Guest Post: Ready, Set, Cook with Booze!

I came across a guest post of Jake’s on home brewing a while back while reading one of my favorite craft beer blogs, The ALEHEADS.  I added a comment to his post and a few days later Jake reached out and asked if I’d be interested in having him do a guest post over here.  Seems he’s been doing more than just brewing beer in his kitchen, he’s been cooking with it as well (not all that uncommon for many of us).  I’m infamous around here for my Unholy Hand Grenades – matzo balls cooked in Stone Smoked Porter then wrapped in bacon and roasted.  A favorite with my twisted friends but not so much with the rabbinical set.  When he mentioned that one of his recipes was called Mikes Hard Lime Pad Thai I was too intrigued to say anything other than “write it up and I’ll put it up” (or something like that).  Anyway, without further nonsense…..

Cooking with Booze

Author Bio: Jake Metzler spends his time at Midwest Supplies and writing about it to trying to make some money. He also enjoys learning about new and old brewing techniques.

I’ve been brewing my own beer for a couple of years, and I think the only reason I stuck with it is because I love to cook. Don’t get me wrong, I love beer. But my first foray into

When in doubt, pour

When in doubt, pour

making my own, well… it wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible, but if I had thought that all my beers would taste like that, I wouldn’t have made any more.

But I like to think of myself as a kitchen scientist, so I continued to experiment until I got something that I was proud to share with buddies. Brewing is cooking in a sense; you just end up with a drink instead of food.

Besides cooking my alcohol, I like to cook with alcohol. I know that often the alcohol burns off, but it can add some great flavor. I’ve experimented with the usual; stout stews, beer batters, red wine spaghetti sauces. But there are a couple recipes I’ve played with that I’m pretty proud of.

Irish Cream Waffles

I’ve made beer batter pancakes before, but for some reason when I was out of milk and wanted to make waffles, I didn’t think of substituting beer. Instead, I scoured the house for any milk product I had. Baking cupboard: powdered milk? Nope. Evaporated milk: all gone. I had nothing.

But the cupboard I keep my baking supplies in has another very important item in it. Liquor. I had Bailey’s Irish Cream! That would substitute for milk, right?

Well, kind of. Cream is obviously thicker than milk so I had to add some water to the batter. But I loved the flavor and will definitely be experimenting with the recipe some more. Plus, it’s a great way to work a kick into a weekend breakfast.

Mike’s Hard Lime Pad Thai

I admit, when I came up with this idea, my whole goal was to find a new recipe with alcohol in it. I was being cheap and trying to use stuff I already had and wouldn’t mind pouring into my food instead of straight into my liver.

I had some vodka, but that didn’t really inspire any ideas. I looked in the fridge and saw a couple of stout beers and… Mike’s Hard Limeade (don’t judge).

I started to think of things that have lime in them. I considered a chicken marinade, but I wasn’t sure how the carbonation would do in a marinade. Then I thought of pad thai, which often has a peanut butter sauce with lime juice and sugar in it. I figured the Mike’s could substitute for the lime and the sugar. And since I was pretty sure none of that 6% alcohol content could stand up to any heat, I decided to soak some shrimp in it and throw those on at the last minute (so I did some marinating after all).

As much as I like to cook, I don’t really follow recipes (except when brewing) so my pad thai dishes are always a jumble of rice noodles and whatever veggies I have around – snap peas, mushrooms, bell peppers. Basically a random stirfry with a peanut butter sauce. I always throw the typical Asian flavors into the sauce as well: soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

It actually turned out really well! I threw some more of the Mike’s in at the very end just to make sure the lime flavor didn’t get lost. It came through wonderfully.

If you’re anything like Jake (or me) you’ve probably poured an adult beverage into the pan as well.  Chime in with your booze cooking adventures and misadventures.



The Evolving of a Craft Beer Geek (or “How I’ve Learned to be More Tolerant”)

Craft Beer with a View

Craft Beer with a View

About four and a half years ago I wrote and posted a not so short essay describing my journey to craft beer geekdom.  Soon after that I stopped blogging (despite the fact that one of my craft beer idols, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing, actually took the time to read it and posted a complimentary comment).  Plenty of good reasons got in the way of my writing (some less than good ones snuck in there as well) but my “research” and enjoyment of craft beer, the industry and, more importantly, the people involved with it continued.

Now that I’ve started blogging again I thought it would be a good idea (and maybe fun) to go back and re-read the Crafting of a Craft Beer Geek post to see if anything has changed since I wrote it.  Do I still agree with it?  Are the points or observations still valid?  What did I miss?  What’s Next?

One thing occurred to me right away.  I did miss something.  I had to have missed a lot of somethings to have written that whole thing all by myself (which I’m pretty sure I did).  I know I attended and participated in the birth of all three of our children so at least I didn’t miss any of that.  Lesson learned: only write posts that don’t require 2 bombers or other large format bottles to get through.  With that in mind, here are a few look-back observations and updates to that infamous post:

  • I must have thought I was going to win a prize for the longest sentence and longest average sentence.  James Joyce would have been proud.  My high school English teachers would have fainted.  My college creative composition professor is still at the front of the class doing an adaptation of Ben Stein’s “Beuller….Beuller…?”
  • I’m up to about 1,500 craft beers tasted and about 750 reviewed (still slacking there)
  • Anchor Steam still has a place in my craft beer fridge.  Fat tire not so much.
  • I finally made the pilrgimage  to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens.
  • That grown up version of the “safe tree” is still in Scottsdale/Sedona though the forest of safe trees now includes Papago Brewing, Four Peaks, Old Town Tavern, The Yard House & Stone Rose at the Princess.
  • I finally began home brewing with Honey Badger IPA as chronicled in New Jersey Monthly Magazine.

Most importantly, I’ve found that I was right about my parting observation back then.  It’s still not about the beer.  It’s about the craft beer people like the group at Just The Booze Dancing and the people that make up the vibrant craft beer culture (fans, writers, brewers, bar owners) in places like Philly, Austin, San Diego, Asheville & the next great craft beer scene, wherever that might be.

Oh, and if you do plan to click over and read the original post, have a Stone Double Bastard in hand.