Beer Syrup

Yes, you read it right – beer syrup. What, you ask, exactly is that?

It’s a lovely elixir of almost unbelievably luscious flavors made by using beer in reductions and, well, to make syrups. On pages 197 & 199 of the new (totally fantastic!!) Beer Pairing book by Julia & Gwen, they cover making syrups.

goodies simmering in beer....

goodies simmering in beer….

I’ve got some in my fridge from the prep I did for the Big Beers festival in early January. For the seminar I lead, I had simmered various fresh citrus fruits & dried vegetables in beer. Once the fruits and vegetables were done, I saved the liquid. Almost every liquid in my kitchen finds a new life in other dishes. At a minimum the worms in my compost pile are extremely happy with what we give them!

Making beer syrup is quite simple with perhaps the most difficult part simply deciding which beers to reduce. Caveat: very bitter beers are not good candidates, as they can get very unpleasantly tannic. (I first learned this in cooking prep for the TFOB). It’s not what you or the beer really wants. All the same, experiment and cook a variety of beers down to see what you get, taste every few minutes to learn more about what’s happening and how the flavors change until you find what you want.

In preparation for my Vail session, I simmered ruby red grapefruit, lemons, limes, blood oranges, valencia oranges, and kiwi in 3 different beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash Nancy, and Bruery Terreaux Oude tart with Bosenberries. WOW! Talk about a very fun and tasty experiment – or shall I say exbeeriment….in all events, the syrup in my fridge from those exploits is deliciously awaiting being included in recipes. So far, I’ve used some for baking sweet potatoes (yum), smoothies (yum), and punch

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences - Vail rocks!

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences – Vail rocks!

(yum). They’re quite versatile so get creative.

Lucy Saunders, long time food & beer pro, is an outstanding resource for cooking with beer. Her books are useful, fun and a delight for the enthusiastic cook using beer in the kitchen. And I’m just starting to get to know Adam Dulye, beer chef for the BA.

When you find yourself looking for a new idea, make some beer syrups. I guarantee it’s beer as you’ve never had it before and well worth while. Oh, and sipping on a beer while you’re cooking is the best way to happily wait for the alchemy to happen.

Cheers!

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Another Big Success at Big Beers Fest

Many thanks to all of you who supported the recently completed Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival in Vail, Colorado USA. As anticipated, it was a smash and a ball, thanks to the vision, hard work, logistical magic and mojo of many.

Guests doing a pledge with me at Big Beers 2016

Guests doing a pledge with me at Big Beers 2016

It was with great relish I was invited to return and present again – so that I did. Here’s the link from my session, Wandering Around The Kitchen with Ginger. Great crowd (you know who you are!) and super helpful and fun volunteers to boot, guided by my Fine Husband as well. Preparing and sharing food and drink is at the top of my happiness list in life.

As I promised the room full of folks, here’s the menu I served.

My original menu was entirely different, with fully prepared dishes. Alas – one of the powers that be sent down orders from on high at a very late hour, so – being nimble, I switched to fit a whole different set of parameters. Can do.

In the bigger scheme of things, I pride myself on being nimble and being able to change with the flow. Everything is possible and I was there to take care of my host, the Festival and founders first.

prepping the mushrooms with Dragon's Milk

Prepping the mushrooms with Dragon’s Milk

Wandering around the kitchen is descriptive of how I approach and navigate my food & cooking world. It’s overflowing with opportunity, ideas and shiny things to try. I do wander…through my fridge, larder, recipe books & files, brain, and the stores I visit. It’s one great big tasty adventure and I fully embrace it.

A number of attendees who sought me out afterwards told me they would have never thought to use beer for rehydration or that they don’t usually eat mushrooms but they tried them and various other comments. Success is measured by participation. When you dig in, literally, then you achieve. When you let it pass, you negate discovery out of hand. Pity, really. Fun and exploration are so much more rewarding.

So thanks to the following for their help & assistance. See you again soon ~

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All Hail Vail!!!

Yes, it’s that time of year again folks: The Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival is kicking off this week in snowy gorgeous Vail, Colorado, USA.

Yours truly will be returning (queue the music please) to give a lively & info chocked beer & cooking session: How To Cook With Beer, Wandering Around The Kitchen with Ginger. It’ll be loads of fun, there will be tastes and tricks, tips & ideas for you to take home with you.

Vail Cascade Resort awaits BBBB....

Vail Cascade Resort awaits BBBB….

Laura & Bill Lodge, Sister & Brother Wonder Team, put together this world class event and I’m thrilled to be heading there again.

In 2014 I was invited to present for the first time – here’s the menu I made & served to the happily SRO room. Wow! Yes, please – sign me up for more. They do such a great job there’s a wait to be asked to return to present if you fit their needs.

I’m also hosting a Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, Pour it on! You can register here.

Laura knows I’m available at a moments notice for this one and anything she’s involved in. Great people usually = great events.

Hats off, pints up and skis on – see you in Vail!

Now, back to my kitchen…I’m fine tuning the goodies to be served with my 3 fan-taste-tical beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash’s Nancy & The Bruery’s Oude Tart with Boysenberries (is your mouth watering yet??)

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Beery Details for 2016 Vail Big Beers Cooking With Beer Seminar

Whew!

One thing I am grateful for is friends. Industry friends in particular are on my mind today, as I am developing my seminar at the 2016 Vail, CO Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival.

It’s a huge treat to be invited to return and give another flavorful session to a packed room. Thanks to Laura, Bill and everyone who gets this tasty beast off the ground, year after year.

Ginger & John Holl at 2014 BBBB (yes!!)

Ginger & John Holl at 2014 BBBB (yes!!)

I love this festival for many reasons: well run, well done, well attended, super engaged guests, a slightly elevated (though not snobby) brand of attendee. My former WEB Captain Diane and I rocked the session out in 2014. Perhaps it was the aroma from the slow cooker of the Grown Up Pork & Beans I made in our hotel room…in any event, Vail – here I come again.

As alcohol regulations stipulate, interstate trade of beer has its own miasma to negotiate, including labeling. To that end, two of my three choices for breweries were ruled out this week. Damn! So I set about to scramble and replace.

It’s not fun to be asked – “Hey – I need a replacement for someone else, it’s short notice…can you help me?This is where relationships come full circle. I was able to call on two other industry frolleagues who were very quick to reply and say YES! Both of whom I’ve worked with before in beer, food & cooking events. They understand the rules of beer law and see the value in working together.

Today I’ve got it all dialed in, thanks to the help of all three generous breweries & folks. Here they are:

The Bruery, Placentia CA. Patrick’s beers and operation have long-held my taste buds at attention – the styles they brew really agree with me, are very refreshing, low alcohol many, and I’m very eager to develop my recipe and serve it with a fresh Bruery beer at the event.

New Holland Brewing, Holland MI. My friend Fred, aka The Beervangelist, stepped right up to the plate. He and I have done the Fred & Ginger show (literally!) at GABF and other events (SAVOR) as well as sharing a passion of the bigger picture of food, cooking and community. I’ll gladly be cooking with and serving one of their beers in Vail.

Are you coming?

Are you coming?

Allagash, Portland ME. Having featured Fluxus in 2014 at Vail, I was very happy they replied so quickly to my request to again be one of my partner beers. And deliciously so! Allagash is an absolute go-to brand for me – my husband even packed 3 (4) packs home with him earlier this year when he was in Portland. Good man. Great beer. Thrilled to have them return to the line up for my event.

A BIG shout of thanks to the two who won’t be served (this time):  Jared Long, Brewer & my brother in beer, Altitude Chophouse & Brewery, Laramie, WY & Larry Chase, Brewer & My Fine Husband, Standing Stone Brewing Company, Ashland OR.

So – support your local brewer? Heck Yea I do!! Local casts as wide a net as you wish your neighborhood to be. The globe is my neighborhood and I’m sending cheers to these neighbors today.

See you in Vail ~

p.s. the skiing is snowtastic too!

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Maine2

For those of you who tuned in yesterday, you read about a Maine Beer, Gritty’s – with 3 locations in that fine Northeast state.

It brings me to a comment made by Rob Tod (clever profile by the way), founder of Allagash, another fine Maine brewery.  The comment was made at a CBC panel discussion…and really the context is adaptable. Of course it was in reference to “Keeping It Real”, the panel topic of the session.

Regardless of the context, I liked the inferred meaning – and feel like you can plug it in, in many ways, many different situations.

“It’s not a big thing, it’s not a small thing, it’s just a thing.”

How many things do we make too big or too small when we should just deal with it as is?

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