After we posted an article saying that there was more to cooking with beer than steak and ale pie, there were calls for a recipe - and plenty of great reader suggestions in the comment thread.
We listened, and here Gerrard Mitchell offers up two of his go-to beer recipes. As chef and owner of beer smallgoods producer Beersine, he's got a reputation for using ingredients from the start to the end of the brewing process, as well as the beer itself.
In a twist on béarnaise, white wine is replaced with beer for a beernaise sauce that's perfect for steak, asparagus or grilled fish and accompanied by pressed potatoes in the cooler months or a fresh coleslaw as the weather warms. A quality beer pairing is a must. Big IPAs such as Epic's Hop Zombie (8.5%), a bold Imperial IPA or Sierra Nevada's Torpedo (7.2%) are an ideal pairing for contrast.
If you favour a drop with a lower ABV, an easier-drinking IPA like Feral Brewing's Hop Hog (5.8%) is a good option. Amber ales such as Two Birds's Sunset Ale (4.6%) complement rather than contrast, taking the pairing in a different direction.
Beer-brined brisket is a hearty dish that repays the time put into its prep. Rich malts of a brown ale or stout complement the dish. Nail Brewing's Oatmeal Stout (6%), Nøgne Ø's Imperial Brown Ale (7.5%) or an old-school English option like Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter (5%) are all a good starting point. For contrast, try the likes of Chevalier's Biere de Garde (7.5%).
While pairing is very much a matter of your own taste, thinking about the match ultimately leads to a better experience. We are well-versed at matching wine with food, and beer is no different. What would be your pick?
Steak beernaise: perfect for winter. Photograph: Jessica Shaver
130ml American-style or India pale ale (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Torpedo recommended)
1 shallot, diced
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
50ml malt vinegar
3 egg yolks
125g butter melted over boiling water
30ml American or India pale ale (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Torpedo recommended)
Reduce 100ml of the beer with the shallot, peppercorns, bay leaf and vinegar by two-thirds, strain and reserve. Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl with reserved vinegar mix. Using a whisk, beat carefully over simmering water until light and airy and ribbons form. Remove the bowl from the heat and slowly add melted butter to the yolk mix until thick (do not add milk that has separated from butter). Carefully add the remaining 30ml of beer. Mix, season with salt and pepper and serve with steak, asparagus or grilled fish.
Beer-brined brisket and cauliflower cheeseBrining:
2kg of beef brisket, preferably grass-fed and local
150g dark malt, available from home brew supply stores
330ml dark beer (Brown ale, Porter or Stout. Feral Brewing's Smoked Porter or Coopers's Stout recommended)
Warm water to approximately 65 degrees Celsius, stir in malt and leave for 1 hour covered, then add salt, beer and allow to cool. Place beef in brine and refrigerate, ideally for 2 days. Remove from brine.
2 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
30g Szechuan peppercorns
30g coriander seeds
200g dark malt
660ml dark beer (as above)
5 cloves of garlic
5cm chunk ginger
50g goji Berries (recommended but not essential)
Place the brisket in the above ingredients in a casserole dish, cover tightly and cook on 130 degrees Celsuis for approximately 4.5 - 5 hours or until tender. Allow to cool slightly in cooking juices.
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, chopped
300ml Smoked ale or strong India pale ale (Feral's Smoked Porter or Hop Hog, Schlenkerla's Märzen or Mountain Goat's India Pale Ale recommended)
300g blue cheese
400g cheddar, grated
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets and lightly boiled in salted water
Over a low heat, melt the butter with onion and garlic. When soft add flour and cook to a light brown. Slowly add the beer then milk bit by bit, stirring continuously. Then add blue cheese and half the cheddar. Put the cauliflower in a baking dish and pour over the white sauce. Top with the remaining cheddar and bake on 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown.
Slice your brisket into generous serves, drizzle over some of the cooking liquor and serve with cauliflower and a citrus salad.
A hearty dish: beef brisket and cauliflower cheese. Photograph: Jessica Shaver