Oct 24, 2014


Well, apparently, my calendar tells me that it is, yet again, Friday, and that can only mean one thing, another edition of SLIF! So, lets not wait around any longer, lets get right to it!!! Here you go, here is SLIF, edition XVIII !!!

The Muddy
Do you love stouts? I do, they are up there among my favorite styles. I especially like imperial Stouts. That is why I was pretty excited when I got my hands on a bottle of Goose Islands "The Muddy". A third beer in a series celebrating the city of Chicago and its history. According to the Goose Island website, this beer is brewed with "molasses, brewer’s licorice, and Belgian dark rock candi sugar, The Muddy is an imperial stout with amplified sweetness for a taste as distinctive as the Chicago blues that inspired its creation." The blues influence it refers to is of coarse the blues legend Muddy Waters, while not from Chicago, made some of his best music there. To me, this beer was more smooth then sweet, with only a faint hint of licorice (but just enough) a touch more of sugary sweetness. An easy to drink, smooth but very flavorful stout, this beer is perfect now that the weather is cooling off, and stronger, heftier beers are in order! You can learn more about the beer, and where to find it here....

The Beer Czar's Second Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting!

This past weekend, I hosted my 2nd Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting! It was a great, albeit small group of good folks, all getting together to blindly rate a selection of 8 very good, to great pumpkin beers! Want to see the beers we tried, and how they rated? Check out the link, and see what beer took our top spot, as well as where the other 7 beers came in!  (Pumpkin Beer Tasting link )

Pumpkin Beer Mac and Cheese
Speaking of pumpkin beer, one of the "snacks" I made for the pumpkin tasting was this kick ass recipe for Pumpkin Beer Mac and Cheese. This is one of those recipes that I was hoping was just half as good as I was hope it would be, and turned out to be even better! An easy recipe, for a GREAT dish for any fall gathering!! Check out the recipe here.....it is amazing!

Want to work at a Brewing?

Do want to work at a brewery? Or do you need work? Do you know someone that does? Well, if you live in the east valley, your in luck. Mesa's  first and only Brewpub is opening very soon, looking to hire some people for a number of positions, from dishwashers, to hosts, to line cook. So, if you or anyone you know wants, or is in need of work, check them out here.....

So, there you have to folks! Now, go forth into the weekend, and have a great time! As always, please remember, to have fun, but be smart, and stay safe, plan ahead!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Oct 22, 2014

The Beer Czar's Second Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting

This past weekend, I hosted my 2nd Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting. This is proving to be a very fun event for me! Aside from the fact I love to get together and drink a few beers, I also, unashamedly LOVE pumpkin beer. Pumpkin beer is kind of the cool beer to hate among beer people. Given its popularity, ubiquity and the fact that just about every brewery makes a pumpkin beer, many of which are just not good at all. It's getting harder to find those truly good pumpkin beers. That is exactly why I hold this event, I'm here to help folks! I get a selection of what I think (in many cases, its just what I've heard, since I haven't tried many of them) are good examples of the style, and then ask friends and family members to rate them, blindly, so I can come up with my sort of "best of" for this year's pumpkin beers.

This year, was a smaller, more laid back affair then last years, but equally as fun. This year, we had a total of 8 new beers to try. So, I gathered them around the table, poured them some beers, and let them go to work. Here is a list of the beers we tried, in the order they scored (#1 being the highest score....)

(click on the link to learn more about that beer)

  1. Southern Tier's Warlock Imperial Pumpkin Stout - Lakewood, NY
  2. Epic's Fermentation without Representation's Imperial Pumpkin Porter - Salt Lake City, UT
  3. Southern Tier's Pumking - Lakewood, NY
  4. Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter - Tempe, AZ
  5. Pike's Pub and Brewery's Pike's Harlot's Harvest - Seattle, WA
  6. Grand Canyon Brewing's Pumpkin Spring's Porter Williams, AZ
  7. Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale - Milton, DE
  8. Unita's Punk'd - Salt Lake City, UT

This years winner
So, there you have it, the list of Beer Czar's top Pumpkin Beers for 2014! Overall, I think a pretty good list of some really good pumpkin beers! Nice to have a couple of Arizona beers in there this year too. Next year we are planning a slightly larger event, so we will have room for a few more folks. If you would like to be a part of next years event, or any other events we might have in the near future, please let me know and drop me a line at thebeerczar@gmail.com

Here is a quick video with some more pic's, and the results, set to some awesome music!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Oct 20, 2014

Cooking with beer - Pumpkin Beer Mac and Cheese

OK, I found this recipe on Pintreast a while back, and thought it looked pretty good, so I posted it on my Facebook page. Well, a bit has changed since them. For one, it proved to be a very popular post, and I had a lot of people asking for more info about it (mostly people that weren't on pintreast and couldn't see the whole recipe), so I figured with all the demand, I should post it on the blog. The main reason however I wanted to post it here, well, I actually made this over the weekend! I served it at my 2nd Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting, and let me tell you, it was Fan-freakin-tastic! One of the better beer recipe's I've made. If you like pumpkin, and you like mac and cheese, you MUST give this recipe a try. Just ask anyone that was there, and they can back me up on it.

