Valentine’s day and sugar go together like hops and and barley. But rather than snagging a bright colored box of high fructose corn syrup from the store, remind yourself that the love of your life isn’t just someone who wants rose-colored mediocrity in a box. No, we are talking about a classy loved one. A craft beer loved one. Now I certainly love myself some See’s candy as much as the next person, but my minimal experience with love has taught me that dedicating your time and energy to crafting something reigns superior to store bought love. Baking and cooking are my favorite expressions of love. So why not make that special craft beer lover in your life something that shows that you not only love him or her, but also your appreciation for craft beer. Here are five recipes to make that special craft beer lover in your life.
Dayslayer Candied Popcorn
Nothing say metal more than Stone’s Dayslayer IPL, which is a rare treat from the Escondido juggernaut. For the brewery who helped in the advent of the west coast IPA movement, you wouldn’t expect a beer like this coming out of stone. So why not douse this beer with sugar. When creating a candied glaze, the hops from the beer will definitely bring down the excessive sweetness of the lager.
This is a relatively easy recipe to accomplish for the lazy and those on a tight schedule. It shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes to complete. Let it cool down then consume. Popcorn isn’t very difficult to pop. In the recipe, I make a simple sugar glaze, but someone more creative can add on to this. Something fruity or perhaps add some cocoa powder and butter or coconut butter to the mix and spice up the flavor. The recipe may be simple, but the possibilities are endless. Toss it in a bowl and snuggle up with the loved one and have a movie night.
Pomona Queen Cherry Sorbet
When living in Southern California, it was very rare for me to go inland. But occasionally I would find myself over there and overtime I would end the inland
adventure with a visit to Last Name Brewing. Formerly know as Dale Bros, this brewery produces one of my favorite sours of 2017 the Cherry Tart Pomona Queen. The original Pamona Queen is an amber ale, but allow some funky bacteria and cherries and you have a perfect amount of cherry, tart, and funk all in one beer. It certainly is a must when visiting Pomona California.
When dealing with all things tart and funky in the summer time (every day is summer time in California), my go-to strategy was to sorbet all the things. And it quite often worked. However, the one time, it exceeded my expectations was making a sorbet with this beer. This was also the first recipe that I didn’t cook out the alcohol. Meaning that if you make this recipe, it is indeed alcoholic. And what two craft beer lovers don’t want to feel the intoxication of the product they love so much. Like the beer, this sorbet provides just the right amount of sweet and tart. If you happen to have an ice cream maker in your home, stop reading and do this recipe.
Yeti Mint Chocolate Bars
Some people do not like baking. I empathize. It requires this half-creator, half-scientist attitude that some people don’t want to attempt. For those who feel that way, the no-bake recipe is the recipe for you, named aptly because it requires absolutely no baking. It will however require you to do a heavy amount of mixing like the Yeti Mint Chocolate Bars. I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to create a flour out of store-bought products so I decided to use ground Oreos and Great Divides’s Yeti Double Stout.
Along with butter and mint extract, this recipe is by far the closest I have been to recreating the flavor the Girl Scout cookie Thin Mints. The texture might not be entirely the same, but the flavor is there. Forget making these for the love of your significant lover. Makes these because they taste like a Girl Scout cookie!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Dipped Strawberries
This is another recipe for those who has very little time on their hands or skills in the kitchen. Chocolate dipped strawberries are a staple of Valentine’s day. Feeding your loved one by hand can be quite a romantic, if not insinuating something else in the pants, experience. But this is your craft beer lover we are talking about. We need the assistance of ganache made out of a dark beer type of experience. I didn’t just want to add chocolate to my strawberries and call it a day. No, for this craft beer lover, we need peanut butter! Or perhaps just a excuse to use peanut butter so we can use Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout.
If you are a fan of the recipes on this site, you will know that I have a unhealthy relationship with this beer. One of my favorite milk stouts and a beer that makes me most nostalgic for San Diego is the Peanut Butter Milk Stout. A milk stout to begin with is already smooth and creamy (try Belching Beaver’s Milk Stout as well), but adding peanut butter to the mix makes me more excited than a dog right before they lick peanut butter from a spoon. Drizzle a little bit of a Jiff on it and you are good to go.
When I said that the Peanut Butter Milk Stout was one of my favorite milk stouts, it was phrased accordingly because my all time favorite milk stout (or at least its variant) is also on this list. My initial reaction after drinking Stone Brewing Co’s Xocoveza was that of sadness and depression. Mainly because this was a seasonal beer and one that might not have come back because it was created by a home brewing competition. However, this titan of Mexican spice came back in full force the following year.
Then I was able to experience Xocoveza Charred, its bourbon barrel-aged counterpart. It added richness and complexity that would work well in a dessert. Tiramisu was one recipe that needed to be tackled and the charred beer was a perfect test subject. Chocolate, cheese, and bourbon never tasted so good or as Amanda, the creator of the recipe, said when released, “Xocoveza Charred and marscapone cheese will dance such a magical arrangement of rich, creamy, malty, chocolatey sweetness in your mouth. It’s best to make a day before serving, but the taste is worth the wait!”
So what recipe will you choose for that craft beer loved one in your life? Does she prefer the flavors of the dark, bold and toasty? Or maybe he wants something a little bit more tart and funky? Whatever, the option, let your loved one know you appreciate them with craft beer. And remember, you aren’t alone when you have craft beer in your life!