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Porter Caramelized Onion and Brie Dip

Porter Caramelized Onion and Brie Dip

Porter Caramelized Onion and Brie Dip1

I have what people now refer to as a "creative brain" and what used to just be called "a behavior problem." It’s done well over the years to lead me down some fascinating rabbit holes and land me in a job that makes me more grateful than I have words for. But there is a downside that’s a bit obscure.

Creative brains weave creative dreams. Actual, at night, in bed, dreams that shake me up and stay with me through the day, and sometimes even years later. The other night I woke up in a cold sweat, terrified after my brain decided to concoct this story in the early morning hours:

I’m in Pakistan as a documentary film maker. I’m following a group of men and women who—during the week—have typical jobs, work in offices, go home to their families. But on the weekend they leave the comforts of home to fight as a small militia to bring down ISIS. I’ve decided to call the film Weekend Warriors.

The first week of filming I meet an old man, short and wide, with white eyebrows and chocolate brown eyes that remind me of my Mom’s golden retriever. He’s sweet, quiet and always wears the same tan buttoned down shirt. He’s asking me to help him find his 22-year-old daughter. She’s been captured by ISIS and is being used to smuggle documents back into the country.

They’ve sewn a plastic bag full of papers into her belly like a drug mule. "If they find her first, they will cut her open like cattle, take the papers and leave her for dead. You must find her first." My pulse starts to race, I know I need to help. I call in favors, talk to contacts, chase down tips. It all leads me to a large apartment complex at 1 am.

The corridors are silent and dimly lit. I can hear only my foot steps on the pavement as I walk past rows of doors looking for the person said to know where the girl is. Thin, bony arms garb me from behind, One hand on my mouth, another arm around my throat, I’m pulled backward into a dark apartment.

"Shut up," an older woman is in my face, hot breath pushing out a raspy whisper, "He. Will. Kill. You." She spins me around and pushes my face towards the now closed door. I can see through the peep-hole, her hand is still aggressively covering my mouth.

I see her! The daughter I’ve been looking for is walking around the complex moving closer to the apartment I’m in. I try to wriggle free to explain my excitement to my captor, her grip tightens. Behind her is a shadow moving closer, a man moving steadily towards.

He’s so silent she doesn’t know. As his face moves into the yellow light of a nearby street lamp I see that it’s her father. As I start to relax from the relief, my captor tenses. He reaches for her, still moving quickly, his outstretched hand grabs the back of her hair right at the scalp. I’m confused for a second, what is he doing? She lets out a small, sharp yelp of pain as he pulls her head closer to his face. She’s a few inches taller than he is, her knees bend to accommodate and she struggles to stay upright.

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"Who owns this world?" He breathes into her ear as he puts a gun to her temple. "I DO! I own this world!" He pulls the trigger and I watch her crumple at his feet. I collapse behind the closed door.

I wake up terrified. What the hell, brain? Where did that come from? Can’t I just have those flying dreams I hear about? or even the ones where I go back to high school naked? I’d like to say dreams like this are a one-off, but this is pretty standard.

I remember my dreams every morning and more often than not they’re obscure, but not always as terrifying. I’d like to say that I dream about beer and food, but that’s just when I’m awake.

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Porter Caramelized Onion and Brie Dip


  • 1 large sweet onion Maui, Walla Walla Sweet, or Vidalias
  • 1 tbs 28g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs 12g olive oil
  • 2 tsp 6g packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup 113g porter or stout beer, divided
  • 1 tsp 2g minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp 1g chopped fresh chives
  • 8 wt oz 227g double cream brie, room temperature
  • 8 wt oz 227g mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tbs 8g cornstarch
  • Baguette for serving


  • Thinly slice the onion and add to a pot over medium heat with the butter, olive oil, and brown sugar. Cook until the onions start to soften, then add ¼ cup beer.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally over medium heat until onions have turned dark brown and the beer has evaporated, about 45 minutes. Add the additional beer and cook until the pan is mostly dry with only about a tablespoon of liquid left (can be made 2 days in advance, store in the fridge in an air tight container).
  • Trim the rind off the brie, cut into small cubes. In a small bowl stir together the thyme, chives, brie, mascarpone and cornstarch.
  • Add the onions in an even layer to the bottom of an oven safe baking dish, top with cheese in an even layer.
  • Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly, stir to combine. Serve warm with baguette slices.


This dip can be a bit oily, don't be concerned. Think of this like the oil served alongside bread at an Italian restaurant, it's part of the flavor of the dip.


Southwest Beer Cheese Dip + The Definitive Beer to Pair with The Super Bowl

Southwest Beer Cheese Dip

Southwest Beer Cheese Dip4

We talk a lot of pairing beer and food. About the sensory experiences of flavors, textures, and ingredients that compliment each other. We’ve known since the accidental and unfortunate childhood pairing of toothpaste and orange juice that some flavors are a combative train wreck once they comingle in our mouth.  We know that espresso and chocolate cake are magical in partnership, and that greasy cheese pizza is made that much better with a highly carbonated pale ale.

What we don’t talk enough about is pairing beer and experiences. Because if you and I are in a deep fireside chat, late in the evening, warming our bones near the fire of a ski lodge, I’d want to share a barrel aged beer with you, the boozier the better. But if we’re hiking through the woods on a hot August afternoon, tank tops sticking to our backs and dust from the trials clinging to our legs, a crisp Kolsch would be awesome (but the boozy bourbony beer would not).

We are right around the corner from a shared experience that most of us will take part in one way or another. Football lover, casual fan, or just along for the commercials and the food table, you’ll likely find yourself in a room with sports fans screaming at the TV on Super Bowl Sunday. I have just the beer for you, sports fan, wagering enthusiast or just-there-for-lack-of-anything-better-to-do guy.

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This is a day filled with intense emotions, highs, and lows, and the beer should match. You’ll also need to take into consideration the food as to avoid the aforementioned combative train wreck possibility. Food at these gatherings tends to be intense as well: hot wings, buffalo beer cheese dip, jalapeno nachos; that sort of primitive bar food that you love more than you’d probably ever admit to. Another consideration: time. You’ll be drinking all day, several hours and several beers, and when you’re done it won’t even be night yet.

In summation, these are the considerations when pairing The Super Bowl with a beer: intense flavor, pairs well with spicy and greasy food, can be consumed for long hours. The conclusion we come to is a session IPA. (Quick Beer 101 lesson: “session” means lower ABV, usually 5% or lower). You’ll get the intense flavor to match both the food and the emotions, you’ll get the nice carbonation for the greasy cheese and meat, and since the ABV is lower you’ll avoid becoming a cautionary tale.

Here are some Session IPA’s that will pair well with the Super Bowl. These are a few that I’m personally excited about, let me know what your favorite is.

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Southwest Beer Cheese Dip

Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 8 wt oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups 226g cheddar cheese, grated (packed)
  • 1 cup 113g mozzarella (packed)
  • ¾ cup 170g IPA beer
  • 1 tbs 8g cornstarch
  • ½ tsp 2g smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp 2g garlic powder
  • ½ tsp 3g salt
  • ½ tsp 2g pepper
  • 1 cup 172g cooked black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup 135 corn kernels
  • 1 cup 140g diced bell pepper
  • 1 small jalapeno diced (seeds and internal membrane removed for lower heat)
  • 1 avocado diced
  • ¼ cup 28g cilantro, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Add the cream cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, beer, cornstarch, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Add to a large oven safe bowl, stir in the black beans, corn, bell pepper, and jalapeno.
  • Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until warmed through.
  • Remove from oven, top with avocado and cilantro, serve warm.

Bacon Beer Cheese Stromboli + Our Real Issue with Buyouts

Bacon Beer Cheese Stromboli, just 30 minutes to make the best football food ever. 

Bacon Beer Cheese Stromboli1

I’m sitting in my kitchen on a phone interview with a reporter from Bloomberg answering questions about the buyouts. You know the ones, the ABI, Miller-Coors, Constellation, Big Bad Macro Beer comin' in and buying up OUR beer. The ones that ignite twitter with angry, witty, outraged messages that amount to a digital foot stomping tantrum.

I’m trying to put my finger on what it is, why this sets off a shockwave of indignation. Because the truth is, other than the normal issues that come with scaling up a recipe (which happens with or without buyouts), the recipes don’t change. The beer is, as far as our experience with the bottles that come across our bottle shops, the same as it always was. Even if we had an absolute guarantee that the beer would never, ever, ever change, we would still take issue with the buyouts.

But it threatens the smaller beer brands! Maybe, but what if it didn’t? What if it actually increased demand for the small guys, we’d still take issue with it. So that isn’t it either.

What is it? We are afraid beer will lose its soul. We drink craft beer for the flavor but we are in love with it for the people. For the soul of it. I saw the same thing when I ran around LA with rock stars. I was very well acquainted with the analog recording console from Sound City music studio, the one Dave Grohl was so attached to that he not only bought this machine that recorded music onto dat tapes he made a documentary about it and recorded an album on it. Could you tell by listening to it that it sounded different? Probably not. Maybe that wasn’t the point. As the music world shifted from analog to digital, there were holdouts that feared music would lose its soul. That was what we felt when the mixing boards were replaced with lap tops, auto tune and pro tools. Of course older music sounds different, but not because of the tapes. But because Led Zeppelin decided to record it all in one take, errors and all, in a grain silo. The issues was never really the sound, which is arguably better with digital methods. We were all afraid music would lose its soul. Arguments can be made for or against that actually being the case, but the reality is that more people are able to make music. Due in part to the digital revolution A&R guys no longer hold the keys to the kingdom and more small independent musicians can make a living off their art, sans recording contract.

Beer is in the same metamorphosis. We can’t stop buyouts any more than the drummer from Nirvana could stop music from being recorded digitally and we are scared of what that will mean. We are afraid the people will be removed in favor of shiny new machines and the heart and guts of the industry we love will change. The photos of bearded men in old brewery shirts mashing in, picking hops, cleaning fermenters, will be replaced by an industrial process that takes no more than a switch flip to initiate. We don’t want a brightly lit cafeteria of a taproom. We want a brewery that’s a little bit dingy, with miss matched brew kettles and slightly dented bay doors. We don’t want uniforms and sterility and soulless masses. That’s the real fear.

So what now? As craft beer lovers and consumers we don’t get to make the decisions about the who has what stake and how much in our favorite breweries. We aren’t the ones trying to make ends meet with a high grain bill and a low profit margin. We aren’t the ones with a billion dollar check in our faces. The truth is that we can’t stop it, the buyouts will continue, more in 2016 than ever before and it will become increasing more accepted, thats how these things always go. What can we do? We are the soul. We can keep that. We can make it known that even with the paperwork shuffle and the distribution deals and the administrative headaches that go one outside our reach, we want our beer to stay our beer. This is what we are attached to, and we can make it known that we have our eye on you, newly acquired brewery, do well by us. We brought you here, and we don’t want to walk away now.

This is not a defense of buyouts in any way. It’s just to say that our issues with big beer buying craft beer isn’t as much about small breweries as we’d like to think. Even if we had a guarantee that it’s actually GOOD for small beer, we’d still hate it. We’d hate it because we don’t want corporate beer. Sterile, emotionless beer. We want the community that we’ve build and we don’t want that taken away from us. We want to be punk rock, not boy bands. That’s also how we will survive this. Big beer has distribution and dollars, but that can’t replace the community and the soul we’ve built. That’s ours, that won’t change.

Bacon Beer Cheese Stromboli3

Bacon Beer Cheese Stromboli

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 8 wt oz cream cheese
  • 1 ½ cups 168g mozzarella
  • ½ cup 56g parmesan
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • ½ cup 115g pale ale
  • ½ tsp 2g garlic powder
  • 1 tsp 3g salt
  • 1 lbs pizza dough raw
  • 10 strips 155g bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 tbs melted butter


  • Add the cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, cornstarch, beer, garlic powder, and salt to a blender, blend until smooth.
  • Roll the pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a rectangle.
  • Place dough onto a sheet of parchment paper about the size of a baking sheet.
  • Add the beer cheese to the center of the dough, sprinkle with chopped bacon, reserving about 2 tablespoons of bacon.
  • Fold both long sides in towards the center to form a tight log, fold the short side over about two inches towards the center.
  • Roll the log over so the seam sides are down, transfer the parchment paper onto a baking sheet.
  • Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with remaining bacon.
  • Bake at 425 for 14-18 minutes or until golden brown.

For homemade pizza dough, try this pale ale pizza dough recipe.

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Porter Caramelized Onion, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Bites + Best Beer Trends of 2015

Porter Caramelized Onion, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Bites