One tip, this recipe makes A TON of it, so, it may be best to at least half the recipe, unless you planning on serving a dozen people or more (seriously, it makes a lot)

To view the original post, with author notes click here.... (photo credits go to them as well)

So, here goes....

  • 8 cups dry elbows
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 24 ounces pumpkin flavored beer (nothing fancy, I just used Blue Moon Pumpkin)
  • 24 ounces (10 cups) Freshly grated Extra Sharp Cheddar
  • 2 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  1. Fill a large pot with water and cook pasta according to instructions on the box. Only cook until al dente, you don't want to overcook it, because the beer cheese sauce will cook them further.
  2. In a separate large pot, over medium-high heat, add the butter. Cook until melted and bubbling.
  3. Whisk in the flour, creating a roux, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the beer and milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and add the cheese.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, continue stirring 4-5 minutes until cheese is fully melted and the sauce begins to thicken.
  6. Stir in the cayenne and pumpkin pie spice.
  7. Mix in the pumpkin puree and cook 3-4 minutes longer.
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Strain your pasta, and pour it into a large pan. Pour the beer cheese sauce on top and mix into the pasta.
  10. Optional--you can add some panko bread crumbs on top if you like some crunch. We prefer it creamy!
  11. Cover the pan with tin foil and Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Remove and allow to cool. If the sauce still seems soupy, don't fret! As it sits, it thickens and absorbs into the pasta. Enjoy!
Seriously, if you are heading to any sort of fall, autumn or "harvest" potluck, or just having friends and family over for some food, this just a great fall dish. Even if you aren't into beer.
So, let me know what you think, enjoy!
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Oct 15, 2014

Cooking with beer - Beer-Candied Bacon

I have posted this recipe before as part of a Fathers Day breakfast. I was actually asked to post it again on its own. So, here it is.....this look fantastic!

Beer-Candied Bacon

1 lb thick-cut, high quality bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp beer ( I like to use a nice brown ale)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine brown sugar and beer in a small bowl, whisking well to form a thin syrup. Set aside.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top. Place the pieces of bacon on top of the rack, overlapping if necessary. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush one side of the bacon with the beer syrup. Flip, and coat the other side with the syrup as well. Return to oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and repeat process another time or two more, until bacon is crispy and browned, and you have used all the glaze.

Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar

Oct 8, 2014

Butterbeer recipe, made with actual beer!

Harry and his odd looking friend with a Butterbeer
Over the past few years, I've seen a fair number of "butter beer" recipes (the fictional drink enjoyed by Harry Potter and crew in that series of books and movies). Sadly, very few of them actually contained beer, and the ones that have, didn't even look good enough to warrant a try.

Well, I saw this posted on line today, and I must say, this one looks good, and, well, rather timely given the time of year. A very simple recipe, involving only 2 ingredients (5 if you make your own butterscotch sauce, recipe for that below). This looks like it would be a prefect drink to make for a Halloween party, or even a Thanksgiving gathering (after dinner of coarse. It even looks like it did in the movies.

Again, its super simple, and looks delicious!

I originally found the recipe on Popsugar.com, you can see their complete article here......

Real Butter Beer Recipe….
12 ounces of a sweet, pumpkin ale, like Wasatch or Pumking (or even, god forbid, Blue Moon Pumpkin)
3 to 4 tablespoons butterscotch sauce (recipe below)

  1. To make hot Butterbeer: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine beer and 3 to 4 tablespoons butterscotch sauce. Whisk occasionally, and cook until beer just begins to boil. Taste, and adjust with more butterscotch if necessary. Transfer to a mug.
  2. To make cold Butterbeer: Pour cold beer into a blender. As blender is running, carefully pour butterscotch in a steady stream. Blend until just combined. Avoid over blending (which can flatten the beer). Taste, and blend with more butterscotch if necessary. Transfer to a mug.

 For the Butterscotch sauce……

4 tablespoons salted butter
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat, add butter and sugar. When butter is melted, whisk butter and sugar together and then whisk in heavy cream. Bring to a foamy boil, and cook 4 minutes, whisking occasionally, until mixture deepens in color.
  2. Turn off heat and carefully whisk in remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream, followed by vanilla extract.
  3. Transfer to a small 8-ounce mason jar. Do not scrape down sides of the pot (the burned-on caramel may make your sauce gritty). Allow butterscotch to cool slightly before securing with a lid. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Fills one 18oz Mason Jar….
There you have it! Try that, and enjoy!
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar