BEER: It’s What’s for Dinner (Numbers 3, 4, & 5)

Things are getting fast and furious in Endless Simmer’s quest to use beer in 100 different dishes. After an off-list detour for Corona cupcakes, we’re back this week and crossing three items off the agenda: beer cornbread, beer-marinated pork, and chocolate beer milkshakes!

Last week, I embarked on a beerfeast of epic proportions. My plans consisted of a four-course meal; each course cooked with beer and paired with a different beer. I got through my week mostly by dreaming up the menu: pork loin marinated in an IPA, mashed potatoes with a brown ale gravy, cornbread with a wheat beer, and milk stout milkshakes.

When the end of the week finally came around (and the drinking began) the menu got downsized a bit, quickly falling from a beerfeast to a dinner with some things made of beer, but not all the beers I wanted to make them with. The pork ended up being marinated in a brown ale, which the friend who brewed it proudly called a “piece of shit.” Mashed potatoes and gravy didn’t even happen, after I asked another drunken pal to peel potatoes and found that ending horribly wrong.

Fortunately, I made the cornbread in advance, and when I reached my peak in drunkenness later on in the night, I was still well able to whip up the milk stout shakes. And of course, while we were beginning our beveraging, we did brew an IPA. So in the end, I still had a fairly epic beer dinner, reaching a new record of three items from my beholden list.

1. The Appetizer: Wheat Berry Cornbread

After enjoying the savory aspect of beer bread, I wanted to try the sweet. My wheat brew started as a typical wheat beer recipe, but then I added a bag of frozen blueberries and frozen mixed berries to my secondary fermenter in the last three days of fermentation.

The cornbread was made from scratch. I baked the bread in a loaf pan, which caused the baking time to increase and may have resulted in drying the bread out a bit. Were I to do it again, I would add oil and cook it in a shallow pan, hopefully decreasing cooking time and also making it a bit more moist. But even a little dry, the cornbread may have actually been my favorite part of the meal. Heat it up and add some butter and it’s a sweet and salty treat.

Berry Wheat Brew

– 2 cans (3.3 lbs) Wheat liquid malt extract
– ½ lb. crystal 20 L
– 2 oz. hallertauer hops
– Last three days of secondary fermentation, add at least one frozen bag of mixed berries (pasteurize before adding to the brew)

Wheat Berry Cornbread

Fresh blueberries
1 cup flour
1.5 cup cornmeal
½ cup milk
12 oz. berry wheat beer
1 egg
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix dry ingredients, then add wet and mix together. Add to greased pan.

Cook for 20 minutes if shallow pan or 45 minutes to an hour if in a loaf pan.

2. The Main Meal: Brown Ale Marinated Pork

Here’s where most of my bitterness comes in (no pun intended). My plan (and my friend who brewed the other beers knew this) was to marinate the pork in his IPA. The IPA he brewed was particularly hoppy and kind of floral — which I believe would go well with a simple rub, bringing out the spices and giving the pork a good flavor. BUT, others planned on drinking the IPA, so we were forced to use the brown ale instead.

I was determined, so onward to the marinade. I poured a 16-oz. bottle of brown ale homebrew into a freezer bag, put the pork loins in with it, and let it sit in the fridge for a little over an hour.  Generally, I believe that pork is pretty dull, but the brown ale added a buttery taste (molasses was in the brew) that was good with the rub.

Brown Ale Pork

Rub the pork loins with salt, pepper and your favorite rub. Use your hands and get in there.

Place pork in a freezer bag, pour in 12 oz. of an IPA (or brown ale in my case) and let the bag (sealed) sit in the fridge for about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Put the pork in an oven-safe dish with a little water on the bottom. Cover.

Cook for 30-40 minutes (or until the center of the meat is 145°F); uncover for the last 5-10 minutes to crisp the outside.

3. Dessert: Milk Stout Chocolate Shakes

Finally, at the peak of the night, I decided to make dessert.  We were munching on pretzels throughout the night and there was about a handful left at the bottom of the bag. The drunken part of me made the obvious executive decision to throw the pretzels in the blender with the chocolate ice cream, milk, and milk stout beer. Odds are at this point you are either intrigued or disgusted. At the party, I would say half of the diners were intrigued; the other half wanted nothing to do with my courageous recipe. The disgusted half was wrong. And yes, I called this “recipe” courageous.

I poured a 16-oz. bottle of the milk stout into the blended drink. The beer taste was subtle, but it was there. The malty taste of the milk stout really went well with the chocolate ice cream and the saltiness of the pretzels. The pretzels were ground so fine that you could taste the pretzel in the drink, but didn’t have any crunch or grittiness.

This is a shake I’ll definitely make again and will experiment with in the future. Making it a malt shake may add a bit of a twist, and I’m wondering how peanut butter would work in there. Maybe peanut butter cups?

Milk Stout Chocolate Pretzel Shakes

Homebrewed Milk Stout: You can find recipes for a milk stout here or get a kit at your local homebrew store.

Chocolate Ice Cream
Peanut butter cups?

Blend all.

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