A Visit to “Traditionally Irreverent” Laughing Monk Brewery

Laughing Monk Flight

Laughing Monk Brewery, in San Francisco, California, celebrates its first anniversary this year on St. Patrick’s Day. Brewers Jeff Moakler and Andrew Casteel are both avid beer aficionados, having traveled in Belgium and starting out through home brewing. Jeff has several medals under his belt and worked as a Head Brewer for BJ’s Brewhouse. Their idea for Laughing Monk is to brew Californian and Belgian beers using local, in season, ingredients. For those versed in Trappist beers, a few of these will be recognizable styles.

Their building is in the Bayview area of San Francisco — an artistic place to visit. Every building is painted in vivid, bold murals. As expected of a new craft brewery, the room is small but offers a friendly atmosphere. They have a collaborative relationship with their next door neighbor, Seven Stills Distillery. A visit to one will get you $5 off at the other, so why not check out both?

During our visit to the tap room, we tasted all of the below. Thoughts follow.

Midnight Coffee Stout – This is supposed to be a medium body stout, but the body is a dark brown, brewed with Artis cold brew coffee. The ivory head darkens closer to surface. With a strong espresso scent, its heavy coffee taste carries through to the finish, with mild barley and chocolate flavors underneath and a slight acidity. 7.1% abv. A

Laughing Monk BreweryBook of Palms – When coconut and pineapple are first mentioned, many people automatically think “sweet.” However this Berliner Weisse is a sour beer. The pineapple in the scent is fresh, but tart upon taste. The coconut becomes pronounced on 2nd sip. This dry beer has a cloudy, bright yellow body and a light head—typical of a Berliner Weisse. 5.3% abv. B+

Evening Vespers – This is a Belgian Duppel with a reddish-brown body crowned by a white frothy head. The nice dried fruit flavors of plum/prune, raisins, and dates are not overpowering. The sweetness is light as well. 7.1% abv. A

Date With the Devil – The deep red body and thin, white head of this Belgian Quad are appealing. Its date flavor brings a natural sweetness that’s more pronounced than that in Evening Vespers but it’s not syrupy or overpowering. It is certainly not as bold as expected. 9.5 abv. B+

3rd Circle Tripel – Belgian Tripels are traditionally brewed with three times the malt as other beers. 3rd Circle has a nice golden yellow body, and a thick, white head, and slight dryness to it. You can taste a bit of tart hoppiness with acidity following. 8.7% abv. B

Mango Gose – Originally brewed in collaboration with the Pink Boots Society, this Gose won a Bronze medal at the California State Fair Beer competition for session beers. Its body has a bright yellow color and an effervescent head. Mango sweet-tartness fills the nose immediately and then follows through on the tongue. Its mild saltiness comes from sea salt. 4.8% abv. B

Karl the Fog – This is a Vermont (American) IPA. Right off, the grapefruit-like scent of the hops tickles the nose. If you like IPAs, then this golden yellow beer with a white frothy head will please you. It is heavy with Mosaic and El Dorado hops. 6.2% abv. A

laughingmonkbrewing.com

Recipes: Valentine’s Day 2017 Desserts and Cocktail Pairings

Raspberry Vodka Blast Cupcakes

What a lovely tradition we have of giving sweets to the one we are sweet on! We want to make that easy for you with a trio of sweet recipes and paired cocktails to offer your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Single? Simply make them and treat yourself!

Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka Blast Cupcakes
Created by Dawn Belisle, Delights by Dawn
1 box white cake mix (like Duncan Hines)
1 box instant French vanilla pudding
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 tsp sugar
2 cups Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

For the White Chocolate Raspberry Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
4 oz. white chocolate melted and slightly cooled, but still pouring consistency
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup International Delight White Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Creamer
1/4 tsp salt

Coat 1/2 cup of raspberries with sugar and 1 tablespoon of Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka, set aside for about 10 minutes. Combine white cake mix, French vanilla pudding, eggs, vegetable oil, and 1 cup of Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka and the raspberry-sugar-vodka mixture from above. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.

Once cupcakes have cooled and before adding the frosting, put the remaining Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka in a small, shallow bowl and dip the top of the cupcake in the vodka until the top is covered, but not overly saturated. Allow the raspberry vodka to soak in for about five minutes before frosting.

