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Pilsner/Pale Ale

Beer Brined Pepper Lime Chicken with Gorgonzola and Blackberries



Beer Brined Pepper Lime Chicken with Gorgonzola and Blackberries 2

I was once asked to be in a porn movie. I was 21.

I was a social worker for gang members, working with a rough crowd of teenagers in an unsavory section of Los Angeles. On a particularly frustrating day of trying to convince a hot-tempered kid why punching his teacher wasn’t a "dope idea," I decide to take a break and walk a few blocks to the nearby by mini-mart for a soda and some breathing room. As a way to exagerate the few small years that stood between my age and theirs, I always came to work a bit overdressed. As a way to look like I wasn’t still at the tail-end of my teens, I was wearing black pants, red heels and a crisp white button down. Which wasn’t the usual wardrobe choice for this particular area of the Southland.

On the way back, sucking down a Diet Coke and trying to formulate a response to angry-teen-guy logic, a brand new BMW pulled up beside me. The overly tinted window rolled down and I hear a voice asking for my attention. I was completely unsurprised to see an overly tan, overly hair gelled guy in an undersized tank top. He passed me his card and told me he was a producer. Now, we need to pause for a second to explain a little bit of the LA culture. While you should ALWAYS be skeptical of anyone who tries this line on you, and under no circumstances should you meet this person in an area that isn’t highly public, it’s not the strangest situation. I was cast as an extra in two TV shows and a movie that all started with similar conversations.

I keep a safe distance from Tan Hair Gel Baby Gap Tank Top Guy, while grabbing the business card he passed across his passenger’s seat. "I need to let you know it is an adult film, we can negotiate the sex" he says with a smarmy wink.

"Ahhh, ok," I drop the card on the passenger seat, "I’m good, but thanks for the offer." I quickly make my way back to work as he yells dollar amounts at me. Which, in case you’re wondering, isn’t at ALL degrading.

Upon returning to the office I tell the office manager what happened. She was a 50-year-old former nun, and still in practice as far as the celibacy goes, and I was a little worried about her reaction to something so tawdry. "That’s so offensive!" she yells. I knew it would disgust her and I was a little embarrassed to have told her, "I walk to that QuickMart every day and I’ve never been asked to be in a porno movie! What’s wrong with me!? I’m offended."

Not the reaction I was expecting but somehow it make the entire interaction worth it.

Beer Brined Pepper Lime Chicken with Gorgonzola and Blackberries 3


Beer Brined Pepper Lime Chicken with Gorgonzola and Blackberries


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 1 tbs lime zest
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 wt oz gorgonzola
  • ½ cup fresh blackberries


  • Add the chicken thighs to a large bowl or baking dish, pour beer over the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from beer, pat dry.
  • In a small bowl stir together the lime zest, flour, pepper and salt.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture until well coated.
  • Cook the chicken until golden brown on each side and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Plate the chicken, top with a sprinkle of gorgonzola cheese and blackberries.

Beer Brined Pepper Lime Chicken with Gorgonzola and Blackberries 4

Beer Brat Dogs with Grilled Peach Salsa and Fried Onions

Beer Brat Dogs with Grilled Peach Salsa and Fried Onions 2

I tried to make sausage from scratch once.

I went to Lindy & Grundy and had along talk with the gorgeous Sausage Making Queen of Los Angeles, Amelia. Armed with sausage casings,  several different types of pork and pork fat to be ground, and tips for success from the pros who instruct the pros, I was confident. I spent hours grinding meat, adding spices, filling casings and turning my dining room light fixture into a drying rack.

Then, it was time to fry up the profits of my labor.

It didn’t go well. The casings split, the filling was mealy and dry. Turns out, unless you make sausages in a meat locker you’re not headed for success, sausages need frigid temperatures to turn out perfectly. Which explains why the best sausages come from cold climates as opposed to tropical locations.

I’ll always make as much as I can from scratch, but some things just need to be left to the pros. I’ll never buy pre-made tortillas, I’ll always make my own whipped cream and canned frosting makes baby Jesus cry. But sausage making needs to be left to the pros, it’s an art. It takes years to get right, and talent to make perfect. I’ll make the buns from scratch, and the toppings, but I’ll always be on the look out for a butcher shop that makes the best sausages, and when I find it I’ll trade beer for sausages. I know my place.


Beer Brat Dogs with Grilled Peach Salsa and Fried Onions_

Beer Brat Dogs with Grilled Peach Salsa and Fried Onions


  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ white onions sliced
  • canola oil for frying
  • 6 raw bratwursts
  • 24 ounces pale ale
  • 2 ripe but firm peaches sliced
  • ¼ red onion cut in half
  • 2 red jalapenos sliced in half lengthwise
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 hot dog buns


  • Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl, add the onion, toss until well coated.
  • Add 3 to 4 inches of oil to a saucepan, use a deep fry thermometer to bring the oil to 375, adjusting heat to maintain that temperature.
  • Drop the onions in the oil, fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove from oil, drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
  • In a pan with a lid add the brats and the beer, cover and simmer until the brats are cooked through, remove from pan.
  • Preheat the grill to medium high.
  • Add the brats, peaches, red onion and jalapenos, grilling all until grill marks appear on all sides.
  • Chop the peaches, onion and cilantro, add to a bowl along with the cilantro, toss to combine.
  • Add the brats to the buns, top with peach salsa and fried onions.

Beer Brat Dogs with Grilled Peach Salsa and Fried Onions 3

Beer Brined Scallops over Spinach Salad With Bacon Stout Dressing

Beer Brined Scallops over Spinach Salad With Bacon Stout Vinaigrette 2

If you’re going to make me a salad, it better be a damn good salad. After all, you’re asking me to skip carbs and satisfying fried finger foods, I might resent you if it isn’t a really good salad.

Bacon is a good start, and so is beer. Scallops are a fan favorite as well. Let’s talk about those for a second while we’re at it. Scallops will most likely come to you via a grocery store seafood counter soaking in a milky phosphate solution (yum!) that will help keep it fresh longer as well as give it an unfortunate soapy taste and an inability to sear properly. The solution to this is beer. Well, more accurately, a brine. Soaking the scallops in a brine will flush out that unappetizing liquid and give you a great taste and a great sear. Which will help that salad taste amazing. And make people forget all about the missing french fries.

But there is beer and bacon and perfect scallops, so no one should complain. If they do, take away their beer.


Beer Brined Scallops over Spinach Salad With Bacon Stout Vinaigrette_



Beer Brined Scallops over Spinach Salad With Bacon Stout Dressing

Servings 2 entree portions or 4 appetizer portions


  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 8 jumbo scallops
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 thick slices bacon
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup stout beer
  • 2 tbs brown mustard
  • 2 tbs raw honey
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 lbs asparagus
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 wt oz crumbled goat cheese


  • In a large bowl stir together the pale ale, salt, water and lemon juice.
  • Add the scallops, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove the scallops from fridge and place on top of a stack of 4-5 paper towels. Add another layer of paper towels and allow to drain and dry for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper on both sides.
  • Cook the bacon in a pan over medium high heat until cooked through, remove from pan, chop and set aside. Add the shallots to the bacon grease, cook until shallots have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stout beer, scraping to deglaze the pan. Add the mustard, honey and pepper, whisking to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the scallops, flat side down, and allow to cook until a dark golden brown crust forms on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until seared on the opposite side. Remove from pan when a slight hint of translucent pink still remains at the center, don’t over cook.
  • Trim asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces. Cook the asparagus in lightly salted boiling water for one minute, drain and allow to dry.
  • Plate the spinach, top with asparagus, goat cheese, and crumbled bacon, dizzle with dressing, top with scallops.

Beer Brined Scallops over Spinach Salad With Bacon Stout Vinaigrette 3

Fried Beer Chicken Sliders with Beer Pickled Peaches and Jalapeños

Fried Beer Chicken Sliders with Beer Pickled Peaches and Jalapeños. Fried chicken is SOOOOO good with pickled peaches!

Fried Beer Chicken Sliders with Beer Pickled Peaches & Jalapenos

Slider has always been one of those skeevy words that I’ve tried to avoid. Like, well, the word "skeevy," or the unfortunate times I’m forced to use the word "moist." Like the way "wooded area" is almost always followed by "dead body" or how the word "penetrate" should never be used outside a seventh grade health class as a way to horrify kids into keeping it in their pants for a few more years.

Fried Beer Chicken Sliders with Beer Pickled Peaches & Jalapenos 3

I need a viable replacement word, something more appropriate for a miniature version of a delightful sandwich. I also need replacement words for the multitude of swear words I use on a daily basis, but one thing at a time. I’m much more motivated to find replacement words for "slider" and "moist," those are much less fun to say than my drunken sailor vocabulary.

Fried Beer Chicken Sliders with Beer Pickled Peaches & Jalapenos 2


Fried Beer Chicken Sliders with Beer Pickled Peaches and Jalapenos


For the Peaches:

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pale ale beer
  • 2 ice cubes about 2-3 tbs water
  • 1 large peach slightly under ripe, firm, sliced

For the Sliders:

  • 2 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch cayenne
  • canola or peanut oil for frying
  • 1 jalapeno thinly slices
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 12 Hawaiian rolls split


  • In a pot over medium high heat add the vinegar, sugar and salt, stir until the sugar and salt has dissolved, remove from heat. Stir in the beer and ice cubes, allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Add the peaches to a bowl, pour the pickling liquid over the peaches, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to three days.
  • Add the chicken to a large bowl or baking dish, cover with beer and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
  • Heat 4 to 6 inches of oil in a large saucepan, using a deep fry thermometer, adjust heat to maintain 350 degrees.
  • In a shallow bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, onion powder, black pepper and cayenne.
  • One at a time remove the pieces of chicken from the buttermilk, toss in the flour until well coated, dip back into the buttermilk mixture and then toss again in the flour until well coated. Drop gently into the hot oil, frying until golden brown and the center reaches 165 on a meat thermometer, about 6 minutes.
  • In a small bowl combine the jalapeno, green onion and red onions.
  • Split the buns, add a piece of fried chicken, one to two pickled peaches and 1 tablespoon onion jalapeno mixture.


Cherry Vanilla Pale Ale Party Cake

Cherry Vanilla Pale Ale Party Cake 3


I’m a huge fan of ridiculous cakes.

My Epic Chocolate Stout Cake has three layers of cake and three layers of chocolate fudge. My Lemon Dream Cake is similar. I even spent years making obnoxiously large cakes shaped like hamburgers and sharks, and by the way, who cares if a cake is shaped like a burrito? Now, I just care if it tastes good.

I’m overly concerned with the presentations of my food, which I completely blame on instagram and my current career path which has resulted in an obsession with presenting the world (or maybe just my neighbors) with an impressive plateful of edible art. I’m an asshole, we established this earlier this week with the polenta discussion. Sometimes I want a break from all this self-inflicted baking demand and I just want to make something that’s casual and easy to take to a party. I want the cake equivalent of the perfect pair of jeans, it looks great in a laid back sort of way.

Sheet cakes remind me of childhood, but with three homemade layers it’s fancy enough for something that you probably shouldn’t wear jeans to. Although if this fancy soiree thinks it’s too good for a bottle of beer, then you should just take your casual-yet-elegant cake and move on. Jeans are case by case, but beer should always be invited.

Cherry Vanilla Pale Ale Party Cake 2

Cherry Vanilla Pale Ale Party Cake

Servings 9 -12 servings


For The Cake Layer:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup pale ale
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For The Cherries Layer:

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 lbs cherries pitted
  • ½ cup beer

For The Whipped Cream layer

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar and honey until well combined.
  • While the mixer is running, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bottom of the bowl between additions.
  • Add the canola oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, add the beer and lemon juice.
  • Alternating between the dry ingredients and the beer, slowly add both to the mixer, a little at a time, until all the ingredients are just combined.
  • Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake at 325°F until light golden brown, 23–26 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Stir together the cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Stir in ½ cup pale ale until dissolved, stir in the cherries. Simmer over medium high heat until cherries have started to break down and sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Pour the cherries over the cake in an even layer. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the heavy cream, powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, beat until medium peaks form, about 5 minutes. Spread the whipped cream in an even layer over the cake. Chill until ready to serve.

Cherry Vanilla Pale Ale Party Cake_

Beer Pesto Chicken with Creamy Parmesan Pale Ale Polenta


Beer Pesto Chicken with Creamy Parmesan Pale Ale Polenta. Best 20 minute meal ever.

Polenta makes me feel like an asshole, but I can’t stop making it. Like the way that Giada over pronounces Italian words and Midwestern transplants start using phrases like "taking holiday" once they move to Beverly Hills, it feels disingenuous. Polenta is corn grits, I live in America. I pronounce croissant and mascarpone in a way that would make Europeans cringe but it’s authentic to my California upbringing. Shouldn’t I call it grits? But I can’t. I learned how to make this bowl of creamy comfort from the back of box labeled "dry polenta" and I’m sticking with it.

Although if we really want to dissect it, I’ve trashed up this corn meal in such a way that neither the Italian or the American South would want to claim it. Beer isn’t in any recipe that any Alabama or Sicilian grandma would approve, but maybe I don’t care as much as I should. Tradition is fine for holidays and sporting events but food is meant for evolution or we would all still be putting pineapple rings on canned ham.

As a culinary man without a country, I should just make up my own term.  I can let Italy and the South off the hook and just call it something entirely different. Or I can just have a beer and forget about the whole thing.


Beer Pesto Chicken with Creamy Parmesan Pale Ale Polenta. Best 20 minute meal ever.


Beer Pesto Chicken with Creamy Parmesan Pale Ale Polenta


For the pesto:

  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup pale ale
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the Polenta:

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1 cup pale ale
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup polenta also called corn grits or coarse ground corn meal
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

For the Chicken:

  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil


Make the Pesto:

  • In a food processor add the garlic, pecans, parmesan, basil, and salt, process until smooth. While the processor is running, slowly add the beer and olive oil. Pesto can be made up to three days ahead of time.

Make the polenta:

  • In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the beer and milk, bring to a simmer.
  • Whisk in the polenta. Simmer until polenta is tender and thickened, whisking occasionally, about 18 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan, salt and pepper.

Make the chicken.

  • Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Add the chicken, cooking on both sides until browned and chicken is cooked through.
  • Plate polenta, then the chicken, top with pesto.


If substituting chicken breast, filet the chicken breasts into two thin slices, rather than a thicker breasts. Season well before cooking, don't over cook, chicken breasts dry out easily.

Beer Pesto Chicken with Creamy Parmesan Pale Ale Polenta. Best 20 minute meal ever.

Coconut Cake with Pale Ale Lime Cream Cheese Frosting


Coconut Cake with Pale Ale Lime Cream Cheese Frosting P

Beer and fruit have a bit of a sordid past. From the ill-advised orange slice served on the side of a hefeweizen, to the cringe inducing Bud Light Lime.  Thankfully, plenty of remarkable unions have a sordid pasts. Beer and fruit just needed a few takes to get it right. The current state of beer and fruit, in the hands of remarkable brewers, is exciting.

Coconut Cake with Pale Ale Lime Cream Cheese Frosting 3

Craft brewers have pushed the limits of what these two can do, bringing us remarkable examples like Festina Peche from Dogfish Head, and Orange Wheat from Hangar 24. Those brilliant brewers make beer with watermelon, cherriesmarionberries, and pretty much everything else they can get their hands on.

It’s evidence of what beer can do, what it’s capable of. Think for a second of the first beer you ever tasted, probably a pale lager poured from a keg out of the back of a pick-up truck. The flavors in that beer were small, a ground floor offering, a beer made to vaguely satiate the masses. Craft beer being made now is being made to get people excited, make us think. Love it or hate it, it’s beer you remember.

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It’s why beer and food go so well together. It’s the only alcoholic beverage that’s made with just about any ingredient in that meal on your plate. It was only a matter of time, and dozens of brilliant brewers, before beer and fruit started to make sense. And that was only the begining. You should see what those brewers do with chai, and chocolate, and carrots, and everything else you can throw at them.

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Coconut Cake with Pale Ale Lime Cream Cheese Frosting


For the Cake

  • 4 eggs divided
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk from can, shaken
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp coconut extract
  • 1 cup pale ale beer
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dried coconut flakes

For the Frosting:

  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 8 wt oz cream cheese softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbs lime juice
  • 3 tbs pale ale beer
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 .
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the egg whites, reserve the yolks.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Remove whites from mixer, add to a medium bowl, chill until ready to use.
  • In the mixer bowl add the butter and sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, beat until well combined.
  • Add the coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract and beer, beat until well combined.
  • Lift the mixer heat, sprinkle with flour, baking soda and salt, stir until just combined. Add the egg whites, stir until just combined.
  • Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan.
  • Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, beat until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  • While the mixer is running mix in the beer and the lime juice.
  • Frost the cake with the frosting, chill until ready to serve.
  • Garnish with toasted coconut just prior to serving, if desired.

Coconut Cake with Pale Ale Lime Cream Cheese Frosting 5

Frozen Beer Soaked Watermelon

Beer Soaked Watermelonsicles

Summer beers have arrive, filling the shelves of our bottle shops with pale ambiguous summer refreshment. If you’re new to beer, these labels can be a bit confusing due to the comprehensive lack of cohesion with the title: summer ale. Some have a beautiful bitter hop bite, some have a nice malty flavor, some are mild and clean. I’m an advocate for an open mind and full beer cart, but if you’re a bit more leery and want a specific flavor profile when looking for beer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

"American" in front of any beer title (i.e. American Summer Ale, American Pale Ale…) means that beer will be hoppier than it’s non-patriotic counterparts.

Summer ales and summer release aren’t the same thing, but close. Summer release just means a beer that is only released that season, but can be any style.  Summer ales are generally a pale ale with notes of citrus, light to medium bodies, some hops but not overwhelming, but brewers are free to run wild within a very broad definition so many summer ales taste vastly different.

Saisons are made to be served in the summer, they are often mild, fruity, generally have a bit more sweetness to them and very low hops. Sometimes these are made with wheat, but not always. This is a great style to seek out if you’re new to craft beer or looking to introduce people to craft beer.

Kolsch is a mild crisp beer, it’ll give you a bit more hops than a saison, but not as much as a pale ale. It’s a great summer beer to pair with your barbaque, it’s mild enough for the watermelon and bold enough to stand up to salsa and has a great carbonation to wash down that burger.

Session IPA's are just IPA’s with a low alcohol content, letting you drink more without embarrassing yourself. You’ll still get a great bite of hops, but without becoming an intended YouTube sensation.

To booze up these watermelon cubes, I used the summer release beer Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment brewery. It’s a wheat beer made with fresh watermelons, crisp and dry and perfect for summer.

It was the obvious choice.

Frozen Beer Soaked Watermelonsicles


Frozen Beer Soaked Watermelonsicles


  • 2 lbs watermelon cut into cubes
  • 12 ounces beer pale ale, wheat beer or IPA


  • Place watermelon in a bowl. Pour beer over the watermelon. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Remove from beer, skewer with 6 inch wooden skewers.
  • Place on a large plate, cover and freeze for 1 to 2 hours.
  • Serve frozen.

Beer Soaked Watermelonsicles 2


Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads


Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads

Let’s say you and I get into it over pizza. We hash it out over the best pizza we’ve ever had. We talk about Naples, and LA, and both agree that New York beats Chicago, unless you want a casserole, then Chicago pizza will do.

And then I tell you that the best Ray’s pizza in New York is the one at 4th and Houston, to which (if you’re a New Yorker) you recoiler in horror that I’ve chosen said Ray’s instead of one of the 147 other Ray’s in Manhattan.

Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads 2

We finally just agree to get a beer and pizza and call it a day. Nowhere in our spirited conversation do we mention Seattle. Because the thing about Seattle is that beer is world class, so is the coffee and the produce can’t be beat, but the pizza…

We’ll just talk about the beer and the coffee and the produce and leave talk of the pizza out of it shall we? Similar to a discussion of the best people in the world named Joe wouldn’t include talk of either Buttafuoco or Francis. Let’s just stick to the good stuff.

Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads 3

Of course I have a theory about this. The same water that makes the beer fantastic and coffee legendary isn’t so kind with the pizza dough. But here is the thing about baking your pizza dough with beer, wherever you go in the world, your dough will be the same.

Water is for the weak, switch to beer and your pizza dough will become the stuff of folklore.

It might even be brought up in the New York vs Chicago debate.

Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads 4


Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads

Servings 4 (6-inch) flatbreads



  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 1/8 tsp rapid rise yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup wheat beer or pale ale
  • 2 tbs oil
  • ½ tsp salt


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup wheat beer or pale ale
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • oil for the grill


  • Stout and Sriracha BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ tsp cilantro chopped
  • 2 apricots thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast and sugar. Mix until combined.
  • In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the dough has been moistened, add the oil and salt while the mixer is still running.
  • Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface. Knead several times, cut into 4 equal sized pieces. Form each piece into 6 inch circles.
  • While the dough is rising, make the chicken. Place the chicken in a bowl, cover with 1 cup beer. Chill for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove from beer, rinse and pat dry.
  • Preheat the grill.
  • In a small bowl combine the onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt.
  • Sprinkle chicken on all sides with spice mixture.
  • Grill chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Remove from grill, slice.
  • Oil the grill (alternately, you can oil the flatbreads). Grill one side of the flatbread until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes, flip and very lightly grill the other side, about 30 seconds, remove from grill. Place the flatbreads on a flat surface with the well grilled side facing up. Top with barbeque sauce, cheese, chicken, sliced apricots, cilantro, and onions. Place back on the grill, close over, cook until cheese has melted.

My recipe for Stout & Sriracha BBQ Sauce, you have to make it.

Grilled BBQ Beer Chicken and Apricot Flatbreads 5

Lemon Parmesan Beer Asparagus

Lemon Parmesan Beer Asparagus_

I’m writing this from a hotel room 26 floors above the Las Vegas strip.

I’m nearing the end of the second day of the Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards party and the feeling of gratefulness is still growing. The fact that such an important food magazine recognized what I’m doing as Best of the Best brings a validation to what I’ve been stumbling towards. It’s humbling to know who many millions of food blogs are out there, and how just a handful of us are here. To feel in a small way that there must have been a mistake made, wondering if I really am good enough to be sitting in a room so full of talent.

But I’ll take it, with a smile and renewed sense of purpose. Closer to the goals I set when I started this journey, and closer to feeling like I belong here.

And that feeling of gratefulness, that feeling that I’m incredibly lucky to do what I do, that’ll just keep growing.


Lemon Parmesan Beer Asparagus 3


Lemon Parmesan Beer Asparagus


  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ cup pale ale
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 lb asparagus washed and ends trimmed off
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup fresh shaved parmesan


  • In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic, stir for thirty seconds, add the beer and lemon zest.
  • Add the asparagus, cooking on all sides until beer has mostly evaporated and asparagus is barley fork tender but still has some firmness.
  • Sprinkle with salt and parmesan, serve warm.


Lemon Parmesan Beer Asparagus 2

Peaches and Cream Ale Pie


Peaches and Cream Ale Pie2

Cream ales found their way into the American beer system during prohibition, an ironic time for many great alcoholic beverages to have gotten their start. The name is a bit misleading, cream isn’t involved in the brewing process, but the taste is smooth and even a bit creamy which is where the name comes from.

As we hurdle towards summer, and events which center around our tub of craft beer offerings, cream ales are a great style to include when trying to satisfy the masses. These are easy to drink beers that have low hop character, smooth crispy flavors and some hints of fruit.

I used a cream ale from the Pacific Northwest, from a brewery that has become a mainstay in my fridge since I moved north. Nuptiale from Ninkasi is a great beer to stock up on for those summer get togethers, it’s what I refer to as a Gateway Beer. Perfect for the craft beer snobs, and just what a craft beer newbie needs to get hooked.

Peaches and Cream Ale Pie4

Peaches and Cream Ale Pie


  • One pie crust

For the cream layer:

  • 16 wt oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup cream ale
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tbs all purpose flour

For the peaches:

  • 1 ½ lbs peaches pitted and sliced
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbs butter
  • ¾ cup cream ale


  • Preheat the oven to 325.
  • Roll the pie crust out on a flat surface, line a deep dish 9.5 inch pie pan, trim the excess.
  • In a blender or a food processor add the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, salt, egg, 2/3 cup cream ale, vanilla, flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Blend until smooth, pour into pie crust.
  • In a sauce pan over medium high heat, add the peaches, cornstarch, sugar, butter and cream ale. Simmer until thickened, about ten minutes.
  • Pour the peaches over the cream cheese.
  • Bake until the crust is golden brown and the edges of the filling has set but the center still jiggles when shaken, about 40 minutes.
  • Chill until set, about 4 hours.


This requires a very deep dish pie pan. 9 1/2 inches, 1.8 to 2 qt.
If you use a small pie pan you will have far too much filling.

Peaches and Cream Ale Pie3

Creamy White Bean Beer Cheese Dip

Creamy White Bean Beer Cheese Dip 2

Let’s talk for a few minutes about why this is such a great idea.

First, you can add beer. And the ability to add beer is always a plus. And let’s be honest, being able to pump out a beer infused dip in just a few minutes without turning on your oven is always a skill we want to have in our appetizer arsenal. Did I mention that you can add beer? It’s not just for you, but for those rowdy beer friends of yours. The ones that show up at the last minute and demand to be fed, you know that guy, we all know that guy. Let’s just hope that next time he shows up at your house and you’re nice enough to throw this dip together for him, he’s at least nice enough to bring some beer. And for all your "hard work" the least he can do is bring you the good stuff, because you deserve it. After all you did take five entire minutes to make him a beer infused homemade dip.

Creamy White Bean Beer Cheese Dip 4

Creamy White Bean Beer Cheese Dip

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 large clove garlic smashed
  • 1 wt oz fresh grated parmesan about 1/3 cup
  • 2 wt oz 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup IPA
  • 1 15 wt oz can Great Northern beans
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • Add all ingredients to a food processor, process until smooth, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Add to a serving bowl.
  • Serve with chips, bread or crudités.

Creamy White Bean Beer Cheese Dip 3

Beer Crepes with Beer Caramelized Apples


Beer Crepes with Beer Caramelized Apples 2

Let’s just say that you want to dive into the world of craft beer. Or even that you’re curious enough that you just want to know a bit more. Or maybe you’re just as much of a geek as I am and you just like to know stuff.

Let’s also assume that you’re starting with little more knowledge than knowing what IPA stands for and that Guinness is a stout. Or maybe less.

I was there once, we all were. No one is born with a head full of beer knowledge, and unlike other adult beverages, very few people were born into the world of beer. People are born into vineyards, or distilleries, but very few are born into breweries. Most of us start out knowing nothing, wondering what’s past the pale macro lager, dabbling in craft beer, and then wondering why it’s so much better than that stuff we chugged out of kegs in college. We seek out the knowledge, and most of us self educate. So, where do you start?

My picks for the best introduction to craft beer books, great for the beer novice, or even those who claim Beer Geek status:

The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer, By Christina Perozzi, Hallie Beaune*

The Brewmaster’s Table ,By Garrett Oliver*

 The Oxford Companion to Beer, By Garrett Oliver

The Complete Beer Course, By Joshua M. Bernstein

Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink, By Randy Mosher

Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide from the Pairing Pros, by Julia Herz and Gwen Conley

 *two personal favorites of mine

If you know a great introduction to craft beer book let me know in the comments section.

Beer Crepes with Beer Caramelized Apples_


Beer Crepes with Beer Caramelized Apples


For the Crepes:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cream ale pale ale or wheat beer
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs melted butter plus additional for pan
  • pinch salt

For the apples:

  • 5 tbs butter
  • 1 lbs about 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cores and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon Vietnamese cinnamon preferred
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup cream ale pale ale or wheat beer


  • Put all the crepe ingredients in a blender, blend until combined. Put the batter in the fridge for one hour and up to 12 (can be made the night before).
  • To make the apples melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the apples, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cook until the apples have softened. Add the beer and simmer until the liquid has thickened to a syrup, set aside.
  • In a 10 inch non-stick skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Add about ¼ cup batter, swirl the pan to spread the batter into a thin circle.
  • Cook over medium high heat until the top is dry. Flip the crepe using a spatula, cook until the underside is golden brown. Continue until all batter is used.
  • Fill the crepes with apples, serve warm.

Beer Crepes with Beer Caramelized Apples 3

Grilled Beer Soaked Rosemary Potatoes (with a grill or without)

Grilled Beer Soaked Rosemary Potatoes 5

I’m not crazy. There is an actually practical reason to soak your potatoes in a beer brine before they hit the grill.  Potatoes are mostly water, held in by the starch. Using the water extracting powder of salt you can help remove the water and give your potatoes a crispier outside with a creamy middle while cooking.

And let’s talk about that cooking. For well over a year I’ve been taunting you with grill recipes, like grilled Beer & Buttermilk Sriracha Chicken, and Beer Marinated Steak with Porter Gorgonzola Butter, but what if you don’t have a grill? First, you should buy one, but if you can’t swing it, a grill pan is a great alternative. I went nearly two years without a grill and I used my grill pan weekly as a substitute.

Because no matter what life throws your way, there is something about grilled food and cold beer that makes it seem like all is right in the world again.

Grilled Beer Soaked Rosemary Potatoes 2


Grilled Beer Soaked Rosemary Potatoes


  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 1 tbs kosher or sea salt
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary


  • In a large bowl stir together the salt and beer. Add the potato rounds and add enough water until potatoes are fully covered.
  • Chill for at least 2 hours and up to 12.
  • Remove from the brine and allow to dry completely on a stack of paper towels.
  • Add the potatoes to a bowl or baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spices, toss until well coated.
  • Preheat the grill (or a grill pan) to medium high.
  • Place the potatoes on the grill (working in batches if necessary), until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until fork tender, about 3 additional minutes.

Grilled Beer Soaked Rosemary Potatoes 4

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Beer Macerated Strawberries

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Beer Macerated Strawberries_

I’d give up most of the cooking equipment in my house in exchange for my grill.

I went two years without one and once I bit the bullet and bought a new one, even I’m amazed at the sheer magnitude of food that can grilled. Clearly cake is a good illustration of that. But I’m also fairly smitten with grilled corn with sriracha butter, and grilled salad (for real), and even pizza (especially pizza).

Because grilling isn’t just about the food, it’s about the process, it’s about the atmosphere, and it’s about the fact that you can. Winter has lifted, you are now free to cook your food outdoors over an open flame. It’s healthy, but that’s not the point. And of all the beer related food, grilling just demands beer.

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Beer Macerated Strawberries 2


Grilled Angel Food Cake with Beer Macerated Strawberries


  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1/4 cup pale ale or Belgian ale
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 angel food cake
  • ½ cup melted butter


  • In a medium sized bowl stir together the strawberries, pale ale and sugar. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 12 hours.
  • Preheat the grill to medium high.
  • Cut the angel food cake into 2 to 3 inch slices.
  • Brush with melted butter.
  • Grill on each side until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Spoon the strawberry soaking liquid over the cake, top with strawberries.


The melted butter will give more of a charred grilled quality, if you want to lessen that, skip the butter and just add the cake to the grill.

I have this grill, it’s fantastic (affiliate link).

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Beer Macerated Strawberries 3

Yogurt and Beer Marinated Chicken Skewers


Yogurt and Beer Marinated Chicken Skewers 2

I’ve decided that the grill is officially open. Regardless of the weather, regardless of the time constraints, regardless of the lack of Meats on Sticks occasions in my near future. The grill needs to be open. Maybe it’s the catastrophic levels of stress in my life right now, maybe it’s my severe vitamin D deficiency since leaving Southern California, or maybe the grill should never be closed at all.

There’s a therapeutic quality to the first grilled food of the season. That delicious char you’d almost forgotten about. Cooking in the great wide open with sun on your face, beer in one hand, ridiculously oversized tongs in the other. And the realization that winter has passed. It all adds up to one of the most satisfying meals of the year.

Although I am considering not closing the grill at all next winter, but I’ll report back to you once the snow hits.

Yogurt and Beer Marinated Chicken Skewers_

Yogurt and Beer Marinated Chicken Skewers


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup pale ale
  • 1 tsp dried crushed red peppers
  • 1 ½ tsp sweet smoked paprika or 1 tsp sweet and ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves grated with a microplane
  • 2 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs or breast, cut into cubes
  • vegetable oil for the grill
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley


  • In a large bowl stir together the yogurt, beer, red pepper, paprika, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the chicken cubes, stir until fully submerged and coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
  • Preheat grill to medium high.
  • Remove chicken from marinate and thread onto metal skewers (or presoaked wood skewers), discard marinade.
  • Brush the grill with oil to prevent sticking.
  • Grill the chicken skewers on each side until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving, if desired.


Yogurt and Beer Marinated Chicken Skewers 3

Beer Battered Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema

There are a few things you don’t realize you’re giving up when you leave LA. You know you’ll miss the weather, the sunny winter days spent sunbathing on the beach, the fact that every band always has a tour stop in your town, and the unlimited Girls Night Out options.

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New York Beer Crumb Cake Muffins

New York Crumb Cake Beer Muffins_

A few years ago I’d had this unfortunate idea that a red eye from LAX to JFK was a great plan. I boarded a plane around 10pm in Los Angeles, alongside a 747 full of business travelers headed for jittery East Coast morning meetings.

It wasn’t so much that I irrationally figured that I could sleep on the plane, but I illogically decided that if I don’t really sleep well anyway, I might was well be not sleeping well on an airplane. When I arrived in New York 6 hours plus time change later, I hadn’t slept for a second. Although the decision to watch The Lovely Bones just after take off probably contributed to my lack of drowsiness.

By the time a subway ride and then a cab deposited me in Chelsea I was tired to catastrophic levels. Which, in the land of most girls means borderline weepy and slightly irrational. Finding out my hotel wasn’t ready for check in and realizing that my only option for sleep was cuddling up with the homeless man near the stairwell, I decided coffee was a necessity. And by necessity I quite literally mean as a route to avoid either crying hysterically or falling asleep on top of a man who smells like hot dogs and old cheese.

I stumbled into a coffee shop and begged for coffee. "Anything else?" The husky Brooklyn dweller spat at me from behind the counter.

"Umm, I…need…uh…the…" I did manage to point at a crumb cake.

"You want duh cake? Fuh breakfast?" Thank god it was just judgmental an rhetorical, he didn’t expect and answer and I couldn’t have given an intelligible one. He thrust it towards me with the coffee. I sat down at the counter, my bag still over my shoulder and started to devour it all. He smiled, one hand on his apron covered hip, "Not bad, huh?"

I nodded, words were still hours away from me.

New York Beer Crumb Cake Muffins


For the Cake:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup pale ale or wheat beer
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs vegetable oil

For the topping:

  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup packed light-brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter melted
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Line a 12 cup muffin tin with muffin papers.
  • Stir together 1 ¼ cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, beer, vanilla and vegetable oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, batter will be thick.
  • Add batter to muffin tins, about ½ way full.
  • Combine the remaining 1 ¼ cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Drizzle with melted butter, stir together until crumbs form.
  • Add the crumbs onto the top of the muffin batter until cups are slightly mounded.
  • Bake at 325 for 32-36 minutes or until the top crumbs have just started to turn golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature, chill until ready to serve. Dust with confectioners sugar prior to serving.

New York Crumb Cake Beer Muffins 2