Homebrewers have a saying. Actually, we have many saying, some of which don't make sense. But this particular one goes: "Never pour a beer down the drain. You never know if it could be good in a month, or a year, or to give to people you don't like. And if all else fails, you can always use it for cooking"
Except that you can't really cook with any beer. It has to be the right beer for the entree, and needs to be of decent quality or it will show. I tried making brown-ale poached salmon for dinner a few nights ago. A culinary experience that was best summed up by my dear wife "You know, I think this might be really good with some Barbeque sauce..." (My wife is a kind and gentle woman :) )
Of course the reason that I was trying to make brown-ale fish is because of this very same saying. I made this ale about a month and a half ago in a period leading up to my daughter's birth, when I wasn't allowed to brew AG because it takes a whole day, so I brewed some extract beers just to keep in shape. It was a fine attempt in making a southern brown English ale that was going beautifully until I tried to make container seal tighter and ended up dropping the O-ring that was suppose to seal the thing, and the silicone ring that was suppose to keep it in place - right into the beer.
Guided by the rule of "never pour out a beer" I proceeded to bottle it on schedule. However, since I was convinced that it will go bad within a week or two of bottling I didn't want to waste "good" bottles on it, so I bottled it in whatever I could find: odd sized bottles, a few halves with resealable tops, clear Corona bottles (a donation), and a empty coffee jar that I kept sanitizer in (figured that made it clean enough). I named it "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" (Baddest beer in the whole damn town...) or BBLB for short.
That was a month and a half ago, and while the beer has actually turned out quite nice (for an extract brew) I'm still trying to get through it as quickly as possible before the infection shoe drops. I drank a bunch, I gave some to friends (admonishing them to drink it quickly) and I've tried cooking with it. Brown Salmon may have not been the greatest brainstorms. But, undettered, I moved on to my next big idea: Brown Ale Deviled Eggs. Those of you of eastern European decent will probably recognize them by their popular name: "Chaminados".
The recipe is quite simple:
- 500 to 660ml Brown Ale (Newcastle Brown is great for this)
- Eggs, fresh
- Some onion peels
- A teaspoon of peppercorns
- Two clove nails.
Dump all the ingredients in a crock pot, add enough warm water until the eggs begin to float, cover, and cook on high for at least six hours (more if you can muster the patience. Twelve is ideal)
The eggs' porous shell will let the beer seep through by slow osmosis, cooking the eggs and imbuing them with the color and tastes of the beer. The result is beautiful brown eggs with a delicious aroma and a very nice flavor. And, you've used up some of that extra, hard-to-drink beer! Mmmmmm, yum!