For the frosting, melt the white chocolate and let it slightly cool, it should be pouring consistency. Using a hand mixer, or if using a mixer use the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute.  Scrape the sides down. Put the mixer on low speed and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Next, quickly pour in the melted white chocolate and then beat again for 2 minutes on medium speed until creamy. Add coffee creamer and salt. Beat for an additional 1 minute until combined. Frost the cupcakes and decorate as desired.

We decorated ours with a raspberry in the center of each cupcake. If you use frozen raspberries or strawberries, be sure to drain them and pat them dry before using them to garnish the cupcake so they don’t bleed juice. That may be fine for a Halloween theme but not here.

Lapping TongueThe perfect cocktail to serve with these cupcakes is the Lapping Tongue.

Lapping Tongue
1 1/2 parts Jose Cuervo Especial Silver tequila
1/2 part lemon juice
1/4 part rich simple syrup (2:1, sugar:water)
1/2 part Creme de Cassis
1/2 part Campari
orange slice

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel after expressing the natural oils over the drink and rubbing the peel around the rim of the glass.

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake
By Carla Hall of The ChewChocolate Stout Bundt Cake
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened, divided)
2 cups sugar
1 cup stout beer (warmed)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for dusting pan)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6-cup Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and dust with cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, add the butter and sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the stout beer and beat until the butter is melted. Add the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. In a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, black pepper and salt and whisk to combine. Turn the speed down to medium-low and add the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the sour cream to incorporate. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and place in the oven to bake for about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before flipping the cake onto a baking rack and turning it right side up. Cut into slices and serve with the sour cream whipped topping.

Sour Cream Whipped Topping:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
1/4 cup sour cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the heavy whipping cream and whip until medium peaks form. Add sour cream and gently fold to incorporate. Tip: Store cake wrapped in plastic wrap after serving. Cake will be good for 4-5 days.

We did not have a bunt cake pan so made this in a normal 9 x 12 inch baking pan and cut it into squares. This cake is heavy so a normal frosting would be too much. You, like us, may never have used sour cream in a whipped topping before but this one came out wonderful. It is not overly sweet, which tastes wonderful along with the peppery chocolate of the cake.

A Rose Story cocktail pairs nicely with the cake for pleasant dessert.

A Rose Story
Created by Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador Erik Andersson
2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
1 part rose petal jam
1/2 part lemon juice
1/2 part sugar syrup
1 part cranberry juice
1 part egg white

Double shake and pour into a champagne glass. Garnish with rose petals, a spray of orange bitters, and rose waters before serving.

Are you staying in to watch movies from the couch? This Valentine Popcorn Mix is just the thing.

Valentine Popcorn MixValentine Popcorn Mix
Courtesy of ReadySetEat
4 cups crispy corn cereal squares (If you use a mix of plain and chocolate, then just coat the plain ones as noted below and leave the chocolate as they are from the box.)
1 cup premier white morsels
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 drops red food coloring
1 bag (76.3 g) microwave popcorn
2 cups tiny pretzel twists, broken into pieces
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Line shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Place cereal in large bowl and set aside. Place morsels and oil in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 30 seconds; stir. Microwave on high 30 seconds more or until softened; stir until completely melted. You can also melt the morsels in a pan on the stove by putting them in a small pan, then set it into a larger pan which is half filled with water. Heat on medium until morsels are melted.

Add food coloring to the melted morsels and stir until blended. Spoon mixture over cereal; then stir until well coated. Spread cereal mixture on pan, separating pieces. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all unpopped kernels. Combine popped corn and pretzel pieces in an extra-large bowl. Place peanut butter in small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high 30 seconds or until melted. Drizzle peanut butter over popcorn mixture; then toss to coat. Place confectioner’s sugar in large resealable food storage bag. Add popcorn mixture and shake to coat. Place popcorn mixture and coated cereal in large serving bowl. Add cranberries; toss gently to combine. Store leftovers in tightly sealed container.Montelobos’ Amigos Con Derechos

The perfect cocktail companion for the popcorn is the Montelobos’ Amigos Con Derechos (Spanish for ‘friends with benefits’).

Montelobos’ Amigos Con Derechos
1 ½ parts Montelobos mezcal
¾ part Cynar
¼ part St. Germain
2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Stir in a mixing glass with ice. Strain and serve up in a Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

Recipes: Warming Winter Cocktails for 2017

It may be the winter of our discontent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink like a king. If you’re tired of the same cold weather cocktails to warm you, try these recipes for something to brighten your mood and thrill your taste buds.

