Feb 16, 2015

Winter Beer Pictures!

OK, so, from what I hear, all my friends and family back home (in Maine) are up to their chins in snow, and suffering temps that are struggling to reach anything in the positive range.....

So, I say, if you can't enjoy the weather, at least enjoy a beer! We are looking for your pictures of you, making the most of the snow and cold with a (most likely) ice cold beer!

Send us your pic's at thebeerczar@gmail.com@gmail.com, or go to our Facebook page (here) and post them on our wall. We just want to see you enjoying a beer, despite the snow up past the roof and the temperature that starts with a minus sign.

You can be outside waist deep in it, or inside, next a to a warm cracking fire, however you choose to pass the time this winter, with beer, we want to see how!

Stay warm!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Feb 15, 2015

Looking for work? Craft 64 is hiring....

Are you, or anyone you know looking for work? Are you looking for get your foot in the door of a
beer community? Well, Scottsdale's soon to be newest beer bar is looking for help!

Craft 64 is having a "hiring fair" this coming Wednesday, the 18th, from 10am to 6pm.
They are hiring servers, cooks, prep cooks, bus/bar backs, host, just about everything.

Apply in person. Craft 64 is located at 6922 East Main Street, Scottsdale, AZ.

Tell them The Beer Czar sent you!

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends!

The Beer Czar

Feb 6, 2015

Cooking with beer: Smoked Beer Beef Jerky

My humble little smoker
I while back, I received a wonderful gift from my in-laws. They got my wife and I an electric smoker. I was not that familiar with the cooking method of "smoking" despite having an older brother that was a Master Smoker for Browne Trading Company back in my home state of Maine (he was a pretty big deal, check this out!!), as well as a brother in law that has become quite accomplished in the art as well. One thing I did know about smoking, is, I loved the results. This ancient cooking method is pretty simple, a lot of fun,
Its been around for a while
and a great way to spend a day. What I love about smoking is, its similar to the same reason I love smoking cigars so much. It gives you an excuse to hang out at home, in the backyard, and tend to your smoker. Normally with a few beers and/or a cigar in my hand(s). I've since become quite familiar with the method and love spending time trying new recipes, and creating my own. I've even been told my ribs are pretty awesome (patting myself on the back right now....)

My 'famous' smoked sausage
stuffed pork loin

One of the very first things most people will try and make when they get a smoker is beef jerky. Its a great place to start, as it is pretty simple, and a great introduction to the art. However, me being a beer guy as well, I wanted to try and combined my love of beer, and smoking, and figured, an easy place to start was with jerky. After checking out and attempting a number of different recipes, I think I have finally landed on what that works pretty well. This is still very much a work in progress for me (as are just about all my recipes) but I figured, this is a pretty good base recipe to start. So please, I encourage you to try it, and tweak it, adjust it, whatever. Make it your own, that is the fun of it....

Smoked Beer Beef Jerky


     3 - lbs beef top round or roast
     1 - bottle Rad/Amber Ale (I use Fat Tire, but use whatever)
     1/3 - cup worcestershire
     2/3 - cup soy sauce
     1/4 - cup molasses
     1/4 - cup brown sugar
     1 - Tbs onion powder
     1 - Tbs garlic powder
     1/2 - Tsp Chipotle Chili Powder


24 hours before you are ready to cook....

First, make sure you trim as much of the fat off whatever cut of meat you pick for this. Fat not only can turn rancid quickly, it ads considerably to the drying time. Then you will need to cut your meat (against the grain) into about 1/4" thick strips. A nice long (and sharp) slicing knife works well, but if you aren't comfortable, ask the butcher behind the counter to do it for you. Just tell him you are making jerky with it, and he'll know exactly how to cut it. Just note, if you cut it yourself, it is VERY important that each slice is as close to the exact same thickness. If not, they will dehydrate at an uneven rate, causing some to be either under done, or over done, which you do not want, and can even be unhealthy.

Next, mix all of the ingredients into a large pot and stir and heat until it is hot to the touch (do not boil!) and then turn off the heat. Continue to stir thoroughly for about 5 to 10 minutes or until molasses and brown sugar have fully dissolved. Let cool to room temp (about an hour). Divide your meat into two separate gallon size bags zip lock bags (or if you have them, one of the large 2.5 bags work great) and then divide the marinade in half, and add it to each one of the bags. Marinate the meat for about 24 hours in the fridge.

Time to smoke!!
Heat your smoker to about 150 degrees. As far as wood chips go, Hickory is my favorite for jerky, but use whatever your favorite chips are. I also found the Jack Daniels Barrel wood chips work nicely as well.
Now, you won't have to (and probably shouldn't) cook the jerky entirely in the smoker. I've found about 3 hours in the smoker under moderate smoke is plenty of time to give it that nice, Smokey sweetness. To much smoke flavor can give it a kind of burnt taste, that isn't very pleasant. After about three hours in the smoker (just make sure to check regularly, I transfer the jerky into the oven at a low temp (again, at a low temp, about 125, to 150) and continue cooking until you have reached your desired level of "chewy". This will can, and will vary greatly, depending on the cut of meat you choose, fat content etc.. It can be almost done after 3 hours in the smoker, it my take a few more hours in the oven. Just keep a close on it, and check it frequently. It can be boring, but on the plus side, your house will smell fantastic!

Once it is done, let sit out on the counter, and cool. Then place in large zip lock bags, and this stuff will stay good for a good long time. I have never been able to test exactly how long, since I eat it before it goes bad, but I assure you, it will keep long enough for you to eat it all. Just keep it sealed up, and it will be fine.

So, give that a try!!!! You will not only love the results, but you should have a lot of fun with the process as well.

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

Feb 5, 2015

Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Peanut Butter Cups

I try to post beer recipes on here frequently. Every time I go searching for a new, exciting recipe, I almost ALWAY find myself landing on one site, and you've heard me talk about her over and over, but The Beeroness has, what I consider hands down, the best cooking with beer site on the web. I've spent hours surfing her site, looking at everything from appetizers, and finger food, to main coarse, to, desserts! Please check it out when you have a moment.

Now, when it comes to desserts, few flavor combinations excite me more then peanut butter and chocolate, so, when I saw this super easy, simple (just 3 ingredients!) and delicious recipe, I had to post it. That's right, peanut butter cups, with beer! Check this out....

Oh and if you get a moment, check out her entire write up on this recipe, its actually quite funny. Check it out here.....

Chocolate Stout Peanut Butter Cups

  • 8 wt oz (about 1 ½ cups) dark chocolate (60% cocoa content)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup stout or porter (espresso or smoked work best)
  • Add the chocolate to a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted.
  • Line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin papers.
  • Add about 2 teaspoons of chocolate to the muffin papers (about 1/3 full). Use the back of a spoon to “paint” the sides of the mini muffin papers, making sure to cover the entire paper.
  • Chill until the chocolate has set, about ten minutes.
  • In a small bowl stir together the peanut butter and stout until well combined.
  • Fill the chocolate cups with peanut butter mixture until just below the top.
  • Add a small amount of melted chocolate to the top of the peanut butter, making sure to cover
    the entire mound of peanut butter, smoothing to make a flat top.
  • Chill until set, about ten minutes.
Doesn't get much easier, or tastier then that!!! I know what I'm making this weekend!
By the way, if you have a favorite beer recipe, and would like to share it, by all means pass it along to me. You can email me at thebeerczar@gmail.com
Until next time
Bottoms up my friends
The Beer Czar

Feb 2, 2015

Brewed the hard way???

Yesterday, we witnessed what will surely be labeled as a "classic" Super Bowl. My beloved Patriots took on (and were almost beaten by) the Seattle Seahawks looking to defend their title. Had it not been for a bone headed play call and a spectacular interception in the final 30 seconds of the game, they most likely would have done just that. However, they didn't, and I couldn't be happier about it!

Seriously, has there ever been a bigger interception, or a worse play call in Super Bowl history?

....but I digress.

The game isn't what I want to talk about (at least not here). I want to talk about the commercials, or more specifically, A commercial, this one......

If you are on any sort of beer websites, blogs, facebook pages, whatever, you have no doubt seen countless discussions, or mile long threads about this ad, and its perceived (and probably justifiably so) slight on Craft Beer drinkers. I think people are missing one big point however......

What was this ad intended to do?

Convert craft drinkers to Bud? Won't happen, In Bev knows this....or was it simply meant to piss off Craft Beer Drinkers? Well, that really isn't hard, just serve them a beer in a frosty glass, its cheaper then a Super Bowl ad, and almost as effective. No, this ad, as with all ads,  was meant to promote the brand of Budweiser, and to a large Corporation like AB InBev, promoting a brand means you get people talking about it, good or bad. In that, they succeeded, and succeeded huge! Like I said before, if you spent any time on any craft beer site, or page, you will have seen the discussions, posts, meme whatever, about this ad. I can't remember the last time so many craft people were talking about Bud. The old saying "there is no such thing as bad publicity" is true. Bud wanted to get craft people talking about their beer, and that's exactly what happened.

A great response from Firestone Walker
Now, let me say, I think a lot of the discussion is justified. The ad took a shot, and people are right to respond and 'defend' themselves. However, I didn't take this ad personally, it didn't make me mad, I'm not going to start a crusade against Goose Island, or any such thing. This ad did nothing to change my opinion of them, or their product. This is something I would expect from them.
The ad worked, plan and simple. Love it, or hate it, it did what it was suppose to do. This ad has as much to do with their beer as a lost puppy, but both get their name in the news, and on peoples mind, and thus, on their lips (at least talking, not drinking, necessarily) . Hell, I am even writing about it, damn it, I was sucked in!

So, like this ad claims, Budweiser may be made for drinking, but I like beer that is made for tasting, and enjoying, savoring, and yes, god forbid, maybe even a little dissection. That is the only reason I drink beer, and not because some ad tells me to drink it, or which one to drink, and despite the fact that some people may think me "snobbish" to do so, but that is why I drink beer, and its why we all should drink beer. Drink what you like, not what your told......

And drink local!

I challenge you to do this in the next week or so. Go to a local brew pub, one that doesn't distribute
much further then their door step, if at all. Ask the bartender if you can see the owner, or the Brewmaster, because you want to speak to them. I can almost guarantee you, if they are there, they will come out to speak to you. If they have time (and please, ask if they do, they can be very busy), talk to them, ask them about their beer, and why they brew. Trust me, the answers you get will not be anything you will ever hear in a Budweiser ad.

Oh, and don't forget to thank them, and support them.

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar