Whether you’re a card-carrying member of the über craft beer geek brigade or a casual fan of barley-based beverages, you probably think you know a thing or two about beer. If anything, you’ve undoubtedly picked-up a few fun facts from TV commercials. And surely the trusted producers of your favorite frost-brewed refreshments wouldn’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars misleading you… or would they? If you’ve ever wondered what “triple hops brewed” or “cold-filtered” really means, check out our infographic – it may change the way you view the beer aisle.
In April 2010, Blackball Belgian IPA joined Big Barrel Double IPA in KARL’s Coastal Reserve, but this hoppy Belgo-American strong ale got its start long before the first bombers rolled off the line. In fact, the inspiration for this beer, like many of our most popular offerings, came from a small batch brewed at one of our brewpubs. I caught up with brewer Nolan Clark to recount how his “Belgian Stranger” strong ale evolved into today’s Blackball Belgian IPA.
“The Belgian Stranger came about when I was brewing downtown… Some people don’t know me as a brewer for Karl Strauss but as a drummer, specifically for a local San Diego reggae band by the name of Stranger – hence the name of the beer. All the guys in the band love craft beer and enjoy drinking local brew just as much, so I wanted to create something as sort of a tribute to them. Long story short, I wanted to brew a high gravity Belgian Pale Ale with some of my favorite West Coast hops.”
Any particular reason why you chose to create a Belgian-style ale with a West Coast hop profile?
“I’d been drinking a lot of Belgian-style beers at the time but hadn’t really had many West Coast-style Belgian pales. I like simple things that function well, so I went with a pretty simple recipe; Pale 2-row, Carapils and C-40 for color – a pretty typical pale ale malt base that really makes the hops to stand out. I also chose an Abbey ale yeast from White Labs that could handle the higher gravity and would also impart the distinctive clove and spice notes characteristic of many Belgian styles. “
And the result?
“My simple approach ended up working really well. The Belgian yeast strain gave me a super dry and spicy beer that really allowed the citrusy Cascade and Amarillo hops to shine through. I also added some coriander and Curacao orange peel during the boil which added to the citrus and spicy notes in the beer.”
What did people think?
“It was so well received that Paul and the guys had me brew a second batch for American Craft Beer Week 2009, and ultimately we used the recipe to create what is known today as Blackball Belgian IPA.”
Are there any major differences between the original Belgian Stranger and Blackball?
“There’s really not too much difference between the two, other than the Stranger’s alcohol content (10.6%) and Blackball’s massive dry hop addition of choice New Zealand hops. Overall, if you put Stranger up to Blackball, you would notice that Blackball has a more pronounced hop profile, while the Belgian Stranger is a bit higher in ABV. To this day, I still refer to Blackball as the Belgian Stranger. Maybe I’m a little too proud, but sometimes you gotta savor those moments of inspiration and creative satisfaction. Drink up ya’ll and don’t forget to share. Cheers!”
Blackball Belgian IPA
Stats: 8.5% ABV – 14 SRM – 80 IBU
From the label: When checkered blackball flags dot the California coastline, experienced surfers migrate to advanced breaks where strangers to the sport dare not. Blackball is a Belgian-inspired India Pale Ale with a robust West Coast hop profile. Belgian ale yeast, coriander, and Curacao lend a fruity and spicy character for an ale bolder than your average IPA. A blend of New Zealand and Cascade hops add a vibrant floral aroma and clean citrus hop bitterness that lingers through its’ crisp, dry finish. Drink up while it’s young, heavily hopped IPA’s are best enjoyed fresh.
Behind the Beer: Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
It was around this time last year when we were making the final tweaks to a beer that would become Wreck Alley, our Imperial Stout brewed with cocoa nibs and coffee beans. And as we look forward to releasing our first barrel-aged version of Wreck Alley on March 1st, we thought we’d share the story behind the original beer, or at the very least some of the interesting details that wouldn’t fit on the label.
Finding the right coffee…
In our search for the perfect coffee beans, we were certain about two things; first, we wanted a roast that would complement the dark chocolate flavors of the beer without adding bitterness, and second, we wanted to work with a local roaster. Fortunately, the folks at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters were not only willing to supply us with their award-winning coffee, but even offered to create a special roast for Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. After plenty of sampling, we landed on lightly roasted beans from Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. The flavors were delicate, and when cold-steeped, the coffee had a nutty, roasted, and toffee-like character.
What the heck are cocao nibs, why do I keep hearing about them, and what are they doing in a beer?
Simply put, cocoa nibs are cocoa beans that have been roasted, de-husked, and crushed into pieces– basically chocolate in its rawest form. In brewing, the addition of cocoa nibs will add to and accentuate the dark chocolate flavors in porters and stouts. The Peruvian cocoa nibs used in Wreck Alley are roasted and prepared by Tcho Chocolate Company on Pier 17 in San Francisco, CA.
Where does the coffee and cocoa come into play in the brewing process?
This step is what all the test batches were for. We use coffee and cocoa nibs in Wreck Alley to lend their individual flavors to the beer, while complementing the flavors of the malts. Because both coffee beans and cocoa nibs can be bitter and acidic, we use a cold-steeping process where both ingredients are added to the conditioning tank after fermentation. This technique allows Wreck Alley to extract the flavors and aromas of the coffee and cocoa without adding bitterness or acidity.
San Francisco Beer Week kicks-off today and we couldn’t be more excited to participate in the Bay Area’s annual craft beer celebration for the first time. When we expanded beer distribution into Northern California last year, we missed San Francisco Beer Week by about six-months. This year however, we have a handful of events planned in San Francisco and San Jose that will feature San Diego favorites like Red Trolley Ale and Tower 10 IPA, as well as harder to find special releases like our 24th Anniversary Flanders-style Red Ale and Barrel-aged Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. So, if you’re interested in dropping by for a pint and chatting up our motley crew of Karl Strauss reps, check out our event schedule below.
When I began my career in the craft beer industry, Karl Strauss Brewing Company had just celebrated 18 years of brewing in San Diego. It was 2007; San Diego was home to a close-knit band of breweries, and you could count the number of craft-savvy beer bars on one hand. San Diego’s beer scene was plenty mature at the time, but the cult-like demand for San Diego beers was still a few years away. And while high-octane hoppy beers were putting SD on the international map, a more experimental and lesser-known brewing practice was developing behind closed brewery doors.
Experimenting with different ingredients and techniques is one of the most exciting parts of brewing, especially when a little spontaneity or a happy accident leads to new discoveries and complex flavors. The most exciting discovery of my first year with KARL was sour beers. In my life before beer, I knew nothing about spontaneous fermentation or wild ales; my only real experience was pouring a Duchesse de Bourgogne down the drain because it tasted like balsamic vinegar. That being said, my education began when I discovered a cache of dusty, cobweb-covered oak barrels in a dark recessed corner of the brewery. Curious, I asked around and learned that these barrels contained sour and spontaneously fermented ales inoculated with lactic acid-producing bacteria and wild yeast. At first, I didn’t know what to make of folks using bacteria and wild organisms to make beer, but after reading up on the styles and doing a little bar stool research, I was hooked. (more…)
If you’re a Wisconsin native or a regular at San Diego’s Hamilton’s Tavern, odds are you’re familiar with beer cheese soup. And while this awe-inspiring comfort food may throw a wrench in your quest to be the biggest loser, we think you’ll agree that beer cheese soup is worth a few extra minutes on the treadmill. So, if you’re looking to add another beer-centric recipe to your repertoire, celebrate this Super Bowl Sunday with Red Trolley Beer Cheese Soup.
Red Trolley Beer Cheese Soup
8 Strips Bacon
½ Cup Yellow Onion, chopped
½ Cup Celery, chopped
½ Cup Carrots, chopped
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
12oz Red Trolley Ale
1 ½ Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Half and Half
¼ Cup Flour
8 Ounces Sharp Cheddar, shredded
4 Ounces Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
Salt and Pepper to taste
If you’re hoarding a private stash of our 2010 holiday offering, Parrot in a Palm Tree, there’s no doubt you’re wondering how well it’s aged – and to be perfectly honest, we were pretty curious ourselves. So, like any self-respecting craft brewery, we took matters into our own hands and recruited a few seasoned craft beer professionals to evaluate the first installment in our less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales.
An honest and snob-free evaluation of Parrot in a Palm Tree by Ryan Ross and Randy Clemens:
Parrot in a Palm Tree – Holiday Baltic Porter 2010
8.5% ABV – 50 SRM – 35IBU
Original Description: Aged three months in San Pasqual Tawny Portbarrels, this winter warmer boasts a complex bouquet of dark fruits, espresso and chocolate, with hints of oak in its warming finish. Raise a glass to 2010 or save a bottle, as this limited release will age with the best of them.
Brewing a fruitcake ale as our 2012 holiday release was a crazy undertaking, so our sharing an off-the-wall recipe for fruitcake donuts shouldn’t come as a surprise. When considering how to include Mouette á Trois in our “Cooking with KARL” series, our first thought was to use the beer in an actual fruitcake, but that felt too easy. Instead, we took a page from the Voodoo Doughnut playbook and created fruitcake donuts. So, if you’re an adventurous type that wants to have fruitcake donuts with your fruitcake ale, try this holiday-inspired beer for breakfast recipe.
1 Cup Sugar
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
½ tsp Orange Zest
¼ cup Dried Cherries, finely chopped
¼ cup Dried Apricots, finely chopped
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
1 Cup Whole Milk
4 Cups All-purpose Flour
Mouette á Trois Glaze:
½ Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
2 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
¼ Cup Mouette á Trois, warm
What sounds better for Thanksgiving than beer bacon stuffing? It’s not a tough question; if we didn’t have you at beer, we definitely had you at bacon. So, rather than search the web for the latest vegan or paleo-friendly alternative to Thanksgiving’s most important side, commit to diet-busting tradition and try this recipe for beer bacon stuffing. Remember, we all go back to the gym in January when exercise goes back in style. Heck, why not make a practice batch of beer seasoned bacon just for fun? Seriously, make a practice batch.
Beer Seasoned Bacon
What You’ll Need:
½lb (6-7 Slices) Think-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
2tbs Red Trolley Ale
What to do:
Position oven rack about 6” from heat source and preheat to broil. Separate uncooked bacon strips and place 6 or 7 across broiler pan. Combine honey and beer in a small mixing bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds. Remove mixture from microwave, stir, and use basting brush to generously coat both sides of each bacon strip. Dust bacon with black pepper and cook on Broil for 8-10 minutes, turning every few minutes to avoid burning. Once bacon is crispy, remove from oven set aside to cool. After bacon has cooled, finely chop and reserve in a bowl for later use.
Beer Bacon Stuffing
What you’ll need:
½lb Thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Chopped
1/4lb Salted Butter
2c Yellow Onion, Chopped
2c Celery, Chopped
2c Crimini Mushrooms, Chopped (Optional)
1c Leeks, Chopped
1tbs Fresh Sage, Minced
1tbs Fresh Thyme, Minced
*Pre-prepared Chopped Beer Seasoned Bacon
2c Chicken or Turkey Stock
1c Red Trolley Ale
12c Unseasoned White Bread Stuffing Mix
Salt to taste
5 Quart Oven-safe Sauté Pan or Stock Pot
What to do:
Preheat oven to 350. Add butter and chopped bacon to a large sauté pan or stock pot and cook over high heat until edges begin to brown. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, leeks, sage, thyme, and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium, add beer seasoned bacon, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Once beer seasoned bacon is incorporated, add beer and stock to the pot, and bring mixture back to a boil. Once you’ve reached a simmer, reduce heat to low and gradually add in stuffing mix. Once all ingredients are well incorporated, taste stuffing and add salt if needed. Cover pot and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid and continue baking for an addition 5 minutes. If you’re successful, and you will be, the photo below is what you’ll have on Thanksgiving.
Need help with your Turkey? Try our beer-brine recipe.
When San Diego Beer Week kicked-off for the first time in 2009, we brewed a special release Imperial Pale Ale to commemorate what has become an annual celebration of San Diego’s vibrant brewing community. The following year we made our SDBW special release an annual event with a small batch of SDBW Licorice Stout, and in 2011 we kept the tradition going with the release of our SDBW Double IPA. For this year’s beer week release, we chose a more experimental recipe conceived by our very own brewer John Hunter. Inspired by curiosity, Halloween candy, and a borderline obsession with peanut butter and chocolate, John convinced Brewmaster Paul and the rest of the Karl Strauss team to brew this year’s special release – SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter.
San Diego Beer Week Peanut Butter Cup Porter – An English-style Brown Porter brewed with organic peanut powder, cocoa nibs, and vanilla beans. The resulting brew is a beer’s answer to the peanut butter cup – a medium-bodied porter with smooth layers of peanut butter and milk chocolate.
Stats: 5.6% ABV – 56 SRM – 30 IBU
FAQ: I have a peanut allergy, will this beer make me ill?
SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter Float
1 16oz Pint Glass
2 Large scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
8oz SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter
1 Peanut Butter Cup
If you’ve made a root beer float, this should be a no-brainer. Add two scoops of vanilla ice cream to an empty pint glass, pour chilled beer over the top, and garnish with a peanut butter cup. Growler fills of our SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter will be available 11/2 – 11/11 at each of our San Diego Brewery Restaurants. Mention San Diego Beer Week on Friday 11/2 or Friday 11/9 for an $8 ½ gallon fill.
If you’ve ever donned lederhosen and headed off to your local Oktoberfest celebration, you know the importance of eating before knocking back liter-sized steins of beer. And while Oktoberfest offers many a beer fan the opportunity to rekindle their fondness for day-drinking, nobody wants to go in unprepared. So before you end up buying a pretzel necklace out of desperation, consider trying this pork-filled beer for breakfast recipe. Prost!
Oktoberfest Pork Benedict
Oktoberfest Pulled Pork
Don’t stress, this part is easy and can be done overnight in the crock pot.
What you’ll need:
1 6-7 Quart Crock Pot
2lb Pork Rump Roast
3 12oz bottles of Karl Strauss Oktoberfest. room temperature
4 Medium White Onion, peeled whole
4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
8-10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
What to do:
1. Rinse pork roast, pat dry, rub generously with salt and pepper, and place in the bottom of your crock pot.
2. Add onion, garlic, and thyme to the crock pot, surrounding the pork roast.
3. Carefully pour room temperature Oktoberfest into your crock pot.
4. Set the timer for 10hrs on low and walk away.
5. In the morning, remove your pork roast and pull meat.
6. Keep pulled pork warm in a covered dish.
Oktoberfest Bratwurst Gravy
What you’ll need:
1 lb Bratwurst, uncooked & uncased
1/4 cup White Onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup Karl Strauss Oktoberfest, room temp
4 tbs Butter
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Whole Milk
What to do:
1. Brown uncased bratwurst and onion in a medium saucepan until nearly cooked through and crumbling.
2. Add Oktoberfest and simmer on low heat for 3 minutes. This will lend the flavor of a Wisconsin-style beer-braised bratwurst.
3. Add butter and return medium-high heat. Once butter has melted, stir in flour.
4. Slowly stir in milk, continuously stirring over medium-high heat until thick.
If you’ve never poached an egg, here’s a link to Alton Brown’s method.
No need to bake biscuits from scratch, store-bought oven-bake buttermilk biscuits will work perfectly.
Pulling everything together:
Pull biscuits apart, top with a poached egg, Oktoberfest pulled porked, and bratwurst gravy. Fattening? You betcha!
With Two Tortugas taking home medals at both the Great American Beer Festival AND the World Beer Cup, it’s safe to say the bar has been raised on our “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. This year’s beer is Mouette à Trois, a San Diego spin on the traditional Three French Hens. Long story short, we don’t have French Hens so we’re compromising with French Seagulls. As for the beer, rather than selecting a more traditional beer style like the Baltic Porter (Parrot in a Palm Tree) or a Belgian Quad (Two Tortugas), we went the experimental route. We wanted to create a flavorful winter warmer that captured the perfect mix of holiday cheer and holiday cliché, so we brewed beer’s answer to fruitcake. Think of it as a blend of “HOHOHO Merry Christmas!” and “Hallelujah! Holy sh*t! Where’s the Tylenol?”
Have a look at the label below, keep your fingers crossed that it does well at GABF, and stay tuned for a sneak preview in our Brewery Restaurants.
Mouette à Trois – Holiday Fruitcake Ale
8.5% ABV – 35 SRM – 10 IBU
From the label: Mouette à Trois est la meilleure bière que vous avez jamais goûté ou notre nom n’est pas Karl Strauss. Mouette à Trois, meaning Three Seagulls, is the 3rd installment in our less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. Brewed with fresh apricots, cherries and a blend of spices, the resulting strong ale is Belgian Dubbel meets fruit cake. Rich layers of candied fruit and warming spices are punctuated by notes of toffee and fresh-baked bread. Aging on brandy-cured French oak adds hints of vanilla that linger through a warming finish. Don’t. Even. Think. About. Regifting.
Whether your first experience came on a trip to Ensenada or on a lunch run to Ralph Rubio’s namesake eatery, few street foods define our region better than the fish taco. No, we’re not talking about that fancy-pants smoked trout and goat cheese version served by your local pop-up gastro tent; we’re referring to the beer-battered, fried goodness of the Baja-style fish taco. And while the jury is still out on who makes the very best, we think the recipe below is pretty darn good – especially since it calls for Karl Strauss Amber.
Oh, and if you haven’t heard, Karl Strauss Amber has a new look. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of Karl’s birth, we’re celebrating the original “Godfather” of beer with new packaging. You can see the new label below.
Karl Strauss Beer Battered Fish Tacos
1lb firm white meat fish filets- Rockfish, White Seabass, Kelp Bass, Halibut, or even Tilapia will work. Cut filets lengthwise to a width of about 1.5”.
1 12oz bottle Karl Strauss Amber
1 Medium Onion, sliced
2 Red Jalapeno Peppers, sliced
½ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
Combine marinade ingredients and fish in a large, covered container or zip-lock bag, and refrigerate for 2-3hrs.
Baja Fish Taco Sauce:
½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup Light Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Sriracha Chili Sauce
While your fish is marinating, make your Baja sauce by mixing the ingredients above in a small bowl. Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.
McCormick’s frying instruction adjusted to fit this recipe:
POUR vegetable oil into a large heavy skillet or saucepan, filling no more than 1/3 full. Heat oil to 375°F on medium heat.
STIR Batter mix, beer, and spices in medium bowl until mixed. Batter will be lumpy.
DIP Fish strips into batter. Shake off excess. Carefully add several pieces at a time to hot oil.
FRY 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
SERVE on corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, baja sauce, and fresh lime.
PAIR with Karl Strauss Amber, of course!
Grilling ribs requires a leisurely kind of patience – a low-and-slow attitude that’s not too common here in California. We’re not saying we’re impatient; it’s just that our patience is typically reserved for less leisurely activities, like rush hour traffic and the DMV. That being said, there are still plenty of ways to prepare a good rack of ribs without conceding any beer-drinking time. So, if you’d rather not spend your summer afternoons choking over a smoky barbeque, try our California-style BeerBQ Beef Ribs recipe below.
BeerBQ Beef Ribs
1 4-5lb Beef Back Rib Rack
2 12oz Bottles Karl Strauss Amber
Roasting Pan & Rack (16 x 12 x 2.5)
*Charcoal Grill – optional for finishing ribs
Step 1: Prepare marinade by whisking the ingredients below in a medium-sized bowl. Rinse ribs in cold water, pat dry, and place meat side down in a non-reactive pan large enough to accommodate ribs and marinade. Pour marinade over ribs, cover, and refrigerate for 8-24hrs.
1 c. Orange Juice
½ c. Pineapple Juice
¼ c. Cider Vinegar
¼ c. Soy Sauce
2 tbs. Honey
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 tbs. Fresh Ginger, grated
Step 2: Remove ribs from refrigerator, drain marinade, and pat dry. Apply a salt and pepper dry rub, place ribs on roasting pan rack, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 300. Pour both bottles of Karl Strauss Amber into the roasting pan, place rack with ribs over the beer, and cover entire pan tightly with aluminum foil. Cook ribs at 300 for 2 hours.
Step 4: Prepare orange chipotle glaze by blending the following ingredients in a blender or food processor. If you’re sensitive to spicy food, only use half the can of chipotle chilies.
Chipotle Orange Glaze:
½ c. Orange Marmalade
½ c. Honey
1 7.5oz Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
Step 5: Remove ribs from oven and keep covered for 20 minutes. Next, remove foil and drain liquid from the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to burn the <blank> out of yourself.
Step 6: Using a basting brush, generously apply glaze to both sides of the ribs.
Step 7: Finish ribs uncovered in the oven at 425 for 10 minutes, or finish on a charcoal grill to add a crispier texture and grilled flavor.
In case you missed the memo, Windansea Wheat is now available in bottles year-round. That’s right, six-packs and twelve-packs of our refreshingly smooth Bavarian-style Hefe hit store shelves just in time for summer. So, to celebrate the bottle release of our favorite warm weather wheat beer, we’re sharing this fresh summertime ceviche recipe and pairing.
Traditional ceviche is a cold dish consisting of fresh fish, shrimp, or shellfish, cooked in citrus juice. Its origins are believed to date back to the Inca, but rather than compromise the brevity of this post with a culinary history lesson, we’ll just say that ceviche has been around long enough to vary from region to region. In SoCal, ceviche is typically prepared Baja-style, using fresh caught shrimp, or rockfish and lime juice. The recipe below is based on the Baja-style, with a few ingredients added to match Windansea Wheat’s bright fruity flavors.
Windansea Shrimp Ceviche
1.5 lbs fresh shrimp – peeled, deveined, and diced in ½” pieces
1.5 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice (8-10 limes)
8oz Windansea Wheat
5 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium hothouse cucumber, diced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
1-2 red jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Sea salt to taste
Step 1: Combine fresh chopped shrimp and lime juice in a medium-sized bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours. The acidic lime juice will cook the shrimp, causing their color to change from blue/gray to pink.
Step 2: Remove lime marinated shrimp and drain off 2/3 of the lime juice. Add 8oz of Windansea Wheat, cover, and return to the refrigerator for an hour. Adding the beer will not only cut the acidity of the lime, but its sweet, fruity flavors will complement the watermelon and mango.
Step 3: Remove shrimp from refrigerator, drain off liquid, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add tomato, red onion, cucumber, mango, watermelon, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix ingredients well, add salt to taste, and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Step 4: Serve with tortilla chips and a Windansea Wheat.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a Yelp-crazed foodie, you may have noticed a resurgence of “odd bits” on local menus. Comparable to beef tongue, cheeks, and tripe, oxtail holds a tasty place outside most people’s comfort zones. And while they’re more commonly used to create flavorul stocks and stews, we’re putting them to good use in a San Diego favorite – the street taco.
Preparing oxtail isn’t difficult, it just takes time (9-10hrs). Well-prepared, oxtail is rich, tender, and flavorful. If undercooked, it will have the texture of a chew toy. So, if you’re a patient master of the crock pot, this recipe should be right up your alley.
Beer-Braised Oxtail Tacos
What you’ll need:
Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl.
¼ Cup chili powder
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tsp. black pepper
½ Tsp. cayenne pepper
½ Tsp. cinnamon
Large Frying Pan
½ Cup all-purpose flour
½ Cup butter
6-qt Crock Pot
1 22oz bottle Off The Rails
1 cup chicken stock
1 large white onion, chopped
2 celery stocks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded/chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Chopped white onion
Salsa verde or habanero hot sauce
What to do:
Rinse oxtails in cold water and pat dry.
Coat oxtails in dry rub, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Melt butter in a large skillet, dust oxtails in flour, and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. When oxtails are golden brown, remove from skillet and reserved on a plate.
Add onions, celery, carrots, peppers, and garlic to the skillet and sauté on high until onions are golden brown. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to the crock pot, adding the chicken stock and bottle of Off The Rails to the remaining vegetables in the skillet. Bring to a gentle boil and remove from heat.
Arrange browned oxtails in a layer over the sautéed vegetables in the crock pot. Pour the warm liquid contents of the skillet over the oxtails, cover, and cook on low for 9-10hrs.
Once the oxtails have finished cooking, meat should easily fall away from the bones.
Suggested beer pairing: Tower 20 IIPA – T-20’s dry hop bitterness will cut through the oxtail’s rich flavors, while complementing the zesty lime and cilantro.
Beer-infused Crème Brûlée? Yes, well, it’s more like crem-brew-lay, but you get the gist. What started out as an off-the-wall idea three years ago has since turned into one of our favorite desserts. Brewed with cocoa nibs and locally roasted Ethiopian coffee beans, Wreck Alley adds rich layers of dark chocolate and an espresso-like roast to this classic dessert.
Our Chefs Gunther and Corey, the masterminds behind this recipe, have earned a solid reputation with their drink beer/think food approach to cooking. Continually pushing the craft beer and culinary envelope with their innovative methods, these two were recently selected to share their expertise at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego.
If you’re looking for something to pair with your after dinner Wreck Alley, give this recipe a try. Also, look for this and other great beer-centric recipes in an upcoming craft beer cookbook by Chef’s Press, the publishers behind San Diego’s Top Brewers.
Wreck Alley Crème Brûlée
2 cups Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 shallow, oven-proof ramekins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place stout in pan, bring to a slow boil and reduce to a ¼ cup. Place cream in a non reactive pan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream. The pod can be used as an additional flavor enhancer by adding it to the cream while heating, remove and discard before whisking. Heat cream and vanilla slowly until steaming. When cream starts to steam remove from heat. Do not boil the cream. While the cream heats through, whisk together egg yolks and sugar with wire whisk until pale in color and sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour about ½ cup of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture whisking quickly to temper the mixture. In a slow stream, add the remaining hot cream to the egg mixture while continuing to mix with the whisk. Add the reduced stout to the brûlée mixture and mix well. Divide the mixture evenly into six ramekins, placed in a deep baking dish. Fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins and place in a pre-heated oven to cook for 40 minutes or until just set. Check for doneness by gently shaking the ramekins; the brûlée is finished baking when the edges are set/firm but the middle still jiggles a little. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to cool before serving.
Sprinkle the top of each brûlée with a thin layer of granulated sugar. With a kitchen propane torch (available at most household supply retailers) point the flame onto the sugar and heat until it begins to melt and is deep golden brown color.
Use the broiler setting of your oven to brown the sugar by placing the brûlée about an inch away under the broiler flame/heat source for 20 to 30 seconds. Check frequently to ensure even browning.
For an additional twist on this classic, add your favorite fruit like strawberries, raspberries or banana slices to brûlée. Gently insert fruit pieces by pressing them into the cold brûlée and follow the same finishing instructios above.
If you’re a craft beer drinker and you’re unfamiliar with PubCakes , we suggest you seek them out and discover what you’ve been missing. For the second year in a row, our Pastry Chef friends Misty and Kaitlin created a special beer-infused cupcake for our Anniversary. This time around, they were inspired by our 23rd Anniversary Old Ale; a beer with rich notes of bourbon, toffee and dried fruit. What they came up was such a hit at our annual Changing of the Barrels celebration, folks have been clamoring for the recipe ever since.
If you’re looking to have your life changed by a decadent dessert and beer pairing, test out this recipe provided by the ladies of PubCakes. And if you haven’t dropped by for a visit, check out their storefront in San Diego’s College Area, and try the Top 10 Cake made with our Tower 10 IPA.
Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary PubCake
1 cup Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary Old Ale
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 bag toffee bits
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring beer to a boil, remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. While the beer is cooling, add cupcake liners to your muffin pan (you’ll need about 12 standard size cupcake liners).
2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and sift together. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar on high until mixture lightens and increases in volume. Add the egg and beat in well. Next, set the mixer to low and add dry ingredients and beer in 1/3 increments until fully incorporated. Finally, add the toffee bits and mix thoroughly.
3. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven half way through the cooking time for even baking. The cupcakes are done when a stick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan as soon as they’ve cooled enough to touch; this will prevent the bottoms from steaming.
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 lemon, zested
1 16 oz package powdered sugar
1. Beat the first three ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, use the back end of a wooden spoon to put a hole in the middle of each cupcake. Put the butterscotch pudding into a zip lock bag and cut off the corner to fill each of the holes with pudding. Frost in a circle with the blackberry buttercream. Finally, top with a shortbread cookie, which were rolled about 1/4” thin and in 1 1/2” rounds. Slice a blackberry in half and place on top of the cookie.
Super Bowl Sunday is an American holiday about the important things in life: food, friends, and BEER. Regardless of one’s football affiliations, the big game has grown into a national Sunday Funday that usually leads to a three-day weekend. Whether you’re planning to watch the Super Bowl or the Puppy Bowl this year, odds are you’re going to be in the market for some good eats to go with your favorite beers. If this is the case, try our recipe for Red Trolley chili topped with beer-braised short ribs. Oh, and if you happen to run into Biff Tannen, ask him when the Chargers are headed back to the Super Bowl…
Beer Braised Short Ribs
What you’ll need:
4 bone-in beef short ribs, about 2.5lbs
3 cups Red Trolley Ale, Karl Strauss Amber, or Off The Rails
1 cup chicken stock
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stocks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red jalapeno, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs cooking oil
What to do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Season short ribs with salt and pepper and dust in flour. In a Dutch oven or large ovenproof skillet, heat oil on high heat and brown short ribs for 2-3 minutes on all sides. Remove seared ribs from pan and reserve on a plate.
Add onions, celery, peppers, and garlic to the skillet and sauté on high until onions are golden brown. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, before adding chicken stock and Off The Rails. Bring mixture to a boil and return short ribs to the skillet. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.
Uncover and continue to roast for 20 minutes, or until the meat falls off the bone. Remove from the oven and skim the fat from the braising liquid.
Red Trolle Ale Chili
What you’ll need:
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 red jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 15oz cans black beans, drained
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
3 14 oz cans diced tomatoes, not drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 12oz bottle Red Trolley Ale
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tbs beef bullion
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne
Salt to taste
8oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
What to do:
In a large stock pot, brown beef over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and peppers and sauté until onions are translucent.
Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, and red trolley ale and bring to a boil. Stir in chili powder, beef bullion, black pepper, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 ½ hours.
Top with Off The Rails braised beef short rib, shredded white cheddar, and serve.
The Holidays are over and, like most years, overindulgence may have played a part in your annual waistline expansion. Now, we’re not card-carrying dietitians but we do know that there’s still room for beer in any healthy diet – it’s purely a matter of prioritizing. Rather than sip on soda water with your cheese fries, why not make room for a beer by having a salad? Even better, why not use beer to make a flavorful dressing with all natural ingredients? Try this recipe for Windansea Wheat Raspberry Vinaigrette and think twice before giving up beer. Remember, nobody likes a quitter.
Windansea Wheat Raspberry Vinaigrette:
1/4 Cup Windansea Wheat
1/4 Cup Honey
1 Cup Fresh Raspberries
1 Tbs Italian Seasoning
2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Directions: Combine raspberries, honey and Windansea Wheat in a blender and blend until emulsified. You want this mixture to be a little on the sweet side, as the vinegar will balance it. Next, add seasoning, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and blend on high. Congrats, you’re done!
The Pairing: Windansea Wheat is an unfiltered Bavarian-style Hefeweizen with a slightly sweet and fruity flavor profile. The beer’s fruity flavors are a natural compliment to the raspberry and pear, while its subtle sweetness is a nice contrast to the tangy goat cheese. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the yeast in suspension is rich in complex B vitamins.
To the uninitiated, bread has no business meddling with pudding. They both have their places and the thought of a tapioca sandwich is about as appetizing as pouring barleywine on your fruit loops. However, once you’ve tried the real thing, you won’t care what it’s called. Truth be told, there’s no better way to make use of stale bread, unless of course you’re one for feeding the birds.
There are many different recipes for bread pudding, using different breads, fruits, nuts, and spices but this recipe truly captures the flavors of the Holidays. If you’re looking for the perfect dessert pairing to enjoy along-side a glass of Two Tortugas Belgian Quad, give this a try. If you’re a bread pudding aficionado, check out this recipe by our Chefs Gunther & Corey in December’s West Coaster Magazine.
Two Tortugas Spiced Bread Pudding
1 16oz Loaf Challah Egg Bread
3 Cups Straus Family Organic Whole Milk
2 Cups White Baking Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
8 Large Eggs
1 Tbs Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Powdered Ginger
1/4 Tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 Tsp Cayenne
1/2 Cup Dried Cherries
1/2 Cup Dried Black Currants
1/2 Cup Raisins
10 oz Two Tortugas Belgian Quad- for cooking
12 oz Two Tortugas Belgian Quad – for drinking
Day/Night Before: Place cubed bread in a large mixing bowl and leave out to stale overnight. In a medium-sized mixing bowl soak dried raisins, currants, and cherries in 10 ounces of Two Tortugas, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Pour the remaining 12oz of Two Torugas into a glass, sit down, put your feet up, and enjoy.
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, grease a 13″ x 9″ x 2” baking dish, and strain excess beer from beer-soaked fruit.
Step 2: Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices until well blended. Pour liquid over cubed bread, add beer-soaked fruit, gently mix by hand until well combined, and let rest for 25 minutes.
Step 3: Pour mixture into 13″ x 9″ x 2′ baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Step 4: Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve with fresh whipped cream and candied walnuts or frost with vanilla butter cream.
If you’ve ever made a Clark Griswold-style turkey, perhaps it’s time to give brining a try. A good beer brine will add flavor like a marinade, while sealing in the turkey’s natural juices. The chemistry behind brining is simple, but we’ll leave the osmosis and denatured protein talk for next time. All we need to know is that a beer-brined turkey is more flavorful and tender than a non beer-brined turkey. We’ve found the recipe below works particularly well with Off The Rails , Red Trolley Ale, or Fullsuit Belgian Brown . If cooking isn’t in the cards, we’re serving a full Thanksgiving dinner at our Carlsbad Brewery Restaurant.
Turkey Beer Brine:
8 Cups Beer (1 64oz growler)
8 Cups Water
1 Cup Kosher Salt
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Honey
2 Bay Leaves
3 Cloves Garlic (Smashed)
1 Large Yellow Onion (Sliced)
1 Tbs Black Peppercorns
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tsp Clove
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
1/2 Stick Cinnamon
Directions: Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add salt, sugar, honey, garlic, onion, and spices. Stir until salt, sugar, and honey are dissolved and cool to room temperature. This should take around 30 minutes and will allow the spices to lend their flavors to the brine. Once your brine has cooled, add beer and refrigerate until cold. Once your brine is cold, submerge your turkey and return to the refrigerator for 12hrs. This will yield 1 gallon of brine; scale the recipe up or down to accommodate the size of your turkey.
Tips: Be sure to THOROUGHLY RINSE your turkey in cold water after removing it from the brine to wash away excess salt. If you’re brining an extra large turkey, a plastic cooler makes a fine brining container.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the 3rd Annual San Diego Beer Week kicks-off on Friday 11/4, beginning a ten-day county-wide celebration of our favorite barley-based beverage. With Beer Week comes an onslaught of pint nights, pairing events, rare beer dinners, beer book signings, and even brewer trading cards – I didn’t fact check that last one but it wouldn’t surprise me. With so many beer events going on, the real fun is planning events that stand out. For one of our events, we teamed up with KnB Wine Cellars for a beer dinner of a different kind. Beer and grilled cheese sandwiches: the ultimate beer and comfort food combination.
The research phase began with some “field work” at Venissimo Cheese Shop, followed by an afternoon of vigorous tests. In the end, we came up with some incredible pairings and discovered that beer and grilled cheese could quite possibly be the next big thing.
Below is one of our favorite pairings that will be featured at our SDBW event at KnB Wine Cellars on Friday, November 11th from 6pm-10pm. Look for more beer and grilled cheese pairings to come, as we’re feeling a blog series coming on.
Two Tortugas Belgian Quad : Bucherondin & Fig Preserves on Grilled Brioche
Two Tortugas 11.1%ABV – Our most recent GABF award-winning beer with a bronze in the Belgian Abbey Ale category. Belgian candi sugar gives this robust strong ale a higher alcohol content over a medium body. The flavors are a delicate union of sweet toffee, dark fruits, and warming spices.
Bucherondin – “Boo-share-oh-DAN” An assertive and tangy French goat cheese that sharpens with age.
The Pairing: The sweet toffee flavors of the Belgian Quad balance the sharp tanginess of the cheese, giving it a creaminess that complements the buttery brioche. The fig jam draws out layers of dark fruit with notes of fresh berries and plums. If there were a perfect grilled cheese for dessert, this might be it.
Rather than dazzle you with fun facts about Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, Gabriel Sedlmayr, or the origins of Märzenbier, we’ll leave the historical relevance of Oktoberfest to Wikipedia. What began as a Royal Bavarian marital celebration in 1810 has since evolved into the world’s largest celebration of beer drinking. So, before you strap on your lederhosen and head off to your local Oktoberfest biergarten for an afternoon of responsible consumption, consider priming your tank with a solid breakfast.
Below are a few breakfast options that will keep you going until you buy a pretzel necklace from a stranger. If you’re in the mood for something else, check out our previous Beer for Breakfast posts. And if you wake up on Sunday and don’t feel like cooking, we do a Beer Brunch at Brewery Gardens.
Oktoberfest Bacon & Potato Fritters
1 lb Potatoes, skinned & shredded
1 Small Yellow Onion, grated
½ Cup Karl Strauss Oktoberfest
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
½ Cup Pre-fried Black Forest Bacon (Finely Chopped)
½ Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tbs Baking Powder
½ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
Reserved Bacon Fat or Vegetable Oil (for frying)
Step 1: Using a box grater, grate potatoes and onions and combine in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add Oktoberfest, mix together, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Step 2: Remove potato mixture from the refrigerator and drain off excess liquid. Transfer to a towel or cheese cloth, form a pouch, and ring out as much liquid as possible.
Step 3: In a large mixing bowl, combine potato-onion mixture, eggs, bacon, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until you’ve achieved a consistency that’s somewhere between a batter and a dough.
Step 4: Form mixture into small patties that fit in the palm of your hand. Reserve on a cookie sheet until you’re ready to begin frying.
Step 5: Heat bacon fat or vegetable oil in large skillet on medium-high heat until hot. Fry 3-4 fritters at a time for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot.
Oktoberfest Braised Bratwurst
4 German-style Bratwursts, uncooked
2 12oz Karl Strauss Oktoberfests
1 Medium Yellow Onion (sliced)
2 Springs Fresh Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1 Garlic Clove, (Crushed)
1 Tbs Butter
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
Step 1: In a large saucepan, combine sliced onions, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add brats, beer, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 2: Remove brats and set aside for the grill. Remove thyme sprigs, garlic clove, and bay leaf from the braising liquid and discard.
Step 3: Strain onions from braising liquid and place in a small saute pan with 1 tbs butter. Season with salt and pepper and saute over medium-high heat until golden brown.
Step 3: Finish your brats on the BBQ or George Foreman grill, just long enough to give them nice grill marks. Top with beer onions and serve with German mustard.
Karl Strauss Oktoberfest 5.0% ABV – A traditional German Oktoberfest Lager brewed in honor of the world’s largest beer festival. Vienna, Munich and Carahell malts provide crisp toasted malt flavors, while Bavarian Hallertau hops lend a delicate noble hop character.