Blood Orange Blazer
8 parts brewed hibiscus tea
2 parts Banks 7 Golden Age rum
1 part Hamilton Pimento Dram (Note: Pimento Dram is another name for Allspice Dram)
1 part blood orange juice
blood orange peel

Build in a preheated blue blazer mug. Garnish with a clove-studded spiral blood orange peel and serve.

Feather in CapsicumFeather in Capsicum
Created by Hendrick’s Gin Brand Ambassador, Mattias Horseman
2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
¾ parts lemon juice
½ part maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine ingredients and shake hard over ice. Strain into chilled coupette and garnish with a Maple Leaf (if possible) and lemon zest.

Rock Beets Scissor
1.5 oz. Medley Bros Bourbon
1/2 oz. Angostura Amaro
1/4 oz. Gran Classico
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. beet simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
egg white

Pour all ingredients into a shaker. Wet shake (meaning with ice), then dry shake (meaning no ice). Fine strain into chilled coupe; garnish with bitters and a candied beer chip.

To make candied beer chips:
1 lb. potato slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. beer (A stout is recommended)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine brown sugar and stout in a small bowl, whisking well to form a thin syrup. Set aside. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat with a thin layer of cooking oil spray. Lay out the potato slices and coat the top side with another layer of cooking oil. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush one side of the potato chips with the beer syrup. Flip, and coat the other side with the syrup as well. Return to oven and cook for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Remove from oven, and repeat process another time or two more, until chips are crispy and browned, and you’ve used all the glaze. Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving. This can also be made with bacon.

Q Winter Citrus SangriaQ Winter Citrus Sangria
12 oz. Q Club Soda
12 oz. Q Tonic
6 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
8 oz. Cocci Americano Italian White Vermouth
12 oz. dry white wine
2 cups sliced winter citrus fruit (pink grapefruit, mandarin oranges, Cara Cara, lemon)
½ cup pomegranate arils
mint for garnish

Combine Solerno, Cocci Americano, and wine in a bowl and stir. Add sliced citrus and pomegranate arils, cover and refrigerate overnight to allow fruit to macerate. When ready to serve, transfer the mixture to a pitcher, top with Q Club Soda, Q Tonic, and stir to combine. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Treasure Chest
1 oz. Cocchi Americano
1 oz. cinnamon and orange infused Wheatley vodka
¼ oz. Tempus Fugit Kina
¼ oz. Sandeman Fino sherry
1 dash orange bitters

Stir, then strain into chilled Nick & Nora glass. Express the lemon peel and discard, then garnish with a few drops of pistachio oil.

Broken Column
1 1/4 oz. pear infused Altos Blanco tequila
3/4 oz. Del Maguey Vida mezcal
3/4 oz. Alessio Chinato
1 bar spoon Fernet Branca
1 bar spoon agave
1 dash chocolate bitters

Stir, then strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish is needed.

The 8th Day
1 ½ parts Havana Club Añejo Clásico Puerto Rican Rum
3 parts chai tea
1 ¾ parts coconut milk
1 part simple syrup or 1 Tbsp. white sugar

Prepare Chai Tea. While the tea steeps, warm coconut milk over medium heat but do not boil. Combine ingredients in a high temperature resistant mixing glass; add rum last and stir. Serve in an Irish Coffee Cup or preferred glass coffee cup, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Mezcal Pumpkin Pie
From The Skylark, Mixologist Johnny Swet
2 spoons of pumpkin butter
2 oz. Ilegal Reposado Mezcal
3/4 oz. lime juice
½ oz. cinnamon syrup
½ oz. Feretti Biscotti Liquor

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into Rocks Glass. Dust with Nutmeg before serving.

The Spicy Buck
1 ½ oz. Dixie Black Pepper vodka
4 oz. ginger beer
1/4 tsp. pickled jalapeño juice
1 splash of soda
juice of 1/4 lime

Mix all ingredients into a shaker and stir. Pour into a glass with ice and Garnish with a pickled jalapeño slice and serve.

Ten (More) Cocktails for Super Bowl 2017

Okay, so the grub is all prepared, the TV is on, and everyone is arriving to watch the big game. What drinks do you serve to hold them off until kick-off time? Here are ten suggestions representing our favorite submissions and covering a variety of tastes… and including a cocktail for each team’s fans. Give each person a different drink to spark up a bit of pre-game conversation.

Verde Chelada
1 ½ parts Ancho Verde Green Chile Liqueur
½ part lime juice
1 big pinch of salt
12 parts Mexican lager beer (or green chile beer if it is available in your area)
salt for rim

Rim a cold beer glass with kosher salt. Add salt, lime, and Ancho Verde to a cold beer glass and stir to mix. Add ice and then beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

The Touchdown
2 parts Svedka Cucumber Lime
4 parts Voluptuous Mix*

*Voluptuous Mix
3 cups V-8 juice
3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
1-1/2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
1/2 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
4 Tbsp. half-sour pickle brine
1 cup chopped peeled cucumber (run through food processor)
4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 Tbsp. kosher salt

Build in a highball glass rimmed with Voluptuous Salt. Garnish with cooked peeled shrimp, 2 slices of lime, a cucumber wedge, and a sprig of cilantro.

Grilled Grapefruit Paloma
2 parts Hornitos Plata Tequila
1 part fresh lime juice
¾ part ginger sage syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
top with grapefruit beer (appx. 1 part)
grapefruit
sage sprigs

Combine equal parts sugar and water with 1 ginger slice and 4 sage sprigs and bring to a boil to create ginger sage syrup. Allow the mixture to cool; combine all ingredients except grapefruit beer in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with ice and top with grapefruit beer. Garnish with a grilled grapefruit slice.Stoli Mule

For New England fans:
Paul Revere’s Mule
1 1/2 parts Stoli Vodka
3 parts Stoli Ginger Beer
lime wedge

Pour vodka and ginger beer in a mule glass with ice. Gently stir and then garnish with the lime wedge before serving.

For Atlanta Fans:
Matty Iced Tea
1 1/2 parts Stoli Peach Vodka
3 parts iced tea
¾ part fresh lemon juice
¾ part simple syrup
lemon wedge

Mix all ingredients into a tall tea glass. Garnish with lemon wedge and serve.

The Mayor’s Lament
1 ½ oz. Rittenhouse 100 Proof Rye
1 oz. Nardini Amaro
Generous six dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Another six dashes Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters
2-3 dashes Peychaud’s

Mix all ingredients in a rocks glass with ice and serve.

The Effen Red Zone
1 part Effen Original Vodka
1 part grapefruit juice
1 part orange juice

Build over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange wheel.

The Dixie Firefly
This one’s spicy!
1 1/2 oz. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
1 1/2 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup

Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with fresh jalapeno slices.

Planter’s PunchPlanters Punch
2 parts Banks 7 Golden Age Rum
3/4 part pineapple Juice
3/4 part cranberry syrup (equal parts fresh cranberry juice and simple syrup)
5 parts orange juice
½ part lime juice
1 dash of Angostura bitters
mint sprig
cranberries

Shake with ice and strain into a terra cotta cup filled with pebble ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and three cranberries.

Whiskey Beer Sour
From Karen Miner
1 lemon wedge
1/4 cup lemonade
1 oz. whiskey
8 oz. amber ale

Squeeze lemon wedge into glass. Lightly mix lemonade, whiskey, and beer together in glass. Serve immediately.

Best Super Bowl Recipes and Our Favorite Cocktail Pairings

Game Day Dishes

Who better to bring you football fan approved dishes than six of America’s top chefs? Some of these recipes are geared up for a full house, so you can serve them up to the entire crowd; trim quantities to fit the size of your Super Bowl party. As a bonus, we’ve paired each with a cocktail to complete your game-watching menu.

Play Maker Buffalo Chicken Dip
Joshua Johnston, sous chef, 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Clayton, N.Y.)
2 lb. chicken breast
8 oz. cream cheese
1 lb. shredded cheddar blend
8 oz. hot sauce/buffalo sauce
10 oz. extra chunky blue cheese dressing
Garnish: diced tomato and scallion

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a medium to large sauce pot and cover with water just enough to fully submerge the chicken. Bring to a simmer for about 8-10 minutes. When the chicken is done, it should pull apart very easily. While chicken is simmering, prepare the cheese. In a microwave-safe bowl, cube the cream cheese and toss with half of the shredded cheese. Cover the bowl and microwave for about a minute. Assemble the dip: in a large mixing bowl, shred the chicken, preferably with a set of forks. Fold in the melted cheese blend, hot sauce, and blue cheese until fully blended. (Note: Dip can be prepared a day in advance up until this point and refrigerated.) Place dip in oven-safe dish and top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake towards the top of the oven to allow for better browning. Bake for 10 minutes, garnish, and serve hot.

Serve this with an Effen Beast cocktail.

Effen BeastEffen Beast
1 part Effen Black Cherry Vodka
1 part cranberry juice (white or red)
½ part vanilla simple syrup
½ part fresh lemon juice

Build over fresh ice in a rocks glass and garnish with brandied cherries and a lemon twist.

Rock Shrimp & Manchego Fondue
Eric Kaszubinski, executive chef at McCoy’s Oceanfront, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa (Pompano Beach, Fla.)
2 shallots (minced)
1 lb. rock shrimp
4 oz. butter
4 oz. flour
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
4 oz. white wine
1 qt. heavy cream
½ lb. Manchego cheese (grated)
½ tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
½ tsp. Tabasco
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. white pepper

Place butter in a non-stick pot and melt over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for two minutes. Add shrimp and cook for three minutes. Place flour in pot and stir to allow it to absorb the butter and cook for two minutes. Whisk in heavy cream and add cilantro and the spices. Once liquid has thickened, add the Manchego cheese and finish with white wine. Serve in individual portions along with pita and plantain chips.

Serve this with a Blue Cowboy Margarita.

Blue Cowboy MargaritaBlue Cowboy Margarita
3 parts Jose Cuervo Gold tequila
3 parts frozen limeade concentrate
1 part orange juice
1 part blue curacao
2 parts beer (use a lager or Mexican beer)
colored salt for rim (see below)

Put all ingredients, except salt, into a blender. Blend on high until smooth and slushy. Rub lime along glass edge and then dip in blue colored salt. Add the liquid, garnish with a lime wedge and serve. The beer adds a frothiness to this cocktail.

To make the colored salt:
Put one cup of salt in a plastic baggie. Add four to five drops of food coloring and seal. Shake vigorously. If the color is not dark enough, add more food coloring one drop at a time. It’s best to then pour the salt onto a plate and spread it out to dry for a half hour before using.

Bacon-Infused Popcorn
Darren Sylvin, executive chef, Aloft Boston Seaport (Boston, Mass.)
1 lb. bacon
1 cup popcorn kernels
½ cup coconut oil
pinch of salt

Rough cut bacon into 1-inch cubes. In a deep and wide soup pot, render bacon under low flame until completely crispy (about 20 minutes). Once fully rendered, separate bacon and fat through a fine strainer. Reserve bacon pieces on the side for later. Clean out pot and return to medium flame with all of the reserved bacon fat and coconut oil. Add kernels and a pinch of salt and stir until kernels are fully coated with fat and oil. Put lid on pot and begin to vigorously shake pot back and forth over flame until kernels begin to pop. Continue to shake until the popping fades. (Not shaking will result in burnt popcorn.) Once popping has stopped or reduced significantly, remove from flame and stir in remaining bacon pieces. Place in bowl and serve.

Here’s another margarita using colored salt.Red Cuervo Margarita

The Red Cuervo Margarita
2 parts Jose Cuervo Silver tequila
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part triple sec
1 part grenadine
agave syrup to taste
lime for garnish
colored salt for rim (see recipe above)

In a cocktail shaker, add ice and all liquids. Shake well! Run a lime wedge around the glass edge and then dip the glass into red colored salt. Add ice and strain in liquids from the shaker. Garnish with a lime wedge and served.

Baby Back Ribs
The Newes from America Pub at Kelley House (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.)
8 racks baby back ribs (about 10 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. paprika
½ Tbsp. brown sugar
½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. celery salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
1 ½ qt. beer (a lager or red ale works great)
1 cup of bourbon (this is our recommended addition)

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees F. Place ribs on an unlined sheet pan and coat each slab liberally with rub made from all dry elements. Cover with aluminum foil, leaving an opening that you will close later. Place pan on bottom oven rack. Fill each pan with beer and bourbon through opening in foil; close opening. Cook for 5 ½ hrs. Ribs should have a good crust on top and be very tender. Let cool. Serves 15-20 people.

These ribs need a good whiskey cocktail to go with them. Try out The Upbeat.

The Upbeat
2 parts Hudson Maple Cask Rye
¾ part sweet vermouth
1 barspoon Amaro Montenegro
2 dashes Fee Bros. Black Walnut bitters
cocktail cherry

Add liquid ingredients to a mixing glass, then ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail coupe. Add the cherry for garnish and serve.

