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Appetizer

Buttery Clams made with Pilsner

clams made with pilsner

My favorite method for cooking with pilsner is one of the simplest: in a big, buttery, three-ingredient pot of clams. Serve with crusty bread for dunking alongside a few chilled pilsners. You can make this recipe year-round, but it truly shines in spring and summer.

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Entree

Stout Infused Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

stout meatballs and tomato sauce

Hearty meatballs and homemade tomato sauce gain depth of flavor with a tipple of dark beer. Stout--with its soft hop character, round mouthfeel and pronounced malt backbone--is an excellent tool to have on hand for grounding a dish, both tempering the acidity of a bright tomato sauce and balancing the savory juiciness of good ground beef. I like to cook with a dry, Irish-style stout with black-olive notes, like the Boston Irish Stout from Harpoon Brewery. This isn't the time for high-octane imperial stouts or anything described as "coffee," "chocolate," or "oatmeal." Save those stouts for baking.

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Dessert

Spent Grain Granola

Spent Grain Granola Recipe

The first time I made spent grain granola was in County Cork, Ireland, three months into a cooking program on a 100-acre working farm. A friend of mine was a brewer from New Zealand, and we spent most of American Thanksgiving homebrewing a dry-hopped pale ale with elderflower in an Irish cottage surrounded by cows. This was my third time homebrewing: the beer wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. What was a standout was the toasty, chewy granola we made from the spent grain, baked with warming spices, dried fruit and dark maple syrup. We ate the granola with yogurt from the Jersey cows nearby, yogurt so fatty and tart the cream stuck to the lid in a cap of pale yellow. That granola was an extension of the first core tenet I learned in cooking and in farming: waste not.

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Entree

Burgers with Smashed Avocado & Beer-Battered Onion Rings

beer-battered onion rings

I usually go for red onions over white or yellow for these thin, crispy, beer-battered onion rings. I love the extra sweet-pungent wallop of acid that red onions carry. I also find that they hold their form better when heated, becoming tender-crisp instead of watery or limp. Naturally, keep some extra chilled pilsner or helles on hand for serving alongside.

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