People know about wine and food. The wine industry has done a fantastic job promoting food pairings and recipes that include wine as an ingredient. When I lived in Ontario, I used to get a monthly box of wine from Hillebrand Estates Winery that included two bottles of wine along with suggested recipes that paired with, or incorporated, the included wines.
But what about beer? Beer goes with food, too. Craft breweries aren’t shy about giving suggestions on what food to pair with different beer styles, even going as far as to print it on the labels. Unfortunately the industry, from a total sales standpoint, is still dominated by macro brews that don’t give a whit about food pairing or cooking. So, in spite of the efforts of craft producers, the overall alcohol-with-food perception is skewed towards wine.
I think this is changing. Craft beer is growing, and more people are becoming aware of the possibilities craft beer offers for cooking and food pairing. Two of the breweries I’ll be reviewing today, Cannery Brewing and Vancouver Island Brewery, have taken the step of including beer recipes on their websites. I love it!
Those who follow me on Twitter may have noticed me dipping my toes into the Cooking With Beer arena. Today I’m here to tell you some of the results.
I decided to start with something easy – Pancakes! I have a base recipe that I’ve been making for years so I know exactly what to expect from it. Here it is:
- 1 ⅓ Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 ¼ Cups Milk
- 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (Real Maple Syrup! I get this brought to me from Ontario whenever possible – Thanks Angela!)
So I take this base and make one small but important change. Instead of milk, I put in 1 ¼ Cup of beer! I went through my beer fridge and, over the span of a month, selected three different beers that I thought would translate well into a pancake recipe. Those beers were Vancouver Island Hermannator, Parallel 49 Ugly Sweater, and Cannery Brewing Maple Stout.
Batch #1 – Hermannator Pancakes
A favourite beer of mine, I was hoping some of the great subtle flavour in Hermannator would find its way through, but it didn’t really happen. It was good, of course, really good. But either I need to add more beer, or subtle flavours aren’t suited for beer pancakes. The recipe might need a retool to accommodate the particular qualities of this brew. 4 out of 5.
Batch #2 – Maple Stout Pancakes
This time I went with a beer with a very specific, huge flavour. And for breakfast, how can you go wrong with loads of maple? The answer is…you can’t. The maple really came through here, giving the pancakes a very sweet, maple taste. Excellent. 4.5 out of 5.
Batch #3 – Ugly Sweater Pancakes
Ugly Sweater doesn’t have a single, defining flavour like the Maple Stout, but it is very sweet, so I thought it would go nicely. It also helps that my significant other is a *big* fan of Ugly Sweater – she was going to be happy no matter what. The pancakes came out really nice, with a lot of sweetness, as expected. 4 out of 5.
All in all, I would consider my first Cooking With Beer experiment a great success. And I highly recommend everyone out there give it a try too.
Next up: Cookies!