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Chocolate Stout Covered Beer Caramels

You aren’t always aware of the nexus of a true obsession. It may only be in hind sight that the catalyst is revealed upon agonizing inspection of your past. For me, however, the spark was breathtaking, an obvious birth of a fixation that lead to this blog. That trigger was Bison Honey Basil Ale. A beer that begged to be turned into Beer Creme Brulee, my first post.

If you enjoy this little blog that I have, and are as fascinated as I am with turning beer into chewable treats, you don’t have me to thank, you owe the lovely folks at Bison Brewery a debt of gratitude. As do I, or course.

For this post, I used Bison Chocolate Stout, an excellent example of the genre.

Chocolate Stout Covered Beer Caramels


For The Caramels:

  • 12 oz bottle low hop Pale or Amber ale divided
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup corn syrup

For the Chocolate:

  • 1 1/2 cups 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Chocolate Stout
  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt optional


  • In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add 1 cup beer (reserve the remaining beer). Allow beer to boil and reduce until thick and syrupy and only about 1 tsp remains, about 20 minutes. Set aside. (Note: if you want a lower level of beer taste, skip this step and substitute the "extract" you have just made with 1 tsp of vanilla extract in the later step that calls for the beer extract)
  • Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes up and over the sides of the pan, set aside.
  • In a large sauce pan over high heat add both sugars, butter, cream, corn syrup and remaining 1/2 cup beer. Stir until butter has melted and then stop stirring while the candy boils (you can occasionally swirl the pan), clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, taking care that the tip doesn't touch the bottom. Allow to boil untouched until the liquid reaches 244 degrees. The caramel will reach 200 degrees rather quickly,but will take 15-20 minutes to reach 244. The last few degrees climb quickly so stay close to your pot.
  • Once the caramel has reached 244, remove from heat. Add the reduced beer "extract" that you have set aside and stir until the bubbling has subsided. Pour it into prepared loaf pan, allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Cut into squares.
  • In the top of a double boiler add the chocolate and the stout, stir over low heat until melted and creamy, about 5 minutes. Don't over heat or your chocolate will seize.
  • One at a time, place the squares into the chocolate with a fork. Roll around until covered, remove and add to a piece of wax paper, sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Once the squares been covered in chocolate transfer the to the refrigerator, repeat with remaining caramel. Chill until set, about 10 minutes.
  • Keep refrigerated.


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Beer Braised Chicken Sliders With Hoisin Beer Barbecue Sauce

There’s a good chance that when you think about cooking with beer, a meat recipe comes to mind. Your Dad’s beer marinated ribs? Beer can chicken? Beer braised pork? There’s a good reason for that.

Not just for the spectacular flavors that craft beer can impart on the meat, but because beer, especially high acid beer, acts as a meat tenderizer by breaking down tissue.

For this recipe you are free to run the spectrum of beer styles. Most recipes I write will be accompanied by stern warning about using any beer other than the type called for, this isn’t one of those recipes. That IPA I keep shaming you into avoiding? You can even give that a try. My gut instinct with a recipe like this was to use a light, high acid beer with herb notes (basil, sage, oregano) but I opted for a porter to test my "Any Beer Goes" theory.

The porter effect, as I am now calling it, gave a "meatier" quality to the chicken. Which turned out wonderfully, and gave this a bit of a pork taste.

The beer I used for this recipe was the Payback Porter by Speakeasy. It’s a fantastic choice for a porter because the notes are similar to those I see in barbecue sauces and rubs: smoke, coffee, cocoa, and molasses.

Next time I’ll use a beer with a high acid content for a little contrast, but as far as the beer that you pick, experiment and let me know how it goes.


Beer Braised Chicken Sliders With Hoisin Beer Barbecue Sauce


For the Barbecue Sacue:

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup beer

For The Braised Chicken:

  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 3 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 15 mini Hawaiian bread rolls

Yield: 15 sliders


    • Heat 2 tbs canola oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle the chicken with salt on all sides. Place in the pot and cook on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Cover with 1 1/2 cups of beer and 1/2 cup chicken broth, cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.
    • While chicken is cooking, prepare barbeque sauce by warming olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds; add 1 cup beer, hoisin sauce, chili powder and soy sauce. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened and reduced, remove from heat.
    • When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and allow to cool. Using two forks, shred chicken to as thin slices as possible, then add to hoisin barbeque sauce pan, tossing well to coat.
    • Split rolls in half across the middle to resemble small sandwich buns, fill with chicken.

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    Chocolate Pretzel Beer Toffee

    The best part about visiting a brewery is the opportunity to sample those special release beers that never make it into bottles. Those brews that are only made in small batches, put into casks that sometimes make it to local pubs or events but will never make it into bottles in your local distributors shelves. Like those songs your favorite band will never record but will occasionally play live if you happen to catch a show on the right night, these are beers that make you feel special for having been granted the experience. In a world where it seems everything is accessible with the right google word search, these near mythical concoctions are only available to those who happen to be in the right place at the right time.

    One of my favorites is the Habanero Sculpin from Ballast point. Because of the process they use, the heat is fresh and bright. An uncooked scorch that isn’t shy. Habaneros are an extremely unpredictable ingredient, with heat levels that vary widely from pepper to pepper, making every cask of Habanero Sculpin different from the last. If you ever make it down to San Diego, stop in for a pint and count yourself among the special few.

    Since I wasn’t able to get my hands on any Habanero Sculpin, I found myself fixated on this Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale. And the result was a toffee that I couldn’t stop eating. So addictive, and it only takes about 20 minutes to make. I already have plans to make and hand this out as Christmas gifts, if I can wait that long to make it again.

    Chocolate Pretzel Amber Ale Toffee

    Chocolate Pretzel Beer Toffee



    • 1 Cup Sugar
    • 1 Cup Butter 2 sticks
    • 1/2 Cup Amber Ale


    • 2 Cups Pretzels Smashed
    • 2 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips 60% caco content
    • 1/4 Cup Amber Ale or Chocolate Stout


    • In a large pot over high heat add the sugar, butter and 1/2 cup amber ale, it will triple in volume during the cooking process so make sure to use a large pot. Stir until the mixture starts to boil. Allow to boil untouched until the mixture starts to darken and thicken at about 230 degrees. Stir continuously until it turns a very dark amber and hits 290 degrees. This process will take between 15 and 20 minutes from start to finish. pour onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat. Allow to cool.
    • Add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the beer until hot but not boiling. You can heat it on a pot on the stove or microwave it in a microwave safe bowl. If you use the microwave, know that the beer will foam up once it reaches it's boiling point. Pour the hot beer over the chocolate chips and stir until well combined and melted.
    • Pour the chocolate over the toffee and smooth out in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the chocolate and chill until the chocolate has set. Cut into pieces.


    If you use a chocolate with less than 60% cocoa content, it will have higher levels of milk solids, because of this it will have a more difficult time hardening once the beer is added. Try to fine 60% and chill it to set.

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    Chocolate Beer Cream Puffs

     I want you to start thinking of beer as an extract. A complex amalgamation of flavors that functions in a recipe as an extract. If you were baking a fabulous caramel cake recipe, and the recipe calls for vanilla extract and all you had was mint would you just go ahead and use that? I wouldn’t, but then again a traumatic trip to Morocco has implanted a serious mint aversion in me. Think of beer the same way. If a recipe calls for a stout, an IPA isn’t going to work, you’re implanting an entirely different database of flavors. Stick with a stout or something similar, a porter maybe? If the recipe calls for a pilsner don’t use a porter, but you can always use a similarly flavored blonde ale.

    This recipe is the best "first timers" recipe when cooking with beer. It takes about 15 minutes, it can be thrown together at the last minute and its simple. This is what you can go to if you have a beer themed party, easy, elegant and beautiful beer flavors that are subtle enough to be loved even by those "non beer people" in your life. You might even convert a few.

    I use Flying Dog Road Dog Porter. With rock and roll good looks, a unbreakable tie to the incomprehensibly talented Hunter Thompson, and profanity right on the label, this is a beer that needs to be acknowledged. Its both full of flavor and easy to drink, this is a beer to seek out.

    Chocolate Beer Cream Puffs

    1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

    1 cup heavy cream

    3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

    1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar

    2 tbs porter

    1 cup dark chocolate chunks

    1/2 cup porter beer

    2 tbs heavy cream

    preheat oven to 400.

    Place the puff pastry on a floured surface and roll in each direction, making it wider and longer. Using a 2.5 inch circle biscuit cutter, cut out 20-25 circles and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

    Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup of heavy cream, 3 tbs cocoa powder, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 2 tbs porter. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Taste, add addition sugar if desired, beating to combine, put in a piping bag.

    Split the puff pastry circles in half to resemble buns and pipe the whipped cream into the center, replacing the top.

    In a microwave safe bowl, add 2 tbs heavy cream and 1/2 cup porter. In a separate bowl, add the chocolate chips. Microwave the cream/porter mixture until hot and steamy. Pour over the chocolate and stir until melted. You’ll reach a point where the ganache looks like chunky hot chocolate, it’s fine, just keep stirring until well combined.

    Spoon the ganache over the cream puffs.

    Drink the rest of the porter and enjoy your handy work.

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    Disclaimer: These are not traditional cream puffs, or profiterole as they are called in Greece and Italy, but the name "cream puff" seemed to describe them to the closest approximation of what they actually are. Feel free to re-name them Puff Pastry Whipped Cream Bites if this bastardized version of a traditional dessert bothers you. I don’t mind at all. 

    Beer Braised Chicken Enchiladas With Beer Mole

    In the food world you hear terms thrown around so casually. Words like confit, reduction, braise, semifreddo. I even see those words being used wrong so often, their meanings seem to change as more and more people republish inaccurate content. Braise is one of those terms.

    Maybe it’s ignorance, maybe it’s an attempt to fancy-up boiled chicken to make it sound more impressive or maybe it’s just the result of blindly believing everything that’s posted online.  As I post the definition of braise, I hope an inherent skepticism creeps into you, it should. Anyone can post anything online and hit "Publish". I have no editor, or fact checker, I don’t even have any consequences if I publish inaccurate content. Just the reputation as a reliable, solid source of information that is important to me, an integrity in writing that I hope to keep in tact. And for that, I’ll give you three sources, that you are free to check at your leisure.


    A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables)

    is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered,

    in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time.

    Source: Epicurious, The Free Dictionary, Wikipedia,

    For this recipe I chose Allagash Black, one of my favorite beers of all time. It’s a stout that has notes of caramel, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt and such well-balanced flavors it not only incredibly perfect for mole, it’s a beer I will always list in among my Top 5 of All Time. It’s a beer that I urge you to seek out, whether you decided to make this recipe or not.

    If you can’t find Allagash Black, look for a Stout with coffee and chocolate notes. This is a recipe that is on the difficult side and the flavors are in a delicate balance. Choosing the right beer will make all the difference.

    Beer Braised Enchiladas with Beer Mole

    6 boneless chicken thigh fillets

    1 tsp kosher or sea salt

    2 tbs olive oil

    1/2 to 2/3 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black

    12 tortillas

    2/3 cup mozzarella cheese

    For the Mole:

    2 dried ancho chilies, stem and seeds removed

    2 dried anaheim chilies, stem and seeds removed

    2 dried guajillo chilies, stem and seeds removed

    4 prunes

    1 stick mexican cinnamon

    1 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black

    1/2 cup of water

    1/4 cup dry roasted almonds

    2 tbs olive oil

    1/2 cup onions, chopped

    3 cloves of garlic, chopped

    1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate

    3/4 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black

    3/4 cup chicken broth

    1 tsp sesame oil

    1/4 cup tomato puree

    1 tsp smoked paprika

    1 tbs sugar

    1 tbs creamy peanut butter

    Toppings (if desired):

    1/2 cup mexican crema

    2 tbs chopped green onions

    In a pot over medium heat, at the 3 types of dried chilies, the prunes, cinnamon stick, 1 cup beer and enough water to submerge the chilies. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow to soak, covered for 20 minutes.

    In a skillet, add the almonds and toast over high heat, tossing frequently until toasted, about 5 minutes, remove from skillet and add to a food processor. In the same skillet, add the olive oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add to the food processor.

    In a pot over medium high heat, add the 3/4 cup beer, 3/4 cup chicken broth and chocolate. Cook until the chocolate has melted, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate has melted, add the contents of the pot to the food processor along with the sesame oil, tomato puree, smoked paprika, sugar and peanut butter. Removed the chilies and the prunes that have been soaking from the pot and add to the food processor, discard the cinnamon stick. Turn the food processor on and puree until smooth, about five minutes. Add a bit of the soaking liquid from the chilies pot to achieve the right consistency. Return the mole to a pot on the stove to keep warm, adding more soaking liquid or hot water to thin if mole starts to thicken.

    To make the chicken:

    Sprinkle each side of the chicken thigh fillets with salt. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook on each side until slightly browned. Add enough beer to barely cover the chicken, cover and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Allow to simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and shred with two forks.

    Fill warm tortillas with shredded chicken, and cheese, roll and place 3 or four on each plate. Top with mole sauce, mexican crema and green onions.

    Chocolate Beer Cheesecake With A Pretzel Crust

    Choosing a beer for a recipe isn’t as arbitrary as it may appear. It also isn’t difficult, but it does require thought and planning. Substituting your favorite beer in a recipe isn’t always a good idea, and may result in an end product that is nowhere near the intentions of the recipes author.

    Where do you start? The recipe or the beer?

    A fair question, and it’s a toss up. Which ever way you begin, the recipe or the beer, make sure to be mindful of the flavors. Dark beers go well with "dark" recipes. If that beer you want to cook with is a stout, look for a recipe that calls for "dark" ingredients: chocolate, beef, bacon, etc. If the beer you love is a Pilsner, look for a recipe with "light" ingredients, lemon, chicken, fish, etc. There is some room to move around with this rule, but finding complimentary flavors is the key to success when cooking with beer.

    Be careful with IPA’s. It’s incredibly difficult to cook with high hop beers due to the fact that the hops reduce to a very bitter product. If you are in love with an IPA, or another high hop beer, strong starches and sugar mellow hops a bit. Try a pumpkin muffin, or a sweet potato pie. Or look for recipes where the beer won’t be reduced, like marinades, beermixology cocktails, or dips.

    If the recipe is where you want to start, make note of the flavors and try to find a beer that mimics those. If you want to bake a chocolate dessert, for example, look for a beer with chocolate notes, or coffee, or malt. Look at the list of flavor notes that the beer has and try to imagine those in your dish. Most large chain retailers of craft beer (like BevMo or Total Wine) have cards near the beers that explain the flavors in that beer and give you a fairly accurate flavor profile. If you are making a chicken soup, for instance, you might look for a beer with lemon or basil notes, not a beer with coffee and caramel notes.

    Now that you have had your crash course in beer recipe development, please, go cook your beer loving hearts out. And don’t forget to share.

    For this recipe, I choose Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot. I had four craft beers, mostly stouts, that were in the running for this recipe, and all would have made great choices. In the end, it came down to a gut feeling. Lagunitas WTF won out, although loosly categories as a "brown? ale" and more hops that I would generally recommend for this recipe, the flavors of chocolate and malt were an incredible fit for this recipe. This is a beer to keep an eye out for, it’s smooth and bold and fantastic. A fabulous drinking and cooking beer.

    A chocolate stout makes an excellent choice for this recipe as well. I’ve made it with both and although I love the WTF, a chocolate stout seems to give more consistent results as far as a general beer style.

    If you can’t get your grubby little hands on some WTF, a stout with notes of chocolate would make a great substitution.

    Chocolate Beer Cheesecake With A Pretzel Crust

    Chocolate Beer Cheesecake With A Pretzel Crust


    For the Crust:

    • 4 standard sized graham crackers
    • 1 cup pretzel rods
    • 2 tbs brown sugar
    • 3 tbs melted butter unsalted

    For the filling:

    • 7 oz dark chocolate 60%
    • 1 cup Chocolate Stout or Laguanitas WTF
    • 3, 8 oz packages of cream cheese softened
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tbs flour
    • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/2 salt
    • 1 tbs espresso powder

    For the Sour Cream Topping:

    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tbs Lagunitas WTF


    • Place one oven rack in the middle position, with one rack below. Preheat oven to 325.
    • In a food processor add the graham crackers, brown sugar and the pretzels and process until it's the consistency of crumbs. Turn the food processor on, remove the stopper from the lid and slowly add the butter and process until it resembles wet sand.
    • Coat the inside of a 9 inch spring form pan with butter. Pour the crust into the spring form pan. Using the bottom of a heavy, flat bottom glass, press the crust very well into the bottom of the pan until well compacted.
    • In a pot over medium high heat, add the beer and the chocolate, stir until melted and remove from heat. Allow to cool.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the cream cheese and the sugar and mix until smooth. One at a time, add the eggs, scraping the bottom of the bowl between additions. Pour the cooled chocolate into the mixer and beat until well combined. Lift the head of the mixer and sprinkle the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt over the batter, stir on low speed until just combined.
    • Pour the batter into the pan over the crust.
    • Place the pan in the oven in the middle position. Place a baking dish on the rack below the cheesecake, fill with water.
    • If you have experience with a water bath, feel free to use that technique instead of the water pan below the cheesecake.
    • Bake the cheesecake until the center just slightly jiggles, but doesn't slosh, when you shake the rack, about 60-75 minutes. This isn't a situation where a tooth pick inserted in the middle should come out clean, you just need the center to set and it will continue to set as it cools. Remove from oven.
    • For the sour cream topping: add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Top the cheesecake with the sour cream topping and return to the oven for 8 minutes. Remove cheesecake and chill in the pan until ready to serve, at least 3 hours.

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    Chocolate Porter Beer Tart With Porter Whipped Cream

    The creaminess of chocolate pairs so well with a well crafted porter. For this tart I used Firestone Walker Reserve Porter, it has the perfect balance of flavors for this recipe with notes of chocolate, coffee, caramel and a touch of a citrus taste. You also want to use a really well made chocolate, because, like beer, craft chocolate has well developed flavors that can’t be matched by the "Macro" chocolatiers. I used Sharffen Berger 62% Semi Sweet chocolate for the perfect balance of richness and sweetness.

    I’m a sucker for a well made dark beer, and this recipe pairs well with the cold bottle of Porter.

