By Andrea Buckett
Not just a summer sipper, beer has all the flavours you want in a fall drink, too—sweet and toasty malts, peppery hops, and yeasts that can impart a range of flavours from cooked banana to sourdough. Craft brewers often add autumnal flavours to the mix, too, such as pumpkin pie spice or honey. And what better to pair with a smooth brew on a crisp fall day than comfort foods made with beer?
Here are seven great options that are easy to execute and make the most of fall harvest season:
With the last of the season’s tomatoes coming off the vine, try some beer in your go-to pasta sauce recipe (or go-to store-bought variety, it really doesn’t matter). In the last 20 minutes of cooking, add about a cup of beer to the sauce. Let it simmer and reduce until thick. Pair with a pasta dish made with sausages, mussels, or vegetarian spaghetti drowned in Parmesan.
A nice hostess gift at Thanksgiving, or just nice to have around for leftover turkey and ham sandwiches, beer mustard is so easy to make. Just stir a bottle of beer into about a cup of Dijon mustard. Add 1/2 cup of grainy mustard and season with honey, salt and pepper. A little mayo makes this nice and creamy, too, but isn’t essential.
No proofing or kneading required, and this dough is so easy kids can do most of the work. Just mix 3 cups of self-rising flour with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Pour in 1-1/2 cups of beer, stir gently, and bake in a bread tin at 375˚F until done, about 45 minutes.
Everybody knows a splash of stout beer makes beef stew even better. The same rules apply to beef barbacoa: brisket slow cooked with Mexican flavours of chipotle and cumin and piled high on soft corn tortillas. Adding a cup of stout beer to the process makes the beef even more tender and amplifies all the earthy barbacoa spices.
Butternut Squash Soup
Your favourite puréed fall soup is honestly better with just half a bottle of beer. Add it in with all the other ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer then purée. You’ll find it adds more body to the soup, and friends and family will never guess the secret ingredient that makes this classic fall soup even better.
Rich with tomatoes, beef, hearty beans and a slew of spices, slow-cooked chili is another great place to pour in a whole bottle of beer. Use your favourite brew to deglaze the pot after sautéing beef and onions, then dump in the rest of the ingredients and simmer. Or, just add everything at once to a slow cooker, push the button, and enjoy when ready.
If you love the rich, chocolatey notes of stout beer in brownies, you’ll also love stout beer in chocolate cake. Make it the easy way by adding 1-1/4 cups stout to a chocolate cake mix, bake and enjoy. For even more flavour, stir a few tablespoons of stout into chocolate icing to smear overtop.