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.


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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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Recipes That Drive Me Nuts

Okay – no pun intended – there are recipes that makes me crazy aka drive me nuts. You know the ones. The ones that call for “1/2 cup of beer.”

Seriously!? Do recipes call for “1/2 cup of dairy product” or “1/2 pound of meat” or “1 cup of vegetables”?



What kind of beer = important in recipes

As an avid and enthusiastic cook, I usually reference recipe books and books with recipes (not the same thing) for inspiration. If there’s chemistry involved, like muffins or other baking, I pay attention. If there isn’t as much science and the art and exploration of cooking can safely be executed and embraced, I usually cook that way.

It’s insulting to me to have the recipe writer or even editor be this sloppy: “1/2 cup of beer.”

Since I’m starting to research food and beer books in the process of putting together WEB’s first effort, it’s annoying at best – and disrespectful at most.

Anything drive you nuts about recipes with beer?

Now, I’m going to go pour myself a 1/2 cup of beer….

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Cooking With Beer And Iowa Girl Eats

It was a distinct pleasure to take the stage last week in Des Moines Iowa for the Iowa’s Premier Beer, Wine & Food Expo presented by HyVee. Having lived in central Iowa for a while, it was also great fun to ‘be back’ and reconnect in person with friends and colleagues.

Kristin & Ginger at the Beer Expo - Cheers!

One of the highlights was to take the Royal Flooring Stage with Kristin Porter, Iowa Girl Eats. Kristin is a delight to collaborate with and super easy to work with, good sense of humor and very knowledgeable on food preparation. Her tag line says a mouthful: “Eat well. Run often. Travel Far.”

We co-presented on cooking with beer, Kristin leading the recipe charge and cooking, me emceeing and keeping the guests with mouths watering entertained between the techniques and food creation. I happily featured delicious and diverse beers from the Doll portfolio with tasty success.

Cooking with beer with Kristin, IGE

Beer is an excellent cooking ingredient and if you’ve yet to use it as such, DO SO! It’s flexible, full of flavors and easy to manipulate. Plus you can use flat beer that you simply won’t drink or is left over from time to time. freezing beer in ice cube trays is an easy and simply way to ‘store’ it until you want it.

Results? Mouth watering guests who did indeed get to taste (some came back for seconds!) Kristin’s flavorful recipes – of course made with beer. I choose Summit’s Winter Ale for the beer that cooked with Kale, bacon and browned butter. Seriously delicious.

Hope to work with Kristin again – with a name like that, it’s a good sign for beer!

Tomorrow: Review of the Beer & Glassware session I gave at the Expo

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Beer Pizza Crust

Cheers to cooking with beer!

One thing we make regularly at my house is Pizza, with – of course, beer in the crust. Think about matching the flavor of the toppings as to which beer to use.

I’ve found that a wide variety of beers can be used: porters and stouts for deeper richer flavors, pilsners and kolsch for fresher lighter flavors, bitter beers to complement spicy toppings.

Evan Benn, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, inspired the post today. He was out Guest on BeerRadio 8/22 and is also a drinks & food enthusiast. (Evan – be sure to send me your beer ice cream recipe!).

  • Everyone: Cook ruthlessly with beer, treating it as a flavorful ingredient. TIP: Store ‘extra’ beer in ice cubes trays/freezer.
  • Beer Businesses: Promote Beer as cooking ingredient, as well as a pairing complement. TIP: Offer preprinted recipe cards at events (Full Sail is good at this)

Pizza Crust with Beer

beer for pizza crust

Start the oven, 400 – 450 degrees is really optimum, so is using a baking stone. You’ll get superior crispy results using stone; a metal sheet pan is fine too.

Heat .75 c of beer choice to between 105 and 110 degrees. Make sure the beer has come to room temperature if just opened, otherwise it will wildy foam over (trust me on this one!).
Add 2.25 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 packet), and let proof. No need to add any sugar, especially since you’re using beer and there are sugars via the malt.
.5 teaspoon of salt is optional. If you’re using a salty topping like pepperoni, I’d advise against it.

rolling out the dough (p.s. wearing a beer shirt to cook in = good!)