    I also made a porter whipped cream, with a rich smooth sweetness and notes of dark beer, you’ll want to eat this right out of the mixing bowl.

     Chocolate Porter Beer Tart

    For the crust:

    1 cup crushed chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate graham crackers (NOT chocolate covered)

    1 tbs brown sugar

    3 tbs melted butter

    For the filling:

    2 (16 oz) cups semi sweet chocolate (Like Scharffen Berger 62%), broken into chunks

    1 1/2 (12 tbs) sticks of butter

    1/2 cup heavy cream

    1 cup porter beer (I used Firestone Walkers Reserve Porter)

    1/4 cup powdered sugar (plus additional 1/4 cup if desired)

    For the porter whipped cream:

    1 cup heavy cream

    2/3 cup powdered sugar

    2 tbs porter beer (I used Firestone Walkers Reserve Porter)

    Preheat oven to 350.

    In a food processor, add the chocolate wafer cookies and brown sugar. Pulse until nothing remains but fine crumbs. While the food processor is still running, remove the spout stopper and slowly add the melted butter. Process until it resembles wet sand.

    Press very firmly into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan (or tart pan with removable bottom) that has been sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray.

    Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until tart crust starts to look dry and you can smell it cooking. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

    In a double boiler add the chocolate and the butter, stir over medium-high heat until chocolate has melted. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can place a metal bowl over a pot that has a few inches of water at the bottom. Make sure that the bottom of the metal bowl does not touch the water in the pot.

    Add the beer and stir until combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the cream and stir to combine. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of powdered sugar over the chocolate and whisk until combined. I like my desserts on the bitter side, as I suspect a lot of you beer lovers do as well. The sweetness level of this dessert will depend on the type of beer you use as well as the level of sweetness you enjoy. Taste the chocolate and decide weather or not you want it sweeter and add additional sugar accordingly.

    Pour chocolate in the spring form pan over the curst. Chill until set, about 4 hours.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream, 2/3 cup powdered sugar and 2 tbs of porter. Whip on high until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

    Once the tart has set, remove the sides of the spring for pan (or tart pan) and serve topped with whipped cream.

    Irish Beer Brownies With Mint Sour Cream Frosting

    This week will be full of recipes for Guinness. Although I will always favor local craft beer, I do harbor a soft spot for Ireland and their World Famous Brewery. Just out of college I scraped together enough money to put myself on a flight from LAX to Dublin.  I landed in Ireland on a drizzly morning, jet lagged and confused. I had no idea where to go, or how to get there. Before I really knew what was happening, I was being dragged though the streets of Dublin by a charming Irishman, clad in a newsboy cap and green wool sweater.  Through his thick accent I was able to discern that he was taking me to a youth hostel at the foot of the Guinness brewery.  Once we arrived at our destination, he said goodbye with a smile and a cheerful wave and he was on his way, leaving me to realized that this kind stranger had walked at least a mile in the wrong direction just to make sure I found a bed for the evening.

    Although most of you will be breaking out the famous Irish Stout this weekend, I will be sticking with beer brewed a little closer to home. Rogue Brewery makes several beers that would be perfect for this recipe, including the Chocolate Stout, the Double Chocolate Stout, or even the Hazelnut Brown Nectar, I choose to go with the Mocha Porter although the idea of the Irish Lager almost drew me in.

    Whatever you decide to consume on St. Patrick’s day, just remember:

    Good beer does not need green food dye.

    Drink well.

    Irish Beer Brownies With Mint Sour Cream Frosting

    For the brownies:

    12 ounces dark beer, such as Rouge Mocha Porter

    1 stick unsalted butter

    10 ounces dark chocolate

    3 whole eggs plus 2 additional egg whites

    1 1/2 cups sugar

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 cup flour

    For the Mint Sour Cream Frosting:

    2 sticks of butter, softened

    1/2 cup sour cream

    2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

    1/2 tsp mint extract

    In a sauce pan over medium high heat, cook the beer until reduced to about 3/4 of a cup, about 10 minutes.

    Add the butter, stir until melted. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the eggs, additional whites and sugar. Beat on high until very light and frothy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. While the mixer is still on high, slowly add the chocolate mixture in a slow stream. Once about half the chocolate mixture has been added to the egg mixture, dump the remaining chocolate into the stand mixer allowing to mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir on low until just combined, don’t over mix once the flour has been added or your brownies will be tough.

    Generously spray a 9×12 inch glass baking dish with butter flavored cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until the surface of the brownies begin to look dry and cracked and a tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

    Make the frosting:

    Softened butter is important to this process. If you use cold butter your frosting will have the consistency of ground beef, but melted butter will give you frosting that is too soft.

    Add the softened butter and the sour cream to a stand mixer and beat until well combined. Add the sugar and beat on low until the sugar is mostly mixed in. Add the mint and beat on high until frosting is light and fluff.

    Allow the brownies to cool before frosting.

    Steak With Stout Beer Mushroom Sauce

    Let’s start by talking a little bit about steak, and how to cook it at home. Before you even start your meal, you need to know how to buy steak and what those stickers on the package mean.

    If you are lucky enough to be cozy with your local butcher, you can disregard this next bit of trivia. If you buy your steaks at the grocery store, you’ll need to know this in order to get an amazing steak on to your dinner plate.

    While I’m the first in line to let everyone know that cheap cuts of meat can turn in to fantastic meals, this is not a dish that will give you memorable results with low quality beef. You must spend on steak.

    That being said, the most expensive cuts of meat aren’t always worth the price but knowing how to decipher the labeling will help you balance price vs quality.

    Prime, Choice, and Select.

    Prime is the best meat for that cut and will, most likely, taste the best once cooked, but it almost always cost the most.

    Don’t even bother with Select, it’s the lowest quality of meat. Unless you are a "well-done" steak person, then it doesn’t really matter, an overcooked piece of meat taste the same regardless of quality.

    Choice is a great option and a middle ground between price and quality if you are on a budget. It’s far better than Select, but not as expensive as Prime.

    Don’t fall for the “Inspected by USDA” sticker, all meat is inspected by the USDA and that sticker just means that quality was so poor, it didn’t even qualify for a "Select" sticker. If there is no indication if the meat is Prime, Choice or Select, the odds are that the meat didn’t meet standards for any of those categories. In other words: don’t buy an unmarked steak.

    Another important step in pan-searing a steak at home is removing excess moisture from the outside of the steak. I know that it seems counter-intuitive to remove moisture when the goal is a juicy steak, but this is the only way to get a good sear and avoid gray meat. Pat the steak dry with paper towels before seasoning it.

    Salt is another essential component in making steak, regardless of the cooking method. Salt the outside of your meat generously. This will tenderize the steak, brighten, and enhance the natural flavors. Without it, your meat will be slightly tougher and have much more of a "flat" taste to it.

    A hot pan and a 350°F degree oven is the combination that you need to achieve a crust on the outside and the perfect amount of pink on the inside of the steak.

    For the mushrooms sauce, I used Steelhead Extra Stout by Mad River Brewing. A smooth, creamy stout with a surprisingly light finish. A stout lover’s dream, a great beer to drink with dinner or dessert.

    Pan-Seared Steak with Stout Beer Mushroom Sauce

    Doneness is a hard thing to explain, but there are several ways to know if your steak is where you want it to be without the dreaded slice through the middle that will compromise your overall results.

    First, there is the temperature check, but this does require a stab to your meat which will allow some juices to flow out, but far less than cutting it open. Get out an oven-safe thermometer and push it halfway through the middle of your steak. Keep in mind that your meat will continue to cook an additional 5 degrees once remove from the oven so keep that in mind when your test the temperature, removing the meat about 5 degrees before it reaches the level you want it.

    126°F Rare
    131°F Medium Rare
    145°F Medium
    154°F Medium Well

    The second way is the feel test. This is what I use, and if you cook enough steak, you will be familiar with how your steaks feel once they are done. Here is an old line cook secret to understanding how a steak should feel once it’s done:

    Put your thumb and forefinger together. With your other hand, feel the fleshy part of your palm, just below your thumb. That is what a rare steak will feel like. Then put your thumb and middle finger together. The fleshy part of your palm will now feel medium-rare. Thumb and ring finger: medium-well. This is a way to get the doneness you want without having the unsightly cut marks in your beautiful steak.

    Here is a great article about the feel test, with pictures of what I’m talking about.

    Allow your steak to rest for five minutes while you finish the sauce.

    Top each steak with mushroom sauce, serve with stout beer.

    Steak With Stout Beer Mushroom Sauce

    Servings 4 servings


    For The Steak:

    • 1 tbs unsalted butter
    • 4, 6 oz Steaks
    • Salt and pepper for seasoning

    For the Mushroom Sauce:

    • 3 tbs butter
    • 1/4 cup shallots chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic minced
    • 4 cups Crimini mushrooms sliced
    • 2 tbs olive oil if necessary
    • 1 cup Stout Beer
    • 1/2 cup beef broth
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar


    • Preheat oven to 350.
    • In a pan over medium heat, melt 3 tbs butter. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and stir. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft and dark brown, about 5 minutes. Add the olive oil if the pan starts to get dry. If you add the beer before the mushrooms are cooked through, they will absorb too much of the beer flavor.
    • Reduce heat to medium and add the beer and broth, allow to cook until reduce by more than half, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. You can cook the steaks while the sauce is reducing (see below).
    • Once the sauce has reduced, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
    • Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel, and season all sides generously with salt. Sprinkle liberally with pepper.
    • In a sperate pan, heat 1 tbs butter until melted and the pan is very hot but not smoking. Add the steaks and cook on each side until a brown seared crust has formed, about 2 minutes per side. Don't crowd the pan or the the cooking temperature will fall below what the steaks need for a good sear. Cook in two batches if necessary. Move steaks to a sheet pan or baking dish.
    • Cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until desired level of doneness. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.


    Chipotle Stout Braised Beef Tacos With Fresh Pico De Gallo

    I love the huge array of flavors that we now have in our Craft Beers. Chipotle? Yes please. Coffee? Couldn’t live without it. Both of these flavors, along with the fact that beer is a natural meat tenderizer make this Black Phoenix Chipotle Coffee Stout the perfect beer for the job of making tacos.

    Bootleggers Brewery makes this fabulous taco braising liquid that also doubles as a smooth drinking Stout Beer. Pretty handy. If you can’t seem to get your hands on this stuff, and I DO recommend that you try, look for a dark stout that has spicy or coffee notes. This is no task for a pale ale.

    Chipotle Stout Braised Beef Tacos With Fresh Pico De Gallo

    Chipotle Stout Braised Beef Tacos With Fresh Pico De Gallo


    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 2 lb Tri Tip Roast
    • 1 Large Bottle 1 pint, 6 oz Dark Stout such as Bootleggers Black Phoneix
    • 1/2 cup beef broth
    • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
    • 1 large white onion peeled and quartered
    • 2 large Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce chopped, plus 1 tbs Adobo sauce
    • 12 6 inch tortillas

    For the Pico De Gallo:

    • 1 large jalapeno stem and seeds removed, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
    • 2 tbs lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup tomatoes chopped
    • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped


    • In a large pot or cast iron enamel dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Sprinkle the roast on all side with salt and pepper. Sear the meat on all sides until browned, about 4 minutes per side.
    • Add beer and broth, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Stir in the garlic, onions, chilies and adobo sauce, add the lid at a vent.
    • Allow to simmer until fork tender and falling apart, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. During the cooking process, turn the meat over about every 30 minutes. If the liquid in the pot gets low, and too thick, add additional beer or hot water.
    • Once the meat is done, shred in the pot using two forks, remove any large pieces of fat that have not rendered. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.
    • While the meat is cooking, make the Pico De Gallo by placing all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
    • Remove meat from pot, serve inside tortillas, covered with Pico De Gallo.

    I use these beer corn tortillas

    Chocolate, Bacon & Porter Muffins

    There is something mysterious and alluring about Alaska. Beautiful landscapes pushing past a transcendental, white washed façade. I’ll even forgive her the birth of ignorant, poorly spoken, female politicians to glimpse the majesty of the Aurora Borealis. It just may be because of this enchanted terrain that the beer seems to have a prestigious eminence. The water is clearer and more ethereal, giving rise to a superior scaffolding for the detailed flavors put forth in Alaskan craft beer.

    The Alaskan Brewing Smoked Porter has a bold, creamy, smoked profile that bridges the flavors of bacon and chocolate in these muffins. The savory sweet interplay works well for breakfast or dessert, or anytime in between.

    Chocolate, Bacon & Porter Muffins

    Chocolate, Bacon & Porter Muffins

    Servings 8


    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 cup flour
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 3/4 cup Smoked Porter
    • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
    • 3 strips of bacon cooked, chopped
    • Preheat oven to 400.


    • Preheat oven to 400.
    • In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and smoked paprika, whisk until well combined.
    • In a separate bowl, beat the egg and the oil. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg/oil, chocolate chips and the beer. Stir until combined.
    • Spray muffin tins with butter flavored cooking spray (or line with muffin papers). Add the batter to the muffin tins until about 2/3 full. Top with the chopped bacon, evenly distributed between the muffin tins.
    • Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.

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    Chocolate Stout Cake With Porter Ganache & Beer Brown Sugar Buttercream

    I’m going to start this post by telling you that I am biased. That being said and out of the way:

    The West Coast of the United States has the best beer in the world. At least, it has the highest concentration of fantastic craft breweries.

    I used two old favorites for this post. Black Butte Porter, from Descutes Brewery and Chocolate Stout from one of my favorites Breweries, Bison.

    Of course there are other fantastic beers all over the world, and all over this fantastic beer loving country of ours, but the West Coast is like a Mecca. There are just so many all up and down the coast.

    Now if someone will just organize a Beer Tour, we can all take 6 months out of our lives to travel up and down the Pacific Coast and drink ourselves silly with incredible craft beer. You get on that, I’m waiting.

    Chocolate Stout Cake with Beer Brown Sugar Butter Cream Filling & Porter Ganache

    Chocolate Stout Cake with Beer Brown Sugar Butter Cream Filling & Porter Ganache


    For the Cake:

    • 3 cup flour
    • 1 tbs baking powder
    • 2 tsp baking soda
    • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 2 sticks 16 tbs unsalted butter
    • 2 cup sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/2 cup 2 3.5 oz bars 72% dark chocolate, chopped
    • 1 1/2 cup Chocolate Stout
    • 1 cup of brewed coffee cooled

    For The Filling (Buttercream):

    • 1/2 cup beer
    • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
    • 12 tbs of butter softened
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 cup powdered sugar

    For The Ganache:

    • 2 cups of dark chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cups of Blake Butte Porter
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream



    • Preheat the oven to 350.
    • Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and the cocoa powder in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg, scraping the bottom of the bowl between additions.
    • In a microwave safe bowl, add the 72% chocolate. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Repeat until the chocolate is melted.
    • Add the melted chocolate to the sugar/egg mixture and blend well. While the mixer is on a medium-low setting, add the stout and then the coffee, continue to combine until well mixed, then add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined.
    • Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Bake for between 25 and 35 minutes (for cupcakes about 18 minutes) or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from oven and allow to cool.


    • Place the beer in a microwave safe bowl, heat on high until very hot, add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter (must be softened to room temperature or it will not work), salt and powdered sugar, beat until combined. Add the brown sugar mixture and mix slowly until mostly combined, then turn the mixer on high and then whip until the frosting is fluffy and well combined.


    • Place chocolate chips in a heat safe bowl. In a pot on the stove, add the heavy cream and the beer and cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly, stirring frequently, about 5-8 minutes. Pour the cream/beer over the chocolate chips and stir until well combined. Place in the fridge and allow to cool until slightly below room temperature.
    • Assembly:
    • Place the first layer of your cake on a a cake plate. Top with your brown sugar butter cream. Add the second cake layer. Pour the warm ganache over the top and allow it to run down the sides. Spread with a knife if necessary.

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    Beer Braised Pulled Pork

    There is nothing new about braising with beer. In fact,  it should be the standard. Beer, as with all alcohol, is a natural meat tenderizer but it’s the flavors of the beer that make for braise meat that has a truly special taste. Craft brews are known for more intense flavor profiles and will always produce a vastly superior product when cooking than a macro brew. Craft beer is truly that, a craft. I have had a soft spot for Rogue brewery for years. Rogue is beer lovers beer, and dedicated to the art of the craft. Actual real life people making really good beer. If you live on the West Coast, this Portland Oregon brewery’s beer is probably at your local grocery store. It’s one of the few great craft beers that I have a very easy time getting my hands on.

    What does braising mean? What a good question. Braising just means to sear meat at a very high heat and then cook it slowly at a low heat until cooked through. I used another amazing craft beer for this recipe. Rogue’s Chipolte Ale:


    Beer Braised Pulled Pork


    • 1 tbs kosher salt
    • 2 tbs brown sugar
    • 1 tbs onion powder
    • 1 tbs chili powder
    • 1 tbs ground cumin
    • 1 tbs black pepper
    • 2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
    • 3.5 lb Pork butt It’s acctually the pigs shoulder, and sometimes called that. The actual butt is called Ham.
    • 6 cloves of garlic peeled
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 cups Chipotle ale or smoked porter (I used Rogue’s Chipotle Ale)


    • In a small bowl stir together the salt, brown sugar onion powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, smoked paprika and mustard powder together until combined, set aside.
    • Take out your pork and stab 6, 2 inch deep holes fairly evenly spaced through the meat. Push a clove of garlic into each hole until no longer visible.
    • Rub the entire surface of the meat with the spice mixture, using it all.
    • In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until very hot. Sear all surfaces of the meat, even the sides, until browned. The entire process will probably take about 10-15 minutes.Pour the beer over the meat, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning the meat over about every 30 minutes, until the meat is tender and falling apart.
    • Once the meat is finished, remove from the pot and allow to cool. Use two forks to shred into pieces. Return to the braising liquid and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and discard the liquid.



    I used this meat in three ways, on italian bread as a delicious sandwich, over rice and beans, and in a burrito. Other ideas for pulled pork include:

    Pulled pork nachos

    Pulled pork sliders

    Pulled pork tacos

    Pulled pork enchiladas

    Pulled pork flatbread pizza

    Pulled pork hand pies

    Seriously, you could go all Bubba Gump about this and it would be endless. There is no shortage of uses for Pulled Pork.