Resurrection and Beer Science
No updates since December?! Not a single new post in 9 months? What the hell kind of a blog is this? Is Hopflower officially defunct? No. I’m just lazy. Hey, I drink a lot of beer, what do you want from me? But I have had a new surge of inspiration lately and I’ve decided to start things up again. Wheels are in motion, balls are rolling, etc. Get excited.
Let me give you a little insight into the magic that will be flooding your blog feed soon. My goal remains the same: cooking great food with great beer. The golden rule rings true here: you’re not supposed to cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink, and the same goes for beer. To some it might seem a shame to use fine craft beer for cooking but, believe me, I am not going thirsty. In fact, I’ve got more beer than I know what to do with. You may notice a disproportionate ratio of recipes containing Stone beers in the upcoming posts. This is because I have recently left my soul-crushing administration job to enter the employ of Stone Brewing Co. So my easy access to these awesome beers make them the ideal candidates for my cooking adventures. Honestly, though, I’d probably be using a lot of Stone beers anyway. They’re local and they are absolutely amazing (I’m not just kissing ass here–I honestly LOVE these beers. This is literally a dream job for me). If you’re going to try any of these recipes at home, feel free to substitute your favorite craft brew within the same style. You’ll get different results, but it’ll probably be just as good. If you are a Stone fan, though, go for it! (Again, this isn’t a paid advertisement or anything. Just proselytizing for one of my passions).
Ok, now for a little bit of beer science. If you remember any of our previous posts, you’ll recall the many, MANY issues we had cooking with IPAs (India Pale Ales). No matter what we did, they just made our food inedibly bitter. I think I’ve figured it out. A combination of homebrewing and my time at Stone has unlocked a key someplace in my mind. When you add hops to a brew at the start of a boil, you literally boil away all the essential oils that have those lovely, citrusy, piney aromas and flavors. What you’re left with is bitterness. This is essential in brewing as that bitterness counteracts the sweetness of the malts. However, finished beer has already obtained its bitterness. When you boil finished beer, you are then converting all the finishing hops, those that have retained their essential oils, into bitterness. So I think we’ve just been heating IPAs too high and for too long. I will try not to make the same mistakes again and hopefully I will have newfound success cooking with hoppy brews!
Ok, that’s enough for now. This post has gone on too long. Oh, wait! Perhaps you’d like to know what I am drinking while writing. I am enjoying a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, an unfiltered brown ale brewed in Palo Santo wood brewing vessels. It’s cherry black, nearly opaque, and has notes of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. The mouthfeel is viscous and almost creamy. ABV is 12%. Damn good. And I’m drinking it out of a mason jar. Because that is what craft brewing is all about. It’s punk rock. It’s about doing what you want. And my fine, gourmet snack to go along with it? An aged cheese? Dried fruits and nuts? Bittersweet, organic chocolate? Nah. I’m noshing on some Funyuns. That’s right. Punk rock.