Beer Syrup

I’ve made pancakes substituting beer for the water, I’ve enjoyed Kentucky Breakfast Stout, once with beer pancakes. And I’ve had beer that tasted rather sweet, like maple syrup, too. But it never occurred to me you could make the pancake syrup with beer. And it looks fairly easy. I recently ran across an article about The Art of Making Beer Syrup in Outside magazine, and apparently bartenders have been making them for years to use in special cocktails. Given that the only cocktail I almost ever order is a gin & tonic, hopefully you’ll forgive my cocktail ignorance. Apparently it’s just water (or any liquid) reduced, sugar added.

Outside’s recipe is so simple, even I could probably make it:

For best results, pour your favorite beer into a pan and slowly simmer over low heat until it reduces to two-thirds of its initial volume. Then add in an equal proportion of raw brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Pour liberally over your favorite breakfast food and wait for your insulin levels to spike.

The Good Booze blog suggests adding “a few whole cardamom pods” and “one small vanilla bean, split” to give it a little more flavor. It looks like any beer could work, although malt-forward beers seem better suited than hoppier ones, but certainly some experimentation is in order.

Allrecipes also has their own recipe, and a bar in San Francisco, The Fifth Floor (which is closed now, and reborn as Dirty Habit) used to make a drink they called Hops & Dreams, using a syrup made from Anchor Steam Beer.

And one entrepreneurial soul is trying to start the Beer Syrup Company to make commercial beer syrups.


Beer Birthday: Lucy Saunders

because beer is food: in cooking, at the table, and by the glass …

So begins the website of beer cook Lucy Saunders, whose birthday is today. Lucy has done much to promote both cooking with beer and enjoying food with beer through her books and other writings. She’s a treasure, in more ways than one. Join me in wishing Lucy a very happy birthday Lucy.

At the beer bistro in Toronto for Stephen Beaumont and Maggie’s wedding reception.

Lucy with Stacy Williams, Brand Manager for Gambrinus, at the Hot Brands reception at the NBWA Convention, when it was in San Francisco a few years ago.

During CBC in Austin, Texas in 2007, at the Moonshine bar for an event with Lucy for her book, Grilling with Beer. Here, Lucy with three contributors to her book, myself included.

Lucy with Vinnie Cilurzo at the GABF brewers reception in Denver in 2006.

Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie Carey, co-owner of Monk’s, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, also co-owner of Monk’s at the Canned Beer Dinner several Junes ago.

Beer Birthday: Sean Paxton

Today is the 43rd birthday of Sean Paxton, a.k.a. The Homebrew Chef. Sean is a mad alchemist in the kitchen and puts on some wonderful food and beer spectacles. Plus he’s a terrific homebrewer, an even better human being and a great friend. Join me in wishing Sean a very happy birthday.

At this year’s Great American Beer Festival in 2008. Bruce Paton, the Beer Chef, Sean and Dave Keene, from the Toronado, in the convention center.

Sean Paxton, with his daughter Olivia
Sean with his daughter Olivia at the Pliny the Elder release earlier this year.

Working with nitrogen at the 11-course Belgian Brunch, or Blunch, held at the Toronado.

My wife, Sarah, with Sean after the 10th annual beer dinner at the Northern California Homebrewers Festival held at Lake Francis Resort in Dobbins, California.

Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean Paxton, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers
Matt Bonney, Stephen Beaumont, Sean, Pete Slosberg & Rick Sellers at the Bistro for the Double IPA Festival this year.

Randy Mosher and Sean Paxton
With Randy Mosher at the world’s biggest beer dinner at CBC in Chicago.

Patent No. 4053653A: Method Of Obtaining Lupulin-Rich Products From Hops

Today in 1977, US Patent 4053653 A was issued, an invention of Junjiro Miyata and Yasushi Kikuchi, assigned to Asahi Breweries, Ltd., for their “Method of Obtaining Lupulin-Rich Products from Hops.” Here’s the Abstract:

A method of obtaining lupulin-rich products from hops, which comprises: subjecting frozen hop cones to coarse crushing by a first crusher equipped with a screen having width of openings in the range of 6 – 15 mm and sieving fragments of crushed hops passing therethrough to obtain a first lot of lupulin-rich product as accumulated beneath the sieve; and then subjecting the portion which passed over the screen of the sieve to recrushing by a second crusher equipped with a screen having narrower openings than that of the first crusher a screen having width of openings in the range of 3 – 6 mm, and sieving fragments of recrushed hops passing therethrough to obtain a second lot of lupulin-rich product as accumulated beneath the sieves.
The method is performed on hops and particles thereof maintained in the frozen condition.


Patent No. 6622510B2: Frozen Beer Product, Method And Apparatus

Today in 2003, US 6622510 B2 was issued, an invention of Mark S. Giroux, Joseph M. Trewhella, and Darryl Alan Goodson, assigned to Grindmaster Crathco Systems, Inc., for their “Frozen Beer Product, Method and Apparatus.” Here’s the Abstract:

A method of freezing and dispensing a beer product comprises providing beer in a sealed, refrigerated storage container under pressure; feeding beer from the storage container to a sealed freezing chamber through a sealed delivery system; freezing the beer in the chamber; and dispensing frozen beer from the chamber.

The frozen beer product preferably has a slush consistency and a density of about 50% to about 90% of the density of unfrozen beer, a temperature of between about 23° and 27° F. and a volume reduction in a filled 14 fluid ounce plastic cup sitting in 70° F. room for 30 minutes or less than 10%.

A refrigerated cabinet for supplying beer comprises an insulated beer storage compartment; a refrigeration system comprising a compressor, a condenser, a thermal expansion device and an evaporator; a pressurized carbon dioxide tank in a separate, non-refrigerated compartment; and a fan for circulating air within the insulated beer storage compartment.

A beer freezing and dispensing apparatus comprises a freezing chamber; a refrigeration system for cooling the beer in the freezing chamber to a frozen state; a dispensing system for dispensing frozen beer from the freezing chamber when it reaches a slush consistency, and a beer delivery system for delivering beer to the freezing chamber, the beer delivery system comprising; a valve for controlling the introduction of beer into the delivery system; a check valve to prevent beer from flowing backwards out of the delivery system; an accumulator for holding beer that expands when beer freezes in the chamber; and a pressure sensor for sensing the pressure of the beer between the accumulator and the freezing chamber.

The method and apparatus may also be used to freeze and dispense other single-strength beverages.



Patent No. 4350712A: Frozen Beer Stick Including Retractable Cup

Today in 1982, US Patent 4350712 A was issued, an invention of Alfred Kocharian and George Spector, for their “Frozen Beverage Stick Including Retractable Cup.” Here’s the Abstract:

A popsicle type confection, which instead of an orange, cherry, raspberry, strawberry or similar conventional flavor frozen ice upon a stick, utilizes either a frozen beer or a frozen wine mounted upon a stick, and which in the present invention also includes a cup like heat shield around confection which is retractable so to allow licking the frozen beer or wine.


Taco Bell Introduces Beer

Taco Bell announced today the opening of their first Taco Bell Cantina in Wicker Park, Chicago. The new restaurant had a soft opening today, with a grand opening scheduled for September 22. A second one will open in San Francisco later this month. One aspect about the new concept, known as “urban” restaurants, that stands out is they will serve beer, along with wine, rum, vodka and tequila.

From the press release:

“These new urban restaurants are a critical part of our growth strategy in markets where people experience our brand differently,” said Brian Niccol, chief executive officer, Taco Bell Corp. “Today’s consumers are living in more urban settