First Time in Canada
On Black Friday this year, I opted out of shopping and left the country. Not to escape the chaos that ensues, but to explore Vancouver, a city that is now in my backyard. When visiting Vancouver, try some poutine and check out some of the beautiful parks like Lynn Canyon. But of course, no visit to a town would be complete without a visit to the local breweries. This story ends with Canada’s finest craft beer becoming the best apple butter recipe to date!
I knew very little of the Vancouver beer scene. All I knew was that Scott Mosier, half of the podcasting duo from Smodcast, owns a stake in a brewery called Mainstreet brewery. I heard this almost 5 years ago and never though anything of it. Now that my mind is wondering which breweries to visit, I remembered this ephemeral Mainstreet brewery in my mind. Some other establishments we though of going to were Brassneck brewery and Four Winds brewery.
Once we got all of our park exploring out of the way, if was finally time to explore the libations. Our first stop was of course Mainstreet Brewery and it was quite pleasant, but ultimately nothing made us jump for joy. Sure the Naked Fox IPA was a hoppy delight, but the Number 7 Saison was the beer that stood out. It could be my love for all things Belgian, but ultimately the experience was tame. That isn’t to say that the beer was bad. I hope to bake one day with Mainstream Brewery. No, rather, the energy in the place was quite low and, when drinking beer, it becomes apparent that a low energy environment skews my enthusiasm for certain beers. I am hoping to try their brown ale sometime.
Savior Down the Street
After Mainstream, the time of sobering up to drive was upon us and didn’t have time to make it to Four Winds. So we decided to go down the street from Mainstream to Brassneck Brewing. You first reaction to entering Brassneck is a hipster’s paradise. Upon further investigation, our reaction was ecstatic with a hint of thankful. It seems Brassneck is a Belgian paradise (although don’t worry IPA fans, they have those too) with all of your sausage needs. No seriously, they have sausage as well. Just the right amount of tulip glasses, wooden surfaces, and mood lighting that makes us love going to breweries. I was certainly disappointed that I left Mainstream without a beer to bake with. I wasn’t going to leave this place the same way.
Cherubesque and Apple Butter
The beer I left with was the first beer I tasted in at the brewery. The Cherubesque, a sweet and fruity beer with a with cliche name that all the beer nerds love. It was glorious and everything that I wanted out of a trip to Canada. I had to take this baby home with me. But what goes well with this Belgian style sweet and a bold beer? I wanted to slow cook and humored the idea of a jam, but no fruits really stuck out with me. I remembered that I am making my yearly apple butter in the coming month as tiny presents for friends and family. So why not make this year’s apple butter recipe with a little bit of Cherubesque?
This beer has two adjective that describe it: sweet and bold. I would describe this beer as fruity, but not in that IPA way with plenty of citrus and berries. The boldness will compliment the sugar and of course cinnamon. Because how can you leave out cinnamon when baking on the last two months of the year. It just seems mandatory.
Apple butter with beer is very easy. All you need is water, beer, apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little bit of acid (lemon juice) for preservation. Thrown them all into a slow cooker for a a few hours and then puree. You can through everything in a slow cooker and walk away. I typically make this during the holiday season and give out as presents to loved ones. This also is great in the summer time. Spread it on a piece of toast and enjoy the sweet and bold flavors of the apple and the Cherubesque.
- Chop up the apples. No need to be precise. It will eventually become mush.
- Add cinnamon, sugars, water, and beer. Stir ingredients together.
- Add to slow cooker and cook for about 4 1/2 hours.
- Place in a blender or food processor to puree. Spread on toast and enjoy!