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 Best Beer Trends of 2015

  1. Grapefruit: Grapefruit became the new bacon in 2015 making its way into nearly all styles of beer from IPA’s to sours. The tart-sour-slightly-sweet ingredient pairs perfectly with hops making it no surprise that brewers became fascinated with the citrusy addition. I expect this to continue into 2016 but probably not to the fervor that we felt in 2015.
  2. Randalls: Imagine a clear cylinder that sits between the keg and the tap on the draft lines. Now imagine it’s filled with something, it could be chai tea, or fresh hops, or chilies, or even Sour Patch Kids candy. Now imagine your beer passes through the cylinder of tasty ingredients before it gets poured into your glass, infusing the brew with a new and exciting flavor. This is a Randall. It’s becoming more and more common to see one, two or even three of these in use in hard core tap rooms and beer bars. If you see a beer on Randall, order it. It’s always fun to see what combinations talented beer pairing pros come up with. In Seattle Fremont Brewing and Reuben’s Brews have fantastic Randalls. I expect this trend not only to continue into 2016 but to grow even more mainstream.
  3. Glassware: Even on my journey to South America I saw proper glassware being used in beer bars serious about what they are serving. With the emergence of the Teku glass (regarded by some to be the best beer glass on the market) people who respect their beer are putting aside the horrid use of mason jars in favor of glassware that showcase the beer their brewers have devoted so much time and effort to creating. If beer wishes to compete in the same space with wine, this is a non-negotiable. Wine bars don’t serve merlot in a champagne flute let alone a coffee mug, good beer shouldn’t be served in a device intended to store Grandma’s jam. Beer is important and should be served in a way that respects it. I pray to baby Jesus this trends growth is exponential  in 2016.
  4. Balanced sours: Sours are the cool kid at the craft beer table right now. Several breweries just brew sours, spending all their yeast wrangling powers focused on wild fermentation. This is even more difficult than it sounds and often the end result isn’t what the original intent was. Brewers are incredibly talented and the past year has given us sours that are  the best the world has ever seen. The 2015 sours have richer more balanced flavors without sacrificing the funk we love. I expect this to continue into 2016 but, as things always go, the pendulum will swing and a new beer style will be the new cool kid soon enough.
  5. Fresh hop: Fresh hop is in no way new. Hop harvest comes once a year giving brewers that live within driving distance of a brewery one shot to brew a beer made with fresh-from-the-bine hops (hops are typically dried for storage and used to brew the rest of the year as dried hops or hop pellets). This past year saw a huge rise in the use of fresh hops in more than just IPA’s, and breweries that live outside the Hop Harvest Bubble spent countless dollars overnight shipping hops to their southern state breweries. This is one of my favorite beer seasons of the entire year, and I hope that it grows even more common in 2016.

Porter Caramelized Onion, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Bites1

Porter Caramelized Onion, Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Bites

Servings 48 bites


  • 1.5 lbs 2 large or three small sweet onions (Maui, Walla Walla Sweet, or Vidalias)
  • 2 tbs 28g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs 12g olive oil
  • 1 tbs 12g packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup 226g porter or stout beer
  • 2 sheet Puff pastry thawed
  • 24 cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • 6 basil leaves thinly chiffonade
  • fresh cracked black pepper


  • Thinly slice the onions.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat add the onions, butter, olive oil and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until dark golden brown. This will take about 45 minutes. Keep the heat low to medium to prevent the onions from burning.
  • Add the beer allow to simmer, stiring occasionally, until the beer is mostly gone, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Can be made three days in advance, store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Preheat the oven to 400.
  • One at a time roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface.
  • Using a two-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 48 circles (if you don’t have a 2 inch biscuit cutter, try a metal measuring cup or a small glass with a thin edge).
  • Press the circles into the wells of a mini-muffin tin, poke a fork into the bottom of each.
  • Fill with a small amount of caramelized onions, top with one half a grape tomato, sprinkle with goat cheese.**
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Add to a serving platter, sprinkle with basil and black pepper.


**To make these ahead, complete every step until baking. Cover the unbaked mini muffin tins and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Bake just prior to serving. (can be made two days in advance)

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Sriracha Beer Mac N Cheese (15-minutes Stove Top)

Sriracha Beer Mac N Cheese (15-minutes Stove Top)

Sriracha Beer Mac N Cheese 2

These photos were taken at the beginning of a power outage that lasted two days.

Luckily, the light from my window was filtering through breaking storm clouds in an eerie but beautiful way that made it possible to shoot the macaroni I’d finish making by candlelight. It also tastes fantastic in the dark, although the gorgeous slightly pink hue of the Sriracha cheese sauce is lost in the low light, it didn’t matter.

I spend the night trying, and repeatedly failing, to keep the fireplace going and the candles lit. Instinctively trying to flip light switches when I’d enter a room. Reminding myself that I no longer have a gas stove, it’s electric, so cooking is not an option. Realizing that I’m much more dependent on the comforts of electricity that I’d like to admit.

Sriracha Beer Mac N Cheese 3

It gave me a profound appreciation for things I take for granted, the things we refer to as "little things" are only little when you have them, they turn into a giant beast that has your comfort and convince in a stranglehold when you don’t have them. You realize they are so huge they consume your life and hobble your ability to function in the way you’re accustomed to.

So today, as the lights flickered back on, I’m thankful. I’m grateful for warmth, electricity, and the ability to cook again. Tonight I’ll raise a pint to the fact that I almost never have to go without, and in the grand scheme of the world today that makes me fortunate.

Sriracha Beer Mac N Cheese 5

Sriracha Beer Mac N Cheese

Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 lbs elbow macaroni
  • 2 tbs 30g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbs 24g flour
  • 2 tbs 12g cornstarch
  • 2 cup 480mL whole milk
  • 1 cup 240g IPA or Pale Ale
  • 1.5 lbs 681g white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ tsp 3g salt
  • ½ tsp 2g garlic powder
  • 2 tbs 64g Sriracha red chili sauce


  • Cook the macaroni in lightly salted boiling water until just before al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, set aside.
  • In a large pot over medium high heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch until well combined. Add the milk and beer, bring to a low simmer, do not boil.
  • A hand full at a time add the cheese, whisking until all the cheese has melted before adding more.
  • Sitr in the salt, garlic powder and Sriracha (add additional to taste).
  • Add the noodles, stir until well combined, allow the noodles to finish cooking in the sauce, about 3 minutes.
  • Serve warm.


If the sauce breaks, use an immersion blender to bring it back to life.


Stout Braised Pork and Black Bean Empanadas and a Craft Beer Adventure in South America

Stout Braised Pork and Black Bean Empanadas

Stout Braised Pork and Black Bean Empanadas 6

The first thing you notice about the owners of Bogota Beer Company is how much they care. About each other, about the people who work for them, about the brand and every detail of it. It conveys so strong, the minute they picked me up from an airport in Panama, I could feel it instantly. The entire reason they’d flown me thousands of miles was because of how much they care. The menu they had in the 27 pubs spread over 2 countries was good, but they wanted it to be great. They wanted me to revamp it, add some beer, make it exciting.

Colombia Panama

The week was peppered with new experiences every day. A fish market in Panama, foods and flavors that were new to me, gorgeous dinners, late nights walks around a rain slicked city, a private coffee class in the hills of Bogota, Colombia. All the while I was reworking an already decent menu. A menu that, to be honest, was better than most American pubs. We made it exciting. We added a burger with a bacon jam made with their porter, doughnuts served with sauces infused with their beer, fried chicken made the way American Southern women make it, and a pizza menu that feels as artisan as their beer.

Colombia Panama2

I’m proud of what we did. Proud to work with a company that is paving the way for great craft beer in countries that are brand new to even the idea of a beer that isn’t a pale lager. The beer is fantastic, and the company is even better. If you’re in Bogota, Colombia, stop in the BBC for a pint and sample the menu I helped create. Or stop by one of the micro-pubs they’re dotted across the country in renovated shipping containers. If you visit Panama City, stop by La Rana Dorada. Stop by and have a pint, have some food, and make some friends. They are the best people you can hope to come across while traveling.

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Stout Braised Pork and Black Bean Empanadas

Servings 12 empanadas



  • 3 cups 350g Masa Harina (corn flour)
  • 1 cup 120g all purpose flour
  • 2 cup 450g warm water
  • 2 tbs 32g oil


  • 1 tbs oil
  • ½ large 160g white onion, chopped
  • 12 wt oz 340g Ground pork
  • 1 cup 226g stout
  • 2 tbs 32g Tomato puree
  • 15 oz 425g Black beans
  • ¼ tsp 0.6g smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp 1.5g garlic powder
  • ½ tsp 3g salt
  • 1 tsp 1g black pepper
  • Oil for frying


  • Add the masa, flour, water, and oil to a bowl, stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too wet, add additional flour. The consistency should be similar to Play-Doh. Cover the bowl and allow to rest while you prepare the filling.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the onions until slightly caramelized, about ten minutes. Add the pork, cooking until browned, breaking up into small pieces.
  • Add the stout and allow to cook until the beer is almost completely gone.
  • Add the tomato puree, black beans, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper, cook until well combined. Remove from heat.
  • Form dough into balls about the size of golf balls.
  • One at a time place between two sheets of parchment paper (parchment works better than plastic wrap, the dough removes more easily) and using either a tortilla press or a rolling pin, press/roll into 6 inch circles.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center. Using the parchment, fold over the dough to form a crescent shape. Peel back the parchment and press the dough to seal the edges. Repeat for all dough balls.
  • Heat the oil (canola or peanut oil), in a large pot over medium high heat. Using a cooking thermometer adjust heat to maintain 350F degrees.
  • A few at a time, fry the empanadas until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Allow to drain on a stack of paper towels.


Masa Harina is sold in most major markets, look for it in the Hispanic food section.
To make ahead of time: After frying allow to cool. Place on a plate and loosely cover, chill for up to three days. Once ready to serve, drizzle with oil and bake at 425 for 12 minutes.

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Crispy Honey Porter Sticky Chicken Wings

Crispy Honey Porter Sticky Chicken Wings

Crispy Honey Porter Sticky Baked Chicken Wings 3

This was version 6 of this recipe.

Usually, it doesn’t take me that long to get a recipe right. More often than not, I get it on the first try, maybe a few small tweeks, but this one took some trail and a lot of error.

None of the versions were bad, they just weren’t what I was looking for. Like that guy you dated a few years ago that just wasn’t a fit. Although I’m sure your issue with him had nothing to do with how crispy his skin is, or how thickly glazed he was. Although, I don’t know your life.

I had a very specific vision. I wanted wings that are baked-not-fried, skin so crispy it could hold up to glaze without getting soggy, I wanted a thick glaze that was sticky and sweet, and although I’m Ok with a few steps, I didn’t want it to be a huge pain in the ass. I’ve told you that I’d found the secret to crispy skinned baked chicken wings that are even better and crispier than fried (these crispy chicken wings) so I used that as a base. I brined them in beer, which made a remarkable difference in the fall-off-the-bone texture, and I finally got the glaze right.

This will officially be my go-to chicken wings recipe for this football season. Although I’m sure it won’t be long until I make a spicy version. I tend to do that.

Crispy Honey Porter Sticky Baked Chicken Wings 1

Crispy Honey Porter Sticky Chicken Wings

Servings 6 servings


  • 2.5 lbs chicken party wings
  • 1 tbs 4g salt
  • 12 wt oz 355 ml beer (wheat, brown ale or pilsner)
  • 2 tbs 16g baking powder
  • 1 cup 226g porter or stout beer
  • ½ cup 170g honey
  • 2 clove 8g garlic, grated with a microplane
  • 3 tbs 46g soy sauce
  • 1 tsp 2g black pepper
  • ½ tsp 1g smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp 8g chili powder
  • 2 tbs 16g cornstarch
  • Chopped cilantro optional


  • Add the wings to a shallow bowl or baking dish, sprinkle with salt. Pour beer over the wings, cover and refrigerate for one hour and up to over night.
  • Preheat oven to 250.
  • Remove from the beer, rinse and pat dry, making sure wings are as dry as possible. .
  • Add the wings to a large bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, toss to coat.
  • Place a wire rack over a baking sheet, brush with oil or spray with cooking spray.
  • Place the wings on the wire rack.
  • Bake in the lower section of the oven for 30 minutes. Move to the upper 1/3 of the oven, increase oven temperature to 425. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While the wings bake, make the glaze.
  • Add the porter, honey, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder and cornstarch in a pot over high heat. Boil, stirring frequently until thickened, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  • Add the wings to a bowl, pour the glaze over the wings, toss to coat.
  • Serve warm.

Crispy Honey Porter Sticky Baked Chicken Wings 2

Slow Cooker Honey Chili Pulled Beer Chicken Sliders

Slow Cooker Honey Chili Pulled Beer Chicken Sliders

Slow Cooker Honey Chili Pulled Beer Chicken Sliders-2

This is a sign.

It’s fall. I realize that the calendar technically disagrees with me, but the calendar is wrong. Often. Calendars will frequently tell you that the week starts on Sunday, and that Summer starts the end of June. But according to our guts, the week begins on Monday, and Summer starts the first time it gets over 80 degrees in May. Fall, along these lines, starts with September and football season.

This slider is sign that we really don’t care what the calendar tells us, it’s fall. Sigh for a second, leave your sandals out for one more week, but summer is behind us. Let’s look at the good side of this, not the silver lining. Silver linings imply that there is only a thin layer of good on an entire crap cloud. This isn’t the case, fall is an incredible season. Pomegranates are back in season, football is back on, football food is back in consumption range, you can again wear boots and scarves without getting the side-eye from some Lululemon chick at Starbucks, and you can make sliders in your slow cooker.

Stouts are also back in season. Fall kicks off the releases of my favorite beer, the dark and roasty beast that I wait all year for. Even though I’ll still drink them in August, wearing boots and a scarf, no matter who side-eyes me.

Slow Cooker Honey Chili Pulled Beer Chicken Sliders-4

Slow Cooker Honey Chili Pulled Beer Chicken Sliders

Servings 6 servings


  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp red chili sauce
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs boneless, skinless
  • ¾ cup beer porter, stout, brown ale, or wheat beer
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 12 slider buns


  • In a small bowl stir together the honey, vinegar, red chili sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.
  • Add the chicken to a slow cooker, pour the mixture over the chicken.
  • Pour the beer into the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3 hours. Remove the chicken, shread with two forks, set aside.
  • Add the sauce and cornstarch to a pot over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Boil, stirring frequently until thickened, about 8 minutes.
  • Add the chicken to the sauce, stir to coat (you can add to a slow cooker on a warm setting until ready to serve, if needed).
  • Add to slider buns before serving.