Place 2 cups of whole wheat/white flour in a bowl. I use a stand mixer with the dough hook; of course you can mix it by hand as well.
Add heaping eighth cup of dried spices to flour before adding liquid. We use a pizza spice we get from our local Co-op; you can concoct your own by choice.

Add liquid to dry mix, swishing the container before emptying out entirely as some of the yeasty slurry will be left behind if you don’t.

Mix until it forms a soft ball. If too sticky, add a bit of cornmeal or more of the flour you used, until it’s a ball yet not too stiff.
Let sit for about 5 minutes. I turn the bowl with the dough in it upside down on my prep table, on top of the cornmeal I roll it out on to prevent sticking to the table.

YUM! Enjoy ~

Prep other toppings while the dough is resting.

Roll out the dough by hand or pin, place on preheated baking stone, top with remaining goodies, and bake until the cheese begins to brown.

Enjoy with a tasty fresh beer, of course. Even better with friends –

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Think Outside the Pint Recipe #2: Mi Mama’s Flan

Keri Bishop was one of two finalists for the Think Outside the Pint cooking with beer contest, as part of last weekends the Bite of Oregon. This great big delicious event provided the perfect opportunity to involve beer in cooking.

Keri shares: “This recipe originally belonged to my great aunt Idelia.  My mother then modified it when she moved to the USA because she could not purchase all of the ingredients in the original recipe in this country.  I then replaced the water used for the caramel in my Mom’s recipe with beer, because beer just makes everything taste better.

flan ingredients

Here is Keri’s recipe, which I recommend making – it’s totally delicious!

Mi Mama’s Flan with Hazelnut Brown Caramel Sauce

  • 12 ounces of Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown  Beer or similar full flavored beer
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 tblsp of Cornsyrup
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 12oz can evaporated milk
  • 140z can condensed milk


  1. In a pot over medium heat dissolve sugar and corn syrup into the beer
  2. Stir mixture occasionally until thick and golden brown (approximately 50 minutes)
  3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  4. Keri with her winning flan

    Pour Caramel sauce quickly into and 8x8in, pan and allow to set

  5. While the caramel is setting, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, condensed, and evaporated milks in a large bowl
  6. Pour the custard over the caramel
  7. Fill a 13 x 9 inch pan half way full with boiling water
  8. Place the pan with the flan mixture gently into the 13 x 9 pan hot water bath
  9. Carefully place into the oven and bake for 39 minutes
  10.  After 39 minutes turn the oven off and allow the flan to cool completely in the oven
  11.  Once cooled, place in the refrigerator for 2 hours
  12.  Remove from the refrigerator and slide a knife around the edges
  13.  Flip the pan over gently onto a serving platter scraping the good bits of caramel left in the flan pan over the flan
  14.  Serve and Enjoy!

We’d suggest enjoying it was a glass of the beer you created this deliciousness with – you’ll get an extra bonus of flavor!

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Think Outside The Pint Finalist Recipe #1: Beer Berry Muffins

Our sincere and yummy thanks to Chelsea Miller and Keri Bishop for being our finalists in last weekends Think Outside the Pint cooking with beer contest. It was part of the festivities at the well attended Bite Of Oregon.

As promised, here is Chelsea’s qualifying recipe. I’d highly recommend making these, as they were terrifically delicious (judges agreed!). You can use a variety of beers here – experiment and have fun!

Beer Berry Muffins, created by Chelsea Miller

Makes 18

Beer Berry Muffins



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin/s.

2. Pour the beer into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer or into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and baking powder and stir until dissolved.

3. Add the sugar and stir until combined. Add the flour and combine. Gently fold the berries into batter, being careful not to break them.

4. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and flour using a fork until crumbly.

5. Pour the batter into the greased muffin tin – each tin should be about 3/4 full. Sprinkle butter/sugar mixture on top of batter.

6. Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Let cool before removing from tins.

Enjoy them with a glass of the beer you used in the mix. YUM!

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Think Outside The Pint

Help Emily & I make the contest a tasty success!

Do you think outside the pint? Do you cook with beer?

