It must be because of the summer, but these days we are very inspired in writing about beers, as you may have noticed by reading the post in which we talk about Italian craft beers or about the combination of beers and food. Perhaps it is also because in recent months our experiences centered on craft beers are having a lot of success. The fact is, that today we want to return to this fresh and tasty topic, offering a few examples of how these can be used in the kitchen.
Let’s refresh our memory…
Brief summary of the previous episodes: to be defined as such, craft beer must meet some minimum requirements. In Italy, it is neither filtered nor pasteurized: clearly, large industrial companies need to pasteurize their products, since they are destined to last for a long time. In addition, craft beers, in order to be able to be labelled as such, cannot contain preservatives or other chemical additives. In other words, they must not be a standardized product, but innovative, made in limited quantities and on which the brewer leaves his own distinctive "imprint".
… and the palate!
But how do you best taste a good craft beer? First of all, it should be drunk at its ideal temperature, which changes from beer to beer. If the temperature is not indicated on the label, you can get an idea of what to do by analyzing its alcohol content: generally speaking, the higher this parameter, the higher the temperature at which we recommend that you taste your beer.
Always make sure to serve not iced, as excessively low temperatures inhibit the aromas and our taste buds, thus preventing us from perceiving those particular hints that distinguish a good artisan product.
We also advise against the ancient custom of drinking beer directly from the bottle. In addition to being unsanitary, it is also limiting for the product itself. In fact, to experience a complete and more satisfying sensory experience, beer needs its glass, which will allow you to perceive all the aromas that a craft product is able to express.
Craft beer in cooking
This product is also a great ingredient in many dishes. In general, a dish that has been prepared using a particular beer will surely find its best match in the same. An example? The renowned French cheese Chimay Rouge goes perfectly with the Chimay rouge beer, that is the one used in the production of this dairy product.
Beer lends itself excellently to prepare batters: you know, everything tastes better if it's fried, but it's even better if fried with beer… try it! For example, the classic onion rings, are heavenly when prepared with a batter made of flour, eggs and ... excellent craft blonde beer!
Let's now pass to pasta and risotto. I have decided to present you a rich and tasty dish, which you may have already heard about: risotto with beer and speck. My mouth is watering just at the thought! All it takes to make the day better - in my opinion, and especially if it's a winter's day - is a good dish of creamy, enveloping and flavourful rice. Preparing beer and speck risotto is very simple, and does not require the knowledge of a starred chef. Here I give you the general lines, check the recipe for more details. Prepare a sauté with onion and butter, then add the rice, blend with the beer and cook like a normal risotto. And the speck? Well, it depends if you like it crunchy or not. I prefer to add it at the end, without cooking it. I recommend a red beer for this recipe.
A main dish that make me always say Wow ! is pork ribs marinated in beer and cooked in the oven or on the grill. The marinade will make the meat soft and succulent. A good dark craft beer and flavors to your liking, depending on the meat to be marinated and tastes: peppercorns of the color you prefer, juniper berries, olive oil, garlic, onion, rosemary, thyme, parsley ... Personally, I prefer a very dark Porter for this recipe, possibly made with a mix of toasted and caramelized malts, even better if with the addition of peaty malt, which gives a pleasant smoky scent.
Have you ever tried beer ice cream? If the answer is no, then you need to fix it now! I believe that it is not a match for everyone, but I find it - personally - nothing short of brilliant: I love that the freshness of ice cream and beer are combined in a single product! And if during the sultry summer days you are undecided whether to uncork a cold beer or go to a gelato shop, with it you can have both. And by clicking here you can find our recipe.
Dulcis in fundo the classic chocolate cake cannot be missing. It can be enriched with a Dark Ale, a dark beer with an aromatic character, produced with different types of malt, including toasted. The ideal product releases hints of chocolate or caramel... in short, one that gives its best with desserts! Will you be able to leave some to prepare the cake, or will you drink it all? For the time being, we give you the recipe ... It’ll be up to you.
In short, you will surely agree that beer is also an excellent ingredient in the kitchen: the richer and more full-bodied the dishes, the more dark and structured the drink must be. In this way, red meats, game, chocolate prefer dark beer, while white meats, batters and why not even fish, will instead want a clear one: for example, try marinating the mussels in beer before cooking them (marinara, in stew, fried ...), and then let us know!