Cooking with Beer: Sunsets and Sculpin

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Last weekend, my dad came to visit me in NYC and, although he visits regularly, he hasn’t met many of my friends!  Time to remedy the situation with a cookout at one of my favorite places – Brooklyn Bridge Park – and with some of my favorite people.  But what to serve?  Serious food and beer decisions needed to be made!

I love dark beer, cooking with it, drinking it, talking about it, but I’m probably one of the only crazies that would drink it outdoors, at sunset, when its 85+ degrees out.  So my tastes are overruled by general convention.  That said, I’ve long been intrigued by several of the fruit infused beers from Ballast Point, pineapple that people swear isn’t overly sweet and watermelon that supposedly tastes natural?  Time to give this a try.

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But what to grill?  A good friend of mine doesn’t eat red meat, so fish was a must – simple salmon and lemon skewers.  Dad, on the other hand, is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy when it comes to grilling.  Here was my opportunity for incorporating dark beer!  I mixed together some things I found in the pantry

  • Dark beer:  1/2 a cup – left overs to drink while cooking!
  • Brown sugar:  3 tablespoons
  • Garlic:  4 cloves, minced
  • Soy sauce: 4 tablespoons
  • Worcestershire: 1 tablespoon

I cubed 1.5 lbs of beef for a quick 1 hour bath in all of the above ingredients  mixed together

When choosing a beer for this recipe, it’s important to keep it simple, nothing barrel aged or with additional flavors, go with the basic porter.  I love both Founders Porter or Central Waters Mud Puppy for this purpose.

Armed with some delicious skewers to grill, a bunch of fresh asparagus, potato salad, an even mixture Watermelon Dorado and both Pineapple and Grapefruit Sculpin, we walked the 10 minutes down to the park for a sunset grill session.  Forget the fact that we didn’t bring enough charcoal and had to beg for grill space from others to remedy our “grill-mergency” it was a great night!

Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin:  Okay, okay, this is pretty enjoyable… I said it.  If I had to have an IPA and something cold/refreshing, it would be this.  The sweetness of the pineapple balances out and rounds out the hops which are, in and of themselves, decidedly tropical resulting an interesting combination.

Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin: Not a lot of grapefruit here very light and what I do taste is more of a grapefruit rind – not sweet, no juiciness, the bitterness plays off of bitterness well here.

Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado:  Caution!  This is easy drinking for a 10% beer.  Oddly balanced.  Bitter hops, sweet watermelon.  A weird competition ensues… my least favorite of the 3.

 

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