Super Bowl Beef Chili
Richard Doucette, executive chef, Lighthouse Grill at Harbor View Hotel (Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.)
28 oz. ground beef
4 Spanish onions (diced)
1 head of celery (diced)
8 red bell peppers (diced)
2 bunches cilantro (chopped)
2 jalapenos (seeded and diced)
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine vinegar
½ bottle Cholula Hot Sauce
11 oz. can diced tomatoes
11 oz. ketchup
11 oz. canned red kidney beans (drained)
11 oz. canned black beans (drained)
12 oz. canned chipotle peppers in adobo
2 cups ground ancho peppers
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 Tbsp. whole cumin
2 Tbsp. black pepper
4 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano
4 Tbsp. smoked paprika
kosher salt to taste
1 cup red wine (our addition)

Combine all liquids, set aside. In a large pot on medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Strain off excess fat. Add all vegetables and cook until tender. Add all spices and toast until fragrant. Add be
ans and all liquids. Reduce heat to low. Cook slowly for two hours. When serving, provide shredded cheese to garnish the top of each bowl.

The perfect cocktail for chili is a Smoky Paloma. The smoky flavor comes from the mezcal.

Smoky PalomaSmoky Paloma
1.5 oz. Sombra Mezcal
1 oz. fresh grapefruit (an orange can be substituted if necessary)
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. sugar (or simple syrup)
1 pinch of salt
1 lemon

Muddle fruit with the remaining ingredients. Strain into a glass with ice (it can be salt rimmed if you like) and garnish with a grapefruit or lemon slice.

New England Lobster Roll
Gustavo Calderon, executive chef, 3800 Ocean at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa (Riviera Beach, Fla.)
1 ½ lb. lobster meat (if lobster meat isn’t available in your area, substitute crab meat)
½ cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 inner stalks of celery and leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. capers, finely chopped
2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
salt and black pepper to taste
4 rolls split, brushed with butter and lightly toasted
1 tsp. Old Bay (for garnish)

Chop lobster meat into bite size pieces and add to a bowl. Mix mayo, lemon juice, celery, herbs, capers, and seasonings; add to lobster and mix well. Chill the lobster salad in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to marinate. While lobster salad is resting, brush the four rolls with butter and toast slit side down in a pan until light golden brown. Fill toasted rolls with roughly one cup of the salad mixture and garnish with a light sprinkle of Old Bay. Best with some fresh kettle chips.

Gridrion HoneyPair the lobster roll with a Gridiron Honey.

Gridiron Honey
1 ½ parts Reyka Vodka
¾ part fresh lemon juice
¾ part honey
½ part Becherovka
club soda

Combine all ingredients, except the soda, into a shaker. Shake and then pour into a rocks glass. Top with the soda and serve.

Recipe: Homemade Beer Cheese

Belgian Abbey Ale Beer Cheese
Many of us had our first taste of beer cheese at the local brew-pub. But it’s easy to make your own at home!

We picked up this beer cheese recipe from HomeBrewChef and cooked up two variations. The beer we used for the first batch was Armstrong Stout from Fogbelt Brewing Company. We added bacon slices cut into small pieces and fried them up with red onions and butter. The cheese for this batch was a sharp cheddar. We also used a pepper grinder on the peppercorns instead of tossing them in whole.

Not everyone will like this version because the stout came through strongly, giving the cheese a smoky element. It also colored the beer cheese to a medium tan shade, which may turn off some folks. The bacon pieces added a nice pop, though. Other than dipping pretzels or smothering French fries, this beer cheese would be good atop a steak with some mushrooms added.

In the second variation, we replaced the onion with fresh garlic. Then we made our own bread from a basic soft pretzel recipe with rosemary added and served it up along with chicken strips. You could also throw dried tomato or chopped jalapeno peppers into the dough if you prefer. The beer used this time was Brother Thelonious Belgian style abbey ale from North Coast Brewing Company.

Although the abbey ale is still a darker beer, the cheese sauce does look and taste lighter. The garlic came through the cheddar cheese without overpowering the sauce. Again, we used cracked pepper from our pepper mill instead using whole peppercorns. We bet this one will be a favorite. Check the end of the recipe for other variation suggestions from the chef.

For both recipes, we added an extra 1/4 cup of cheese but that is a matter of individual taste.