I use this slow cooker (affiliate link).

Slow Cooker Honey Chili Pulled Beer Chicken Sliders-5

Gochujang Beer Cheese Dip and Is Gochujang The New Sriracha?

Gochujang Beer Cheese Dip and Is Gochujang The New Sriracha?

Gochujang Beer Cheese Dip -5

There are similarities, I’ll be honest.

Spicy red sauces, with fermented ingredients, originally from the Far East. Americans "discovered" these sauces, that have been around for generations in other countries, and decide they are the hot "new" thing. Clearly, Sriracha and Gochujang have a lot in common. Although the latter doesn’t have its own documentary and two best-selling cookbooks, but there’s still time.

So what is Gochujang? It’s a spicy, slightly sweet sauce with a nice acidic backbone. It’s also so popular that it’s now found at Target. It’s a way to branch out, to try something new, to expand the pantry of flavors that you go to when you want to add some heat, or some big flavors. It’s best added to something else – it’s pretty intense on it’s own – not unlike Sriracha, a little goes a long way. It’s a great way to add some spice to your favorite homemade BBQ sauce, or transform a standard chicken recipe. It’s absolutely a sauce you should seek out and figure out how to use. But until Rogue Ales makes a beer with it, it’ll always take second place to the Rooster Sauce.

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Gochujang Beer Cheese Dip and Is Gochujang The New Sriracha?

Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 16 wt oz cream cheese
  • 6 wt oz shredded mozzarella about 1 ¾ cups
  • 3.5 wt oz shredded white cheddar about 1 cup
  • ¼ cup Gochujang Korean hot sauce*
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup IPA or Pale Ale Beer


  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, process until smooth.
  • Add to an oven safe dish.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until warmed through.


-Dip can be made a day or two ahead, the flavors continue to deepen as the dip chills. Refrigerate until ready to serve, bake just prior to serving.
-Look for Gochujang in the Asian section of your local market, or buy online.
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Sugar Beer Doughnut Holes

Sugar Beer Doughnut Holes

Sugar Beer Doughnut Holes-1

This is my go-to.

It’s been my summer backyard party staple. It’s what I’ve been making for months when I get the invite to "come over, we’re making food, just bring whatever." It’s all the things I look for in bring-to-a-party food.

It transports well, it sits at room temperature for a long time without concern, and it’s impressive. I know that last part makes me a bit of an over-foodie asshole, but I can’t change now.

If you’ve never made doughnuts, it’s really pretty simple, and there is only one major concern: temperature. Twice, you have to concern yourself with temperate in order for these to turn out perfect, but other than that, it’s pretty simple.

Sugar Beer Doughnut Holes-4

First is yeast temperate. For rapid rise yeast, the liquid (in this case beer) needs to be between 120F and 130F, too low and it won’t get a good rise, too high and you’ll kill the yeast. If you aren’t sure what temperate to use, always (always) use the temperate listed on the package of yeast, not the temperate listed in the recipe. Always.

Second, you’ll have to worry about the deep fry oil. I own a small deep fryer, because of course I own a deep fryer, and it maintains the temperate all on its own. But before I did, I just used the Dutch oven filled with a few inches of canola oil.

Clip a deep-fry thermometer onto the side, make sure the tip doesn’t touch the bottom (not even for a second, just to see how it feels), and adjust the oil temperate to keep it between 350F and 375F.

Those are the big battles, and really, it’s not that bad. And at the end of it all, you get to show up with 36 homemade doughnut holes, and that’s worth all that temperate worry. You deserve a beer.

Sugar Beer Doughnut Holes-2


Sugar Beer Doughnut Holes

Servings 36 doughnut holes


  • 3 cups 360g all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 1 cup, granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast 2 ¼ tsp
  • ¾ cup wheat beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large egg yolk room temperature
  • ¼ cup heavy cream room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil for frying


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the flour, ¼ cup sugar and yeast.
  • Add the beer to a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperate and repeat until beer reaches between 120 and 130 degrees F.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer, mix until most of the flour has been moistened.
  • Add the vanilla then the yolks, one at a time. Add the cream and salt.
  • Building up speed, beat on high until the dough comes together and gathers around the blade.
  • The dough will be very soft.
  • Add dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough and knead lightly to remove any air bubbles. Place dough in the fridge and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1-inch thickness. Cut doughnuts into circles using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter.
  • Place doughnuts on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Loosly cover with a towel.
  • Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Fill a large heavy bottomed saucepan with canola oil until about 4 inches deep. Add a deep fry thermometer and bring oil to about 360 degrees, adjusting heat to maintain temperature.
  • Working in batches, fry the doughnuts on each side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from oil and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Place remaining 1 cup sugar in a small bowl. One at a time roll the cooled doughnuts in the sugar, add to a serving tray. Serve immediately.


Sriracha Honey Beer Brussels Sprouts

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Beer Is For Everyone: A Party Theme

Summer is rapidly hurling towards Fall, and your barefoot in the backyard days are numbered, it’s time to actually host a party instead of just saying, "we should" until the moment passes. It’s that moment. The one that you usually let get away from you, and then wonder why.

Here’s how you do it, step by step:

1. Invite people. This is the first step because it forces you to take the rest, you’re locked in. Plus it only takes a second (unless you’re like me and you prefer to hand-make invites. Which would make you a crazy person, and you’re not. Be grateful.) Choose a mix of people, and don’t let the "doesn’t drink beer" designation deter you from inviting anyone. They will like something, and it will surprise them.

2. Beer selection. You want a huge variety of beer, not just the beer you like. Go to a large bottle shop, the bigger the better, the selection will be the best and the knowledge of the sales people will likely be the most broad. Hit several major categories, and a few out of the box beers, like this: a wet hopped IPA, a double IPA, a balanced pale ale, a cream ale, a saison, a wheat beer, a brown ale, a porter, Belgian dubbel, sour beer, a fruit beer (like one brewed with peaches—perfect for summer), a spicy beer, a smoked beer and a craft cider. Sounds like a lot, but a bomber of each beer will give everyone a taste, just enough to know if they want more. Try to get 2 bombers (22 ounce, large bottle)of  beers per person. Err on the side of more, you can always keep what you don’t open.

3. Glassware. There are often things we do that are just to wallow in our own craft-beer-geek-infatuations, this isn’t one of them. Glassware makes a huge difference. Have you ever drank wine out of a coffee mug? That’s the difference between proper glassware and a shaker pint. For a beer tasting, get half pint glasses, perfect for sampling. I use these ones.

4. Food. It’s important. It’s a way to balance the flavors and explore pairings. More importantly, eating is essential when drinking as a way to stay on the controlled end of the drunk/sober spectrum. You want to serve a few things that pair well with a variety of beers and that can sit at room temperate for a while. A few to consider: Porter Caramelized Onion Flatbreads with Smoked Gouda and Roasted TomatoesGoat Cheese Crostini with Beer Pickled Jalapenos and MangosBeer Braised Pulled Pork Sliders with Chipotle Beer Cheese SauceGrilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot FlatbreadsBeer and Bacon Dip.

5. Judge away. Save all those judgmental thoughts that you want to pour inappropriately onto your Facebook friends and strangers at the market, for beer. It’s ok to judge beer, just reserve your feelings until after you’ve tasted it. Here are beer-judge rules for people new to beer: before tasting you can only state facts not opinions (it’s dark, it smells like fruit, it’s more carbonated that the other beers), once you’ve tasted it state three observations, decide if it makes you want more even if you don’t know why. Let your guests decide what they like best, and what they like least, even if they can’t explain why.

Now you’re ready to throw a craft beer party, and prove that beer really is for everyone.

Sriracha Honey Beer Brussels Sprouts -2

Sriracha Honey Beer Brussels Sprouts

Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 side dish portions


  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs sririacha
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lbs Brussels sprouts trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/3 cup wheat beer


  • In a small bowl stir together the honey, sriracha, salt, and pepper, set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet, add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Cook until just starting to brown.
  • Lower heat to medium low, drizzle with sriracha mixture, then pour the beer over. Simmer until sprouts are fork tender and beer has cooked off, about 8 minutes.

Sriracha Honey Beer Brussels Sprouts -4

Hot Beer Fried Chicken and Pepper Biscuits

Hot Beer Fried Chicken and Pepper Biscuits -2

It’s a hectic Wednesday morning and I’m trying to get it all straight in my head. I have emails to answer, deliverables to finishes, calls to make. It makes me want to shut down. I’m not organized, that side of this slightly insane job that I’ve chosen for myself makes me want to crawl under a pile of coats, shut my eyes and pretend like it doesn’t exist. So I do what I do when I’m stressed out, I bake. Fortunately for my skinny jeans, I’m not a stress eater, I’m just a stress baker. I just want to make it, the process calms me down. It’s a small win for me when other things in my life have weighted me down, this tips the boat back upright, even if just for a few minutes.

Chicken and biscuits do it every time. Nothing soothes like an emotional salve  the way the comfort food miracle cure of fried chicken does. Of course biscuits have been my go-to for years, just about 8 minutes and the smell of homemade biscuits starts to solve minor emotional problems. You can keep the lavender bath salts and the vanilla scented candles, I’ll take the smell of fried chicken, hot biscuits and a hoppy beer. Someone needs to make bath salts that smell like that. It’s way better than pumpkin spice.

Hot Beer Fried Chicken and Pepper Biscuits

Hot Beer Fried Chicken and Pepper Biscuits

Servings 8 biscuits


For the biscuits:

  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup wheat beer
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • ¼ tsp course sea salt

For the chicken

  • 1 cup pale ale
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbs hot pepper sauce I used Chipotle Tabasco
  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into 2 inch strips
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Honey optional


Make the biscuits:

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and sugar.
  • Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
  • Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
  • Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 1 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
  • Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter about to go into an envelope. Roll lightly, once in each direction to about 1 inch thickness, fold in thirds again. Gently roll into about 1 1/2 inch thickness (this will give you flakey layers).
  • Using a biscuit cutter cut out 6 to 8 biscuits. Place in a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Brush biscuits with melted butter, sprinkle salt.
  • Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Make the chicken:

  • Add the pale ale, milk and Tabasco to a bowl. Add the chicken, cover with plastic wrap, place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least one hour and up to over night.
  • Add 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil to a pot, clip a deep fry thermometer onto the side, heat oil to 375. Adjust heat to maintain that temperature.
  • In a medium sized bowl stir together the flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and salt.
  • One at a time remove the chicken from the marinade. Add to the flour bowl, tossing to coat, place it back into the milk bowl until covered with milk, then back into the flour bowl until well coated with flour.
  • Add chicken to a wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet. Repeat for the rest of the chicken pieces. Then add to the fryer. Fryer until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.Return to the wire rack (this will kip it cripsy on all sides, Placing on a paper towel will make the under side soggy. Place in a 175F oven for up to 2 hours to make ahead.)
  • Split the biscuits adding one chicken per biscuit, drizzle chicken with honey (if desired) before adding top biscuit. .

Hot Beer Fried Chicken and Pepper Biscuits -3

Grilled Chili Lime Beer Shrimp

Chili Lime Beer Shrimp -1

I was at a brewery in Southern California early last year and a brewer handed me a small cup of warm wort to sample from a batch he was in the middle of brewing. "What is it?" I asked. He shrugged.

"It was a bunch of leftover bits from bags and batches. I just decided to brew something with it. Maybe a Hoppy Brown Porter? or…an India Chocolate Ale..with… Never mind. I have no idea."

Unlike wine, which is often labeled for the grapes that produced it, beer is hard to name. Sure, there are certain designations that make it easy to classify some brews, but there is plenty of beer that doesn’t fit any category. This isn’t a problem as much as it’s an opportunity. It’s evidence that beer is evolving at a pace so rapid, categories have a hard time keeping up.

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In 1987 the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) had just 12 categories in which to award medals. In 2015, there was 92, many with subcategories. It’s a spectacular example of the evolution of beer.

For this recipe, I used a beer with a designation that’s only been recognized for the past handful of years: the Black IPA. Also called a Cascading Dark Ale or American Black Ale, it’s a hybrid of different styles. It has the looks of a porter with the spirit of an IPA. It has a bit of the roasty characters of a darker beer, but tastes light and hoppy like an IPA. Should you try it? Absolutely. Will you love it? Who knows, but at least you’ll have tried it. That’s part of the adventure of beer.

A few to try:

Bear Republic // Black Racer

Deschutes // Hop in the Dark

21st Amendment // Back in Black 

Southern Tier // Iniquity

Founders Inspired  // Artist Black IPA

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Grilled Chili Lime Beer Shrimp


  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp fresh garlic grated with a microplane
  • 2 tbs fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup beer black IPA, or hoppy red ale will work great
  • 1 lbs raw shrimp
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro


  • In small bowl add the cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, chili, garlic powder, honey, garlic, lime juice and beer.
  • Add the shrimp to a large re-sealable plastic bag, pour the marinade over the shrimp. Chill and allow to marinate for 1 hour and up to 24.
  • Preheat the grill to medium high.
  • Skewer the shrimp on metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers.
  • Grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, don’t over cook.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro.



No-Yeast 20-Minute Beer Flatbread

No Yeast 20-minute Beer Flatbread

No yeast 20-minute Beer Flat Bread

I was trapped in the back of a rug factory in Morocco when I realized how relative things are.

I was sitting on a stool made out of a block of wood, walls made of thick adobe all around me, the large wooden door had been slammed shut and locked with a steel bar. Mid-day sunlight fell through the window at the very top of the wall behind me. Two men threw rugs on the ground in front of me and my sister, yelling obscene prices at us in strong ascents. "Only seven thousand! This one, good deal, it’s only three thousand five hundred. This one, it’s for you, just six thousand!"

I’m in shock. It took me six months to save for the trip, there was no way I could afford a rug that cost about a third the retail value of my car. They stop the rapid rug toss to pressure me about buying one.

"Listen, I can’t afford this. I just started paying off my student loans, I have rent, car payment, I don’t have the money to spend seven grand on a rug. Plus shipping."

They laugh. "You’re saying you’re poor? You’re American! You are RICH," they pick up an empty leather pouf,  "You buy this, stuff it with dollar bills!"

I was as scared as I was offended. There were two men and a steel bar between me and freedom. "I’m not rich! Do you know how much rent is in the US? Groceries? Gas? I’m not rich,"

No yeast 20-minute Beer Flat Bread

They laugh even harder, "You have a place to live? Yes? With more than one room and a bathroom, too? You have a car? And you have a refrigerator full of food? You buy new clothes every month, and you have lots of shoes? Am I correct? Look at me," He pauses for dramatic effect, "Little girl, you are rich. Walk out that door, look around, and then you tell me you are not rich." He was right.

I was still scared but no longer offended. I realized how relative everything is, one person’s broke is another person’s rich. I ended the day in a beautiful restaurant, a thing only the richest people in the Medina of Fez, Morocco have ever done. There was chicken in a creamy red sauce, saffron rice, vegetables, small metal bowls of sauces, and soft, homemade bread. There was a beautiful comfort in warm homemade bread. This recipe only takes about 20 minutes, perfect for the next time you need a little gluten comfort.

No yeast 20-minute Beer Flat Bread

No Yeast 20-Minute Beer Flatbread

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 flatbreads


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt not non-fat
  • ¾ cup wheat beer room temperate


  • In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • Make a well in the center, add the oil, yogurt and beer.
  • Stir until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, knead for about 6 minutes.
  • Cut into 8 sections, form into balls. Cover and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Lightly oil a cast iron skillet, heat to medium high.
  • Press the balls into 6 inch disks.
  • Cook the disks in the skillet until lightly browned on each side and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Serve warm.


Beer Focaccia Bread

Beer Focaccia-1

Think for a second about how long we’ve been doing this.

How long people have stood in kitchens, mixed yeast with flour, warm liquid, sugar, salt. Watched it rise, smelled it as it baked. Even before anyone knew what yeast was, bakers had figured out how to use it. Centuries of bread baking and little has changed, this is proof of how perfect the process really is. How magical the end result, and accomplished we feel when it all comes together.

The first few times I tried making bread I failed. The bread didn’t fail, I did. I failed to respect the process. To understand that "rapid rise" yeast wasn’t the same as regular dry active yeast, that temperatures matter, that a rise might take two hours on a cold day instead of one, that the time spent with the bread is rather minimal in comparison to what you’re given.

Then I started adding beer. The yeast already in the beer, the grains it was made with, it’s like water on steroids when making bread. It’s like Super Water when baking. I like a wheat beer, it just seems to make sense. I like a bottle conditioned beer that still has some rowdy yeast running around. I like a beer with a low hop profile. But most of all I love the moment when I check the dough and see the soft pillow rising in the bowl, and I know it’s a small win for the day. These days, we could all use a few small wins. And serve it with a cold beer.


Beer Focaccia-3

Beer Focaccia Bread


  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups beer pale ale, pilsner, wheat beer
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • for the top:
  • 1 tbs coarse salt
  • 1 tbs fresh rosemary chopped
  • 2 tbs olive oil


  • In a bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a dough hook, add 2 cups flour, sugar, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and yeast.
  • Heat the beer to 120 to 125 degrees F.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer, turn the mixer to medium, mix until combined.
  • Add the remaining flour, ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium high, beat for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm room until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Lightly oil a 9x13 pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, pulling to cover the entire pan. Press your fingers into the dough making holes across the entire loaf.
  • Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Brush with remaining oil, sprinkle with remaining rosemary and salt.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Beer Focaccia-2

Thai Chili Stout Beef Skewers with Chili Ginger Dipping Sauce

Thai Chili Stout Beef Skewers with Chili Ginger Dipping Sauce
Thai Chili Stout Beef Skewers-3

There are firsts that we lose quickly, gone into the recesses of our minds. Like pearls from a broken strand scattering across the floor, gliding under furniture and into corners. The firsts that I do remember are never more important than those that I’ve lost, it seems like a roll of the dice what sticks and what slides away.

The first time I had a stout is a stuck memory. I was 21 and it was 8 am. I’d taken a job as a waitress at a mediocre chain brewery in Los Angeles. Part of my orientation was a beer class. At 8 am. On an empty stomach. A few flights of seasonal beers later and I was drunk. Giggly and failing in my attempts to keep that secret to myself.

Thai Chili Stout Beef Skewers-1

Next came a flight of darker beers: stouts, porters and brown ales all lined up on a wooden paddle. I was determined just to take a sip of each to avoid drunk turning into sloppy. I was convinced that I didn’t like dark beers, assuming that they were too big and bitter.

The first sip, I was hooked. The beer was creamy, slightly sweet, roasty, and mellow. "What is this?" My attempt at staying quite came out in a loud drunken slur as I shushed by the bar-back-in-training sitting next to me.

"IT’S REALLY GOOD. WHY DIDN’T I KNOW THAT STOUTS WERE GOOD. I’M DRUNK." I have a strange habit of announcing my drunkenness, as if it’ll come as a shock to those around me.

The guys teaching the class had me gently removed, escorted to a couch in the lobby with a pitcher of water. "It’s really good. I like it a lot. Are they all good or just this one?" The brewery assistant that was in charge of handling me looked over his shoulder to make sure we were alone, "Honestly, it’s not that good. It’s fine. It’s adequate. But there are much better stouts out there. You’re just drunk, and you obviously don’t have that much beer experience."

I was both offended and intrigued. If a mediocre stout was that good, what does a good one taste like? Turns out, he was right. My first stout was just OK, memorable but just adequate. The way a lot of firsts are.

I’ve forgotten hundreds of much better stouts since then, lost in my memory. Stouts will always be one of my go-to styles, although I’m much better at handling a few flights at a brewery now. Even if I still announce to the world when I’m drunk.