If you do, you’re in good and growing company. Having been on live TV recently with a local station on cooking with beer, I can tell you people are interested. We all have to eat, so make it fun and tasty. Adding beer to the ingredient list is a beerific way to utilize beer you may not drink otherwise. Think: end of the growler, flat, remains of a keg. AND it still has loads of flavor to offer.

We’re working with the Bite to help bring more beer community members to the contest table. So here’s your charge: Submit a recipe that uses beer as an ingredient. The link to do so is right here. It’s easy and quick and you get to also submit a picture so have fun with it!

Special Olympics/Bite Of Oregon Crew - great people, changing lives

It’s not a skills or knowledge based competition: it’s designed to be fun and get people involved in cooking with beer, all towards a great cause: Special Olympics Oregon. Being that it’s the 40th year is a big benchmark too. Helps us make the event even greater!

Submit today!!! (the due date was actually over the weekend and we’ll take more submissions this week)

What a tasty and effective way to further integrate beer into our lives, celebrating in moderation and with your community, creating opportunity for more of us all over.

One comment

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2012 Spring Beer & Wine Fest Session: Cooking With Beer

Saturday’s 2012 Spring Beer & Wine Fest found us on the Educational Chef’s Stage sharing all sorts of great ideas on Cooking With Beer. (Friday’s session info here)

Beer has become a favorite ingredient of mine in cooking. It’s so versatile that once you start cooking with it, you can see why. Replace thinner liquids with beers, being careful to find complementary beer styles to replace. Here are a few of the many ideas we shared with a great audience.

  • Sauces with Porters
  • Gravies with Stouts
  • Muffins with Hefeweizens
  • Breads with Pale Ales
  • Soups: Gazpacho with Chili Beers
  • Crockpot: Red meats (like ribs) with fruit beers
  • sauteing & simmering
  • Baking: Chocolate cakes with stouts
  • Beerinades: Pilnser with lime/garlic/cilantro for Carne Asada
  • Ice creams with Imperial Stouts
  • Desserts: fruit cobbler with Belgians
  • Crusts & doughs: pizza crust with IPA’s

The list goes on and on. The Crux is to have fun using beer as ingredient. There are no failures – just lessons to repeat and recipes to try only once.

Thanks to Bridget and our hosts at the Fest for letting us Bring Beer To Life!

EXTRA TIP: Freeze any left over beer in ice cube trays to portions out in future cooking.

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Beer & Cheese Soup Question

From a female consumer, tapping into WEB as a resource:

Hi Ginger,
I have a question for you. One of my clients wants me to make her cheese sauce using beer instead of milk. Neither one of us knows what kind of beer to use. I thought you’d be the perfect person to ask. Any suggestions for me?
Hope all is well with you,

Cooking with beer - YUM!

Good Monday Amy –
Thanks for the ask.
What kind of cheese are you using?
What kind of flavor do you want to end up with?
What is the cheese sauce being used for or in?
Happy to get you moving in the right direction – Cheers to beer & cheese – yum!!

I’ll be using an extra sharp cheddar, she wants the sauce to taste like extra sharp cheddar (not milk) & she will be using it on asparagus.
I appreciate your taking the time,

Ahh yes – thanks!
Use something mild, since the cheddar will be sharp (clashing flavors = not good). A wheat beer can be nice, as can a mild porter or brown. Too much hoppy bitterness, while it can go with when paired as beer and cheese as they are, may not meld in cooking so much.
Let it warm to room temp if you can and be careful for foaming over once you add it to a warm pan (if that’s how you plan to do it – carbonation release is exacerbated by dramatic temp fluctuations).
Have fun – let me know how it works out.
Cheers –

Thanks Ginger, I appreciate it!
Happy spring!!

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Full Sail Ahead: Smart Festival Tabling Materials

We recently participated in a festival in Central Oregon, the KLCC BrewFest. One particular thing of note today is tabling materials for breweries at festivals.

What you out on the table is a piece of your brand that consumers can take with them or admire. Have you ever asked consumers what they’d like to see at your table? If so, good. If not, why not? Chances are good you’re investing at least some money in what you’re putting out into the universe.

