I’m writing this while hungry. That seems like a bad idea.
Construction is progressing on the brewery. Yet again I’ll be giving you all a break from that, though I’ll be including unrelated pictures of our handiwork as we go.
This week? Let’s talk about food.
As I’ve said before, many of us came out of the local homebrewing scene. I actually brewed this past week! Just a Strong Scottish Ale extract kit from Niagara Tradition, but it was good for breaking my dry spell (I’m not the CBW brewer — that’s Rudy — and I’ve been subsisting off of pale ale test bottles for quite some time). This Saturday is the Niagara Association of Homebrewers’ annual holiday party. Yes, in February. Everyone brings a dish to pass, and the theme was given as “Â Good ol’ fashioned southern cookin’ Â New Orleans, Louisiana, Kentucky, etc.Â Bonus for sneaking some beer, wine, cider orÂ bourbonÂ in there.”
Hmm. “Bourbon,” I thought. And then: “Bourbon barrel aged porter.” Because a homebrewer and brewery owner really should be using beer, right? (In the past I made a great peach cobbler with a peche). My mind naturally wandered to thoughts of pecan pie, and thus a Google search was born. I’m sure I could adapt an existing pecan pie recipe to use some porter, but I’ll be honest and admit I don’t really know enough to be able to judge how the extra liquid will affect things and thus preferred to find an existing recipe.
There was only one result I could find, from the Out of Key Brewing blog: Bourbon Barrel Porter Pecan Walnut Pie. I may skip the walnuts; we’ll see. Yes, it would have made sense to have made this before my post so I could tell you how it went, wouldn’t it? Alas, that required more forethought than I was capable of this week. (Fun fact: it appears the author of that blog, Brian Keyes, is also opening a nanobrewery!)
Another source of recipes: spent grain from all grain homebrewing batches. When you brew at a five gallon scale you generally have more than 10 (dry) pounds of grain in one batch. You can compost it (as we’ll be doing with our spent grain, donated to the Massachusetts Avenue Project), toss it out or, as many people do, use it in recipes. It’s not the most flavorful stuff: that’s gone into the beer! But there are still uses for the grain. In the past I’ve made dog biscuits with my grain, but you can use it in people food as well. And hey, it’s not like grain, eggs, peanut butter and flour couldn’t be people food if you wanted.
As though by kismet, this afternoon I saw on the GeekMom blog a recipe for a sweet bread using spent grain. The author’s recipe worked well with the grains from a chocolate stout and so maybe an IPA wouldn’t turn out as well. I’m sure there are others that would be suitable for hoppier beers: a quick Google shows that many recipes exist.
Cooking with beer is very much a thing. I’ve done it in the past, as have many of you, I’m sure. Are there any recipes you’ve found to be especially good? I’ve done the librarianly thing and have started a list of beer and spent grain recipes. Post links here, or on Facebook if you must, and I’ll add them to the list. (Hint: you can keep adding tags to refine further: only desserts, for instance.) Right now it’s just the three I’ve linked in this post, but surely you can add more!
Emfood Buffalo! (actually, Enfood seems to work better, don’t you think?)