Archive | December, 2009

Alaskan Brewing cookbook a company affair

Alaskan Brewing Co., which has long featured recipes in his newsletters and on its web site, has released its first cookbook.

Cooking with Alaskan Beer is a compilation of 101 recipes created and perfected by the employees, family and friends of Alaskan Brewing.

For the last 20 years, the brewery has hosted a friendly competition known as the Brew Crew and Investor Cook-off. In the early years, the crew and investors decided to celebrate the coming winter season with a potluck and a challenge to create best recipe using an Alaskan beer. As the years passed, friendly rivalries developed and local chefs and food enthusiasts were brought in to judge the recipes.

One of the perennial cook-off judges, Stefani “Chef Stef” Marnon, leant her culinary expertise to narrow down and edit the several hundred crew recipes to 101. “We searched through and tested hundreds of creative and delicious recipes to create this collection,” she said. “Which means we have hundreds more to include in future editions.”

“Seeing our recipes in print was really exciting,” said Alaskan production assistant Tom West, whose family has several recipes included in Cooking with Alaskan Beer. “It will definitely add a more competitive edge to next year’s Cook-Off.”

Cooking with Alaskan Beer is available for purchase at the Alaskan brewery and Hearthside Books in Juneau, or at the brewery’s online Gear Store.

Here’s one of the recipes from the book:

Halibut Enchiladas
1 1/2 pounds halibut, 1 inch cubs
6 ounces Alaskan Amber
1/3 chopped onion
3-ounce can diced green chiles
16 ounces sour cream
shredded cheddar and mozzarella
flour tortillas
10-ounce can enchilada sauce
12-ounce can tomato soup
1/2 diced tomato
your favorite hot sauce

Pour Alaskan Amber over raw halibut in a bowl and allow to soak for approximately 1 hour. In a saute pan, poach halibut in beer until halibut flakes apart – do not overcook. Drain beer and add onions, chiles and sour cream. Steam tortillas and fill with mixture, roll-up, put in pan. Mix enchilada sauce, tomato soup, diced tomato, cilantro and pour over tortillas then cover with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with hot sauce, salsa and sour cream.

Buy the blacksmith a beer

Tavern Puzzles are reproductions of a type of puzzle traditionally forged by blacksmiths to amuse their friends at country taverns and inns. Keeping with tradition, a museum-trained blacksmith from Long Island has reproduced some of these antique designs as well as his own original designs.

So many beers to choose from

A Baltimore Sun tasting panel takes on winter, a.k.a. Christmas, beers, trying a whomping 59 of them.

The bottled beers were divided into three geographic groups: those brewed in Belgium, those brewed in America and those brewed in Britain. All bottles were cloaked in brown paper bags of uncertain origin. We tasted the Belgians first because they are traditionally the richest brews with the highest alcohol content.

It turned out than an American Ommegang Adoration, at 10 percent alcohol volume, packed the biggest alcohol wallop of our preferred brews. But the Belgians were definitely the sweetest. The Americans were a diverse group: There were some stouts, some ales with spice, some without. The ones that worked for us were ones that negotiated the tricky terrain of balancing rich flavors. The Brits were dry and witty.

Their favorite from Belgium was Corsendonk Christmas Ale, from Britain was Ridegeway Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout, and four beers tied for the top American spot. Those were Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Great Divide Hibernation Ale and Clipper City Heavy Seas Winter Storm.

The truth about Christmas beers

Joe Stange gets to the real story behind Christmas beers in Belgium: That the country’s brewers don’t have a tradition going back to the 19th century. “What I think is that Belgian brewers have been influenced by English brewers following World War I,” brewing historian (and brewer) Yvan DeBaets tells him in DRAFT magazine.

There are plenty now and Stange offers a list labeled the 10 most interesting.

Here I take a stand and honor 10 Belgian beers that follow a different path. If they are spiced, they are subtle. If they are sweet, they are complex. If they are strong, they are excellent. These are beers that break the mold and set a high standard. Few are easily available, if at all, outside of Belgium.

But if you look close you’ll spot a few available on this side of the Atlantic.

The best coasters come with free beer

Free Beer Coaster Narragansett, which has long included rebus puzzles under its bottle caps, is giving away limited edition ‘Gansett coasters that give drinkes a chance to win free beer or a trip to Florida.

Now through Dec. 31, participating retailers will hand out a set of limited-edition ‘Gansett coasters featuring holiday rebuses (picture/word puzzles) with the purchase of a 12-pack. Hidden within these coaster puzzles are 100 chances to win “Free Beer for a Year” and one grand prize of a Ft. Myers Spring Training vacation.

Coasters are free with the purchase of any 12-pack (or two 6-packs) of ‘Gansett Lager, Light or Porter bottles at all major package stores throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

More information.