Thai Chili Stout Beef Skewers-4

Thai Chili Stout Beef Skewers with Chili Ginger Dipping Sauce

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Servings 4 servings



  • ½ cup imperial stout
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger grated with microplane
  • 1 large clove garlic grated with microplane
  • 1 tbs hot chili oil
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 lbs thin cut beef sliced into 1 inch strips
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Dipping sauce:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tsp hot chili oil
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger grated with a microplane
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • In a large bowl stir together the stout, soy sauce, ¼ tsp ginger, garlic, 1 tbs hot chili oil, and lime juice.
  • Add the beef, cover and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Thread onto metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden skewers.
  • Salt and pepper on all sides, brush liberally with marinade.
  • Grill: preheat the grill to medium high. Grill on both sides until cooked to your desired degree of doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium.
  • Oven: preheat the broiler of the oven. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray. Place the skewers on rack, place under the broiler for 6 minutes, turning once half way through.
  • In a small bowl stir together the remaining soy sauce, honey, chili oil, ginger, and black pepper (can be made a day ahead of time).
  • Serve skewers with dipping sauce.

*hot chili oil is sold in the Asian section of the grocery store or can be bought online.


IPA Sriracha Chicken Wings + How To Get The Crispiest Baked Wings Ever

IPA Sriracha Chicken Wings + How To Get The Crispiest Baked Wings 

IPA Sriracha Chicken Wings + How To Get The Crispiest Baked Wings Ever

You’ve got to dig a little deeper.

At first blush, this seems like a cop-out. It’s beer and chicken wings, it’s such an obvious pairing you want to scratch your eyes out, scream "Milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, jalapeño and avocado! Give me something new!" But calm down, it’s more than that. It’s a revelation.

Really, it’s because I’m a nerd. Which is what drew me to craft beer, the geeky side of beer: the what, the why, and the how of beer. It’s the same with food. I don’t just want to know how to brine a chicken, I want to know why it works.

I want to know what the difference between baking soda and baking powder, and I want to know how temperature affects meat. That’s why I read Cooks Illustrated. It’s not food porn, really there aren’t too many pictures, it’s food nerd porn. It’s the why, it’s not just the how.

IPA Sriracha Chicken Wings + How To Get The Crispiest Baked Wings Ever

Cooks Illustrated did a story on how to bake chicken wings in a way that the skin gets just as crispy as when you fry it. The fat is rendered, the skin is so crisp it makes a thump sound when you tap it with your nails. They nerd out on food in a way that makes me feel like I’m not alone. They tell you the kitchen fails, the reason they tried what they did, and what finally worked.

For this: baking powder that draws out moisture, low temperate to render fat, and high temperate to make the skin golden brown. If you’re still reading this, you might just be as big of a nerd as I am. And next time we meet, I’ll buy you a beer and we’ll talk all kinds of food nerd talk.

IPA Sriracha Chicken Wings + How To Get The Crispiest Baked Wings Ever

IPA Sriracha Chicken Wings + How To Get The Crispiest Baked Wings Ever

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Servings 4 servings


  • 2 lbs party wings
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup IPA beer
  • 4 tbs melted butter
  • ¼ cup Sriracha
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • up to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Preheat oven to 250.
  • Add the wings to a large bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder and salt, toss to coat.
  • Place a wire rack over a baking sheet, brush with oil or spray with cooking spray.
  • Place the wings on the wire rack.
  • Bake in the lower section of the oven for 30 minutes. Move to the upper 1/3 of the oven, increase oven temperature to 425. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.
  • In a large bowl stir together the beer, melted butter, sriracha, honey, cayenne pepper (as little or as much as you want for the heat level you want) and cornstarch.
  • Toss the wings in the sauce, serve warm.

Crispy Beer Battered Steak House Onion Rings

Crispy Beer Battered Steak House Onion Rings

Crispy Beer Battered Steak House Onion Rings

I was on a southbound flight a few weeks ago, the guy sitting next to me not picking up on my "I don’t talk to strangers on airplanes" vibes. He asked me what I did for a living, which is always a bit of a strange conversation when the answer is something along the lines of "I cook with craft beer, and then take pictures of it."

He rolls his eyes. "I hate that." I didn’t engage, I didn’t care what he hates or why he hates it. If he left me alone, I was fine with that.

After a few minutes of my not biting on his gem of a response to my chosen career, he gave up. "I mean….why does YOUR beer get to craft and other people’s isn’t? It seems so elitist."

Ahh…one of those guys. In his Brooks Brothers khakis and late 90’s briefcase he has decided what I’m allowed to call beer.

"What do you do?" I ask.

"I import. From China and Japan, teas mostly."

"Why? There is plenty of tea over here. Why not just use some grown in the US?"

He’s borderline outraged at the suggestion. "It’s not the same! The techniques people use, the old world skill, the attention to detail and process. People over there have a love for it, they consider it…."

"..a craft?"

Tense silence.

"So, are you saying that your tea is craft tea and maybe Lipton, isn’t?"

"…..oh. Um. Oh…"

I put my headphones in and ignore any more of his attempts to engage. The truth is craft breweries put quality above profit. They will sacrifice the amount they make on a beer in favor of using the best ingredients, but they won’t do it the other way around. There is a love and a respect for the product that can be felt in the industry. There is craft in every industry, with beer it’s just more obvious, more celebrated.

Crispy Beer Battered Steak House Onion Rings


Now let’s talk food for a second. When making onion rings, the onion selection makes a big difference.  Peel back those layers and all onions bring something different to your table. When selecting the best onion for your rings, you want a thick ring, lots of sweetness and a mellow flavor. Red onions don’t have the sweetness or the thickness you’re looking for. White onions are crisp and thick, but much too harsh and sharp in flavor. Yellow onions have more sweetness than white or red, but the layers tend to be fairly thin and the overall flavor can often be a bit sharper than is ideal. Your best bet is what’s known as a sweet onion.

Sweet onions have thick slices and a sweet flavor without giving you that sharp onion flavor that turns some away. The most common varieties are Walla Walla sweets, Maui, and Vidalia onions, all are the perfect choice for a thick batter and a quick deep fry and won’t leave you overpowered with a sharp onion taste.

For the beer, pick one that has some great carbonation and big flavor, those onion rings can take it. I like a pale ale or an IPA to get the job done.

Happy frying.


Crispy Beer Battered Steak House Onion Rings


  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour divided in half
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 cup IPA beer
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • canola or peanut oil for frying


  • Slice the onion into ½ inch slices, separate the rings. Place in a large bowl, cover with buttermilk. Refrigerate for 1 hour and up to overnight.
  • In a large bowl add 1 cup flour (reserve the other cup), cornstarch, baking soda, chili powder, brown sugar, stir to combine. Stir in the beer to make a smooth batter.
  • Add the remaining flour to a small bowl. Stir together the salt and panko in a separate bowl.
  • Heat three inches of oil in a pot over medium high heat. Use a deep fry thermometer to maintain 350 degrees.
  • One at a time remove the onion slices from the milk, dredge in flour until well coated, dip in the batter, then add to the panko to gently coat (if panko bowl becomes too saturated with the dip, toss it and fill the bowl with fresh panko). Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 1 minute per side.
  • Remove from oil, place on a wire rack to cool.


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