For those of you who are already sick of hearing me talk about beer, I’ve got bad news: it’s not going to stop any time soon.
Beer is the Josh to my Cher Horowitz—my crush on the suds has been bubbling over for a while, and it’s time to go public with my love.
I’m happy to say that I’m now contributing to The Kitchn with the biweekly beer column Tapped In.
My latest column for The Kitchn, suggesting a bunch of Belgian- and German-style wheat ales as alternatives to Blue Moon, left me with a fridge full of witbiers and weizens.
This is no hardship, since it’s one of my favorite beer styles—and the subject of an epiphany of its own, when I pulled up a stool at Sheffield’s in Chicago way back in the distant year 2000, ordered a Pyramid hefeweizen, took a sip, and promptly marveled at the creamy, citrusy tastes that were so far from the flavorless filtered lagers of my college years.
There is, however, a lot of beer in my house right now. (Did I also mention that I restocked my beer cellar to shoot photos for a piece on how to build a beer cellar?)
And while beer on its own is just dandy, the particular flavor profile of the wheat ale family makes it a prime candidate for goosing up in a cocktail.
The beer’s de facto pairing is a lemon or orange wedge to complement the spicy notes of clove, coriander, and nutmeg and the sweet honey undertones in the brew—so it would be easy to blend it with orange juice as in a beer shandy and leave it at that.
But for this particular version, I had another fruit in mind.
The Smoking Guns, a rum-based drink from New York’s The Wallflower, might be my new favorite cocktail, blending smoked pineapple syrup, lime juice, and habañero bitters with a Laphroaig float.
The combination of pineapple with spice and smoke is compelling on its own, but these complementary tastes lend themselves to the creamy sweetness of a witbier or weissbier as well.
Grab a fresh pineapple to make this cocktail sing—while you can get away with simply juicing the pineapple without charring it first, I love the way the caramelized fruit adds depth to the drink.
You’ll get the most juice from your pineapple by using a slow juicer, which presses the fruit instead of shredding it with a high-speed blade, but you can use whatever you have available.
If you have a blender, puree the fruit and press through a fine-mesh strainer to extract as much juice as you can; just know that you may not get the full 2 cups the recipe calls for.
(Side note: I’m also now a Cicerone Certified Beer Server who’s working on becoming a Certified Cicerone. There are about 35,000 Certified Beer Servers who have successfully completed the first level of the certification program in North America and the UK—that’s the population of a small town!
Not all of us may end up as true cicerones, but even at this introductory tier, that’s quite a few more-than-casual beer drinkers. Craft beer has arrived, and to that, I say bottoms up.)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Thai or serrano chile, destemmed and coarsely chopped
- zest of 1 lime + 4 limes, juiced
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon organic canola or vegetable oil
- 4 (12-ounce) bottles of hefeweizen beer
Make the lime-chile simple syrup:
- Add the sugar, water, chile, and lime zest to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves.
- Let the syrup steep for 20 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the chile and zest.
Make the caramelized pineapple juice:
- Heat a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat.
- Brush 4-5 pineapple slices (enough to fill the pan without crowding) with the oil on one side and place in the pan.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes until the pineapple is deeply charred.
- Brush the other side of each slice with oil, flip, and cook until charred.
- Transfer the caramelized pineapple slices to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining slices.
- Chop the caramelized pineapple into chunks, then run the chunks through a juicer. You should get about 2 cups of juice from 1 pineapple.
- (Alternatively, you can grill the pineapple on a gas or charcoal grill.)
Make the drinks:
- Stir the pineapple juice, 1/2 cup chile-lime simple syrup, and lime juice together in a 2-quart pitcher.
- Carefully pour the beer into the pitcher and stir gently.
- Fill 8 highball glasses with ice.
- Divide the drinks between the glasses and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 15gProtein: 1g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.
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