Craft beer has certainly put its stamp on the beer beverage market… I remember a time before it was THE drink of hipsters, a time when there were but a few craft beers to choose from. Those days are well & truly behind us because craft beer not only has festivals dedicated to its cause, the beer drinkers can’t get enough of the complex brew! I have been known to craft in my time. Since falling pregnant & having my baby though, I haven’t divulged in craft time. I needed something to get me back into the crafty swing of things… So, in celebration of Choose Glass Week (Yay! Because everything really is better in glass), I have two unusual ways to drink the beer & well, because it’s me, I wanted to eat the craft beer too.
For Choose Glass Week I decided to go the beer route… Just a forewarning… Beer can be crunchy, it really can & it’s super delicious.
When Beer Is Crunchy…
As I mentioned, beer doesn’t always have to be best enjoyed in its liquid form. I used a light craft lager to create the airiest, crunchiest & crispiest Beer Battered Fish Bites. Have loads of people heading over? Pop a couple of these bites in a few jars & scatter around the venue (actually, have loads of jars because these Bites are SERIOUSLY good!). I styled mine in a variety of Consol Preserve Jars. Make sure you have plenty of lime or lemon wedges on hand, fill small glass jars with Maldon salt & a couple more with nifty bamboo skewers – entertaining, sorted!
The list of stuff you’ll need to recreate this fishy, crafty vibe:
For the beer batter: 1 bottle of your fave craft lager. About a ½ cup of cake flour. A pinch of Maldon salt (any salt will do).
How does it happen: You literally just chuck everything into a bowl & give a good whisk until most of the lumps have disappeared. The batter should have the consistency of medium-thick yoghurt.
Then what: 500g hake fillets cut into chunks (frozen is absolutely fine). Dust with flour. Dip the pieces of hake into the batter & fry in batches (in hot sunflower or veg oil) until lightly golden (about 6-7 minutes).
Finally: Serve the Beer Battered Bites in glass jars, with lime or lemon wedges, Maldon salt & of course…. Some extra (liquid) craft beer.
When Beer Is Cold…
Summertime means ice cream time. I’ve never been a fan of just a dollop of ice cream in a bowl, or scooped into a cone. But I’ve always loved ice cream floats. Ice cream with a liquid something to make it all foamy & soft. Say hello to a Stout & Clotted Cream Float – because why not?
How does it happen: 1 bottle of your fave craft beer. About 4 – 5 glass jars of your choice. Dollop two generous, soft scoops (the ice cream must be soft) of good quality ice cream between the jars. Top with Stout & it’s as simple as that!
Naturally, all sorts of extras can be added – sprinkles, cherries, choc chips, nuts, but for me, simple is best.
When Beer Is Fruity…
Don’t get me wrong; a cold, cold, COLD beer can’t be beat. But it can be spiced up a little. Some would say this is simply a “No No” but I say – live a little! Combine a few flavours & find what works for you. I think a good Beer Shandy is something special when the heat is on. This is my favourite combo of the moment…
How does it happen: Take 1 bottle of your favourite Pale Ale or Lager. Divide between two glass bottles (I love the Consol milk style bottles with white screw lids). Top the beer with lemonade. Add a good squeeze of fresh lime juice, pop in a few sliced or chopped strawberries & hello fruity beer! If you have the masses coming over, pop a couple of these pre-made Shandy bottles in an enamel ice bucket & keep cold on ice. For an added flavour oomph – pop in a few fresh mint leaves. Thank me later.
When Beer Is A Dessert…
Want an after-meal nibble that is cute, pretty, easy, eye-catching & lovely, can be served in a flash & is a crowd pleaser? If you want all of these things then you must, you simply must turn your beer into a dessert – Mini Beer Batter Doughnuts (obviously).
How does it happen: Now this is where you have to make a decision. You can either go with a lager or you can go for Stout once again. I chose Stout. 1 cup cake flour. ½ tsp baking powder. Pinch of salt. 60ml cocoa powder. ½ cup sugar. ½ cup melted butter. 1 large egg. A splash of vanilla (essence or a smidge of paste). ½ cup of Guinness.
Then what: Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the melted butter. Beaten egg. Splash of vanilla. Then the Stout. Mix well to form a smooth batter. Heat a mini electric doughnut maker. Spoon the batter into the moulds, cook for 4-6 minutes. Remove. Cool. Dip into a runny icing & coat in sprinkles.
Stack in glass jars & serve! If preferred, get guests to create their own doughnut creations. Serve plain doughnuts in glass jars, pour icing into glass yoghurt jars, along with sprinkles – let the dipping fun begin!
Choose Glass Week: 28 September – 02 October
*A thank you to Consol for teaming up on this little project & supplying the glass*