I’ve been on local TV five times since I wrote the book “I Drink on the Job” and it was mostly to give the book exposure – the title doesn’t suggest it, but really I wrote mostly about my experiences with wine and how much of what I learned was wrong or flawed. Now that I’m moving into the craft beer industry (I’m organizing DC’s Own Beer Festival – MAC Brew Fest on Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2011) I’ve decided to switch gears a bit. About one year ago I became seriously interested in the DC craft beer scene after reading Tammy Tuck’s article in Citypaper “Back to the Future: Inside D.C.’s First New Breweries in Decades”. Since then, I’ve lined up all the local breweries that recently opened in DC (DC Brau, Chocolate City, Port City, and Lost Rhino) and I’ve spent quite a bit of time tasting, meeting and participating in the local DC beer Renaissance – it’s a train that’s just starting to move! So when I received a call from Lindsey Gustin of Fairfax, VA’s Channel 10’s Chef’s Recipes to cook on TV in August, 2011, I thought it was finally time to break into beer as part of a meal – in my case, that meant cooking with beer.
This was my 3rd time on this show and each time I had a different role – the first time was pretty wide open cooking, the 2nd time was “Composing a Cheese Tray” and on August 16th, 2011 it was “Cooking with Beer”. I’m including Youtube videos of the cooking on the show, but my goal was clear:
- 1)Show that craft beer is flavorful to cook with just like wine,
- 2)Use as many local craft beers in the region to cook beer-centric dishes while supporting MAC Brew Fest sponsoring breweries (and also one Food Sponsor – Dolci Gelati
- 3)Treat beer more like wine – something to be savored and enjoyed with meals
The first dish I demonstrated was Beef Carbonnade made with Stillwater Ales Stateside Saison. Carbonnade is a fancy Belgian name for essentially long slow braised beef in beer. Traditionally Belgian beer is used in the recipe, but many American brewers travel to Belgium and learn how to use their native yeasts and produce comparable styled beers. Stillwater Ales is a brewery run by friend Brian Strumke – he’s known as a “Gypsy Brewer” – in other words, he doesn’t have his own physical brewery, but because of his creativity with producing flavorful and innovative beer styles, many breweries throughout the world collaborate with him to produce artisanal beers that have real flavor and character. The combination of this dark flavorful malty beer with browned meat and slow cooked caramelized onions had the whole camera crew salivating during taping – here’s the video:
The next dish was a New Orlean’s favorite: BBQ Shrimp. BTW, there is NO BBQ Sauce in BBQ Shrimp, the name is misleading – essentially it means shrimp soaking in butter – two whole sticks for 1 pound of shrimp! In this case, I actually wanted a more neutral lighter style of craft beer and since I found Starr Hill Festie on sale at Whole Foods on P St., in DC, that was the perfect beer. Essentially, you brown onions add 2 sticks of unsalted butter, a little garlic, then spices, salt and pepper (I always adjust recipes with my own spices I mix together after purchasing from Penzey’s Spices) and finally some crab boil (again, I was more creative with some Miso and Asian Shrimp Paste combined), beef stock, lemon and of course beer. You pour this sauce over the shrimp in a casserole and broil for about 15 minutes..let sit, eat shrimp and soak up Italian bread with the butter goodness!
Finally, I’m normally too lazy to bake a dessert, so I went for an old favorite – a Beer Float. I learned about this after reading and trying a Guinness Stout with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – the contrast of rich malty beer and vanilla sweet ice cream is just ecstasy to the senses! I used in this case Alexandria, VA’s Port City Porter and one scoop of Dolci Gelati’s Creme Brulee – the combination of rich caramelly roasted malty beer and the cool gelato is such a delicious contrast, you have to try this!
It was a really enjoyable taping, and of course, I got a chance to talk about MAC Brew Fest and to treat craft beer as a gourmet product fitting for both cooking in recipes and serving with the final dish – see you all in DC on Saturday, October 15th, 2011 at MAC Brew Fest – Cheers!