March 14, 2012
Using beer or a stout such as Guinness (which they do in Dublin at The Brazen Head pub for the beef stew on today's cover) requires a bit more care than, say, splashing a bit of wine into pan drippings, cautions Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery.
The author of "The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer With Real Food" and editor of "The Oxford Companion to Beer," Oliver offers tips for cooks planning to add beer to dishes:
If the liquid in the stew or sauce is reduced, the flavor will intensify. "If you wanted to use an IPA in a sauce — a style of beer which is associated with high bitterness — and if you concentrate that sauce at all, you concentrate that bitterness. You can end up with a very astringent dish."
Several types of Guinness are available in the United States (stout, Foreign Extra Stout, black lager, can, bottle, 3.9 to 4 percent, 6 percent). "Check which one you're going to use. You might want to cut back on the Guinness or increase other liquids if you're going with the stronger one."
Guinness gives you roasted flavors. "But even roasted flavors have their own bitterness. If you were to add espresso coffee to something, you would get the flavors of espresso but you would also get the bite."
Go easy at first and taste a half hour into the cooking. "You can always add more, but you can't take it back out."
— Judy Hevrdejs, Tribune Newspapers
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