowls. Place the salsa containers behind the bowls so people know what they’re eating.

     

    Bohemia beer: a fine way to celebrate Cinco
    de Mayo. Photo by Jaclyn Nussbaum | THE NIBBLE.

     

    3. Use small cups/glasses. You want your guests to try all six beers, but not to overindulge. The five-ounce disposable plastic tumblers (“rocks glasses”) available in supermarkets are on the generous side. You can also use plastic or glass shot glasses.

    4. Beer tasting notes. If you have time, make cards to set in front of each of the beers, mentioning the style and any tasting notes you want to provide (you can find this information online).

    5. Don’t forget the napkins and plates.

    More To Nibble

  • The different types of salsas.
  • The different types of beers.
  •  
    *Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic (capital, Prague) and Slovakia (capital, Bratislava) in 1993. Bohemia is located in the contemporary Czech Republic.

    †The majority of Mexican beer is produced by two large companies. FEMSA is the maker of Bohemia, Carta Blanca, Dos Equis, Indio, Sol, Superior, Tecate and the seasonal Noche Buena. Grupo Modelo produces Corona, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Modelo Light, Negra Modelo and Pacifico. Estrella, Montejo and Victoria are made by smaller producers.

      

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    PRODUCT: Time To Switch To Spring Beer Styles

    One of the great things about the craft beer movement is that it enables us to change our beers with the seasons. Just as you don’t want a heavy, wintery Barolo on a fresh spring day, the same goes with your beer.

    Look for a May bock (Maibock), a style that is brewed to celebrate springtime. Hellesbock (light bock), an identical recipe, is brewed throughout the year but gets the special name for springtime. A lager beer, it is light in color, although heavier in body and higher in alcohol, than a light-hued Pilsner.

    Samuel Adams has brewed Apine Spring especially for the season. A bright, citrusy, unfiltered lager, it’s a bit darker in color—golden—than a typical Hellesbock/Maibock. The citrus and spice come from Noble Tettnang hops, grown at the bottom of the Alps. A slightly sweet malt character comes from the German Pilsner and honey malts. The ABV is 5.5%.

    The brewery sees it as “the perfect transition from winter’s heavier brews to the lighter beers of summer…[with] the balanced maltiness and hoppiness of a Helles, the smoothness and slightly higher alcohol of a traditional spring bock, and the unfiltered appearance of a Kellerbier.”

     

    It’s time for a refreshing draught of Alpine Spring. Photo courtesy Samuel Adams | Boston Beer Company.

     

    Alpine Spring pairing suggestions include grilled chicken and Italian fare. Here are more food pairing ideas.

    OTHER SPRING-APPROPRIATE BEERS

    BOCKBIER. Bock beer, a dark lager, has a strong malt flavor and full mouthfeel. It has that “refreshing lager zing” that makes it taste like springtime. Bock is the German word for strong, referring to a strong beer brewed from barley malt.

    DOPPELBOCK. Double bock originated during Lent. Since 1654 the monks of St. Francis of Paula in Munich had brewed bock beer. Sometime after 1799, they began to brew a thicker beer to provide them with nourishment during the Lenten fast. It was called Salvator (Latin for savior). Later, the beer was sold to the general population as Doppelbock. Doppelbock is German for extra-strong—around 7.5% alcohol by volume, or stronger. It is a bottom-fermented beer, tawny or dark brown in color. It’s a southern Germany spring specialty, seasonally brewed in March and April. The monks’ brewery, Paulaner, is still making beer.

    WHEAT BEER. Wheat beer (Witbier in Belgium, Weissbier in Germany) is a lighter style. Some brews are spiced with coriander and orange peel—not unlike the citrus-spice flavors of Alpine Spring—for a sunnier disposition. Wheat beer is brewed with a significant proportion of wheat, which provides a distinctive pale color, creamy texture and a light, sweet flavor, often with fruit and spice notes.

    LAMBIC. Belgium is the home of a variety of fruit beer known as lambic. Lambics are typically wheat beer recipes brewed with fruits ranging from cherries and raspberries (the classics) to mango and peach (the moderns). While most beers are distinguished by their flavors of hops and malt, lambic is an ancient style of beer that is naturally bone dry, acidic and effervescent. It is bottom-fermented. The wort, often kept in ventilated attics, is allowed to spontaneously ferment with wild, airborne yeasts.

    Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Green Beer, Champagne Or Ginger Ale For St. Patrick’s Day

    Even if you have nothing planned and no time, you can still do something special for St. Patrick’s Day:

    Drink Green

    Make green beer, sparkling wine, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda (7-Up, Sprite) or club soda.

  • Beer: Add 5-6 green drops of green food color to a 12-ounce stein; pour in the beer.
  • Sparkling Wine: Add 2 drops of food color to each flute before pouring in the Champagne.
  • Soft Drinks: Use 6 drops of food color per eight-ounce glass prior to adding the soda.
  •  

    ANOTHER TIP: Pour any effervescent beverage down the side of the glass, rather than into the center. It preserves more bubbles.

     

    It’s easy being green on St. Patrick’s Day. Photo by MBPhoto | IST.

     

    Eat Green

    Color dips, condiments and other creamy foods green. Use 10-12 drops green food color per 1/2 cup of:

  • Blue Cheese Dressing: for chicken wings or salad
  • Mayonnaise: for a sandwich spread or dip for fries
  • Onion Dip Or Ranch Dressing: for chips, veggies, potato wedges
  • Sour Cream: For your baked potato or any favorite use
  • Plain Or Vanilla Yogurt: for any reason
  •  
    On St. Patrick’s Day, it’s easy being green.

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

    Here’s another recipe from Justin O’Connor, Executive Chef at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. The cupcakes will be featured at the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day.

    For added Irishness and deliciousness, we added some Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur to the frosting.

    GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 10 ounces flour
  • 2 ounces cocoa powder
  • 6 ounces superfine sugar*
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Guinness
  •  

    Green-iced chocolate-Guinness cupcakes. Photo courtesy Guinness.

     

    Buttercream Icing

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur
  • Green food coloring
  • Optional garnish: green sprinkles or sanding sugar
  •  
    *You can pulse table sugar in a food processor.

    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 320°F.

    2. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and Bailey’s.

    3. Combine all the dry ingredients; blend in egg, Guinness and vanilla slowly until the mix comes together. Place into 12 cupcake papers and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.

    4. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar until soft and creamy. Add two drops green food coloring and stir until combined. Ice cooled cupcakes. Garnish as desired with sprinkles or sanding sugar.

    Find more of our favorite cupcake recipes.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Special Ice Cream For New Year’s Eve

    Ice cream that smells and tastes like
    gingerbread. Photo courtesy
    KitchenKonfidential.com.

     

    Ice cream is one of our favorite desserts—heck, it’s our favorite food, period.

    For New Year’s Eve, we like to make a special flavor. Last year it was lavender. Prior years included anise, chipotle chocolate, chocolate pretzel, peppermint schnapps and white chocolate with edible gold flakes. For the Millennium, we splurged on black truffle ice cream.

    This year, we’re making Gingerbread-Trappist Ale Ice Cream, to serve with an apple tart. Those who have no room left for the tart can enjoy a spoonful or two of easy-to-down sweetness. (Note: Trappist ale is one type of Belgian ale, and should be used in this recipe. See the footnote* at the bottom of this post for the difference Belgian beers and ales.)

    In addition to serving it as a glammed-up version of apple pie à la mode, you can make ice cream sandwiches by toasting slices of gingerbread loaf or other favorite loaf: banana cake, carrot cake or chocolate or regular pound cake.

     

    This recipe, from Brandon Matzek’s blog, KitchenKonfidence.com, was adapted from a recipe created by Ethan Frisch and Max Falkowitz, and sent to us from the Craft Beer Association.

    Made with candied ginger, cinnamon, clove, allspice and Belgian-style ale, the ice cream smells and tastes like gingerbread. The Trappist ale (we used Duvel, one of our favorites) adds a delicious depth of flavor. Brandon Matzek’s serving suggestion is to scoop the ice cream over a warm slice of gingerbread, topped with sautéed apples.

    You can serve a glass of Belgian ale along with the dessert. Or a cup of spice tea.

    GINGERBREAD-ALE ICE CREAM RECIPE

    Ingredients

    Serves: 8 – 10

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1-2/3 cups Trappist ale, divided
  • 5 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 inch nub of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise “petals”
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 ounce dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Zest of half a large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, minced
  •  
    Preparation
    1. In a large saucepan, add heavy cream, whole milk, 1-1/3 cups ale and molasses, stirring to combine.

    2. Add allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fresh ginger, nutmeg and star anise.

    3. Cook mixture over a medium-low heat until just below a simmer, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes (you want to see steam rising from the surface, but minimal to no bubbles).

    4. Whisk the egg yolks and brown sugar in a bowl until slightly thickened. Slowly, while whisking, add 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolks. Take your time here so you don’t scramble the yolks. Repeat this process with another 1/2 cup of the hot cream, then return everything to the saucepan.

    5. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Set a medium sized bowl in the ice bath and have a strainer ready.

    6. Return the saucepan to a medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. You will know the custard is thick enough when you see steam rise from the surface and the custard coats the spoon.

    7. Add the chocolate, lemon zest and the last 1/3 cup ale. Continue to cook for another minute or two, until the proper thickness is achieved again.

    8. Strain the custard into the medium sized bowl sitting in the ice bath. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Stir occasionally until the mixture has cooled. Refrigerate until cold (preferably overnight).

    9. Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is three quarters of the way done, add candied ginger and continue to freeze until frozen.

    10. Serve to delighted guests.

    *Trappist ale is one of nine categories of Belgian beer and ale. Others include everyday Belgian ale, brown ale, golden ale, lambic, red beer, saison, specialty ales and wheat beer (witbier). Under an official designation established by the International Trappist Association in 1997, only beer brewed under the direct supervision of Trappist monks may be called Trappist. There are currently seven such breweries in the world: six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. Abbey beer—which originally referred to any monastic or monastic-style beer—is the designation of products similar in style or presentation to Trappist beers, such as beers brewed in non-Trappist monasteries, commercial breweries that license the name from an extant Trappist monastery, beers named for a defunct or fictitious monastery, and so on.

      

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