Beer Cheese
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted preferably organic
1/2 cup onion, yellow, large, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf, preferably freshStout Beer Cheese with Bacon
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beer
1 cup heavy cream
5 whole, black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated cheese

In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter and let it melt. Add the prepped onion, bay leaf, salt and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is transparent.

Dust the onions with the flour, stirring with a flat edge spatula, so you can scrape any flour from the bottom of the pan, to make a roux. Cook the roux for 3-4 minutes, stirring the whole time, to prevent the flour from burning. Take care not to have the heat too high.

Switching to a whisk, slowly pour in the beer, whisking to combine, getting any fond from the bottom of the pan, making sure all the lumps (if any) from the flour are dissolved. Add the cream. Bring the mixture to a simmer and adjust the heat to keep a gentle simmer. Add the peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg. Whisk the mixture occasionally over the next 30 minutes, as the flour flavor cooks out and the sauce thickens slightly.

Remove the bay leaf, cloves, and peppercorns from the sauce. Take the sauce off the heat. Slowly add the grated cheese while whisking to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with more salt or cracked pepper.

Recipe Notes and Variants
This sauce can be made with many beer styles. You can pair the beer’s flavor with the type of cheese you use, or pair them both with a specific main course. The versatility is endless. Here are a few ideas:

Classic Cheddar Pale Ale Beer Cheese Sauce: Use a Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale and grate some Tillamook Medium Cheddar Cheese for this sauce. Try it on nachos, use a cheese fondue or pour over roasted broccoli.

South of the Border Chipotle Smoked Jack Beer Cheese Sauce: Use a Rogue Farms Chipotle Ale and use either a pepper or smoked Monterey Jack cheese. This is awesome over nachos, over enchiladas, as a dip for chips, vegetables (grilled and roasted), over a baked potato, or mixed in with cooked elbow macaroni, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and topped with barbecue style potato chips.

German Beer Cheese Sauce: To make the perfect dip for your fresh baked pretzel, take a Märzen Oktoberfest beer and add some smoked gouda or räucherkäse cheese. Also perfect to pour some of this over a pretzel coated pork schnitzel served with some spaetzle.

A Visit to Moonlight Brewery’s Tap Room, Santa Rosa, California

Moonlight Brewery is located in Santa Rosa, California. While it is a small brewer, the brewery is best known for its beer Death and Taxes. We recently visited its tap room, which is on the brewery site.

Unfortunately the brewers were not available to interview. However, the hosts of the tap room were very gracious and friendly, and they offered a look at the boiling tank workroom and the massive, covered brewing kettles. Moonlight may be small, but the size of these boys is impressive.

On tap, six beers were offered, so a sample slat of those was in order. From left to right in the above photo, we tasted:

Toast Burnt Lager – This beer, typically brewed for New Year’s celebrations,  is a light amber body color with a creamy head. At first sip, a nice maltiness is noticeable. The burnt flavor comes through on the back end without being harsh. It is dry and not sweet at all. 6% abv A

Tipple Winter Ale – This dark brown ale is a type of “winter warmer,” brewed for fall and winter. It has a nice, rich, tan head. The first pass under the nose has a citrusy hop note which carries through the first sip. The hoppy overtones are more subtle with the second taste. 6% abv. A

Reality Czeck – A pale yellow pilsner, Reality Czeck is a light and refreshing Czech style beer. It does have the traditional floral hops flavors which are stronger after the first taste, but it reminded me a bit of a Budweiser. 4.8% abv. B

Twist of Fate Bitter Ale – Moonlight calls this English style ale ESB-ish, which means it as a touch of the extra special bittering hops that are noticeable in the taste and scent. I agree this is true to its name. Its hoppiness comes through, but it’s not overpowering. 5.6% abv. A

Lunatic Lager – This lager has a bright yellow body (slightly darker than the Reality Czeck) with a light scent revealing a touch of yeast. It is refreshing with a slight lingering aftertaste which was ever so slightly soapy in texture. 5% abv. B

Death and Taxes – It is a San Francisco style black lager–a common style of lager. The dark, chocolate brown body and thick, creamy, tan head are very welcoming. There are chocolaty notes but more of a dark roast coffee taste than anything. This one remains a favorite. 5% abv. A+

All of these are approximately $7 per 16 oz. draft, depending upon where you buy them.

moonlightbrewing.com

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