Be smart and responsible with your schwag

Make sure the money you invest is hitting the target AND generating further interest and action in your brand. Pointless, crappy, off color, or tired items need to be passed over. The world does not need more foam koozies (killer on mother nature too!), if you bottle beer you can offer bottle openers (I guess) although it’s a tired idea, and in general re-look at what you’re buying to give away.

Take full responsibility of what you’re offering – even though you’ll not be at the end of the cycle. Responsible companies that think these things through resonate with women and they’ll benefit from increased and stronger brand patronage. “Oh – you care about the earth? Then I’m more likely to try/care about your brands.”

The best giveaway from this recent festival I found and took home with me was from Full Sail. They had simple, well designed, easy to read Beer Pairing Tips cards along with recipe cards. BINGO!!

These are useful and usable items that make a minimum impact, are easy for supporters to mail to other friends thus helping you market further, and straight forward.

Beer enthusiasts like to cook with beer. Women are still buying the majority of groceries so putting smart giveaways like these will go farther than you think.

With the frenzy of inventive cooking being hot and lots of media attention around it right now, you can cash into this activity. Women and men will enjoy taking a nod from your brewery on how to use this incredible beverage as a cooking ingredient as well.

Simple, easy, economical, and no foam.



Red, White & Brew Salsa

Beer + ripe tomato + onion = Red, White & Brew Salsa.

Raise your hand high if you like to use beer as an ingredient in your kitchen?! My hand is as far up as my shoulder joint will allow.

Today found me whipping up a new salsa recipe using some high quality beer in my fridge (where all self respecting beer enthusiasts should store beer).  And what fun! Beer and food, together like hand and glass. Beer is a fun and versatile ingredient for anyone who likes to cook – no matter how accomplished or novice they believe themselves to be.  Everyone starts from ground zero at some point.

Ingredients for Red White & Brew salsa

Enjoy this recipe for salsa – modify it as you and your taste buds desire. Recipe are dynamic, not permanently static; explore, experiment, enjoy. Now, go red, white and brew something else new!

Red, White & Brew Salsa


  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium to large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium rip (deep red) bell pepper
  • 6 ounces of fresh light bodied balanced beer of choice**; recommend not too hoppy or too malty (Think: Goldilocks – juuuuust right!)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno juice (i.e. the juice left in a jar of jalapeno peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • fresh Cilantro – I love fresh cilantro so I added a small handful, chopped

Stir, let the flavors mingle for a few hours to really let them develop and please you.

For chips, I like to take the 100 pack of corn or flour tortillas (6″ I think and they last a long time in your fridge), cut with a pizza roller into pieces (6 to 8 per tortilla is more manageable than 4) and toast them. If you’re making a large batch, heat the oven to 400, bake for 5 minutes, check and jiggle the pan ensuring they aren’t sticking. Replace them in the oven for another 4 – 5 + minutes, until starting to turn light brown.

If you’re making a lunch size batch for yourself, the toaster oven is perfect and much more energy efficient than firing up the entire oven. Toast them 2X on a medium setting, jiggling again between toasting sessions.

You can flavor the chips if you wish beforehand; oiling them is not necessary. I prefer them plain so they are maximally flexible with foods.

** drink the rest while prepping the salsa OR freeze it in ice cube trays to use in future cooking

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What To Do With Flat Beer

One of my favorite and effective uses of flat beer is to put it in ice cube trays, freeze it and use it in cooking at a later date.

If the beer has flavor that you like, which we’ll guess is pretty safe to say, you can still happily benefit from the basic four ingredients+ that went into said flat beer. Even if it’s a beer you aren’t real thrilled about, it’s still a great ingredient choice.

Freeze it and use it in cooking: wheat beers in white pasta sauces, deep robust flavored beer cubes in roasts and chili, and sours in baking quick breads.

My Gal Kate suggests using a fruit beer in gravy and I’d add to that using stout in chocolate cake, kolsch in a clear soup and brown to marinate lamb.

“But the beer in our house never has a chance to go flat, we always drink it all!”. Okay, okay I get that.

That said – for the women who speak up (research input alert!) and only want to drink 6 – 8 ounces of beer from a 12 ounce can or bottle, here’s a great solution. Men, feel comfy with this choice too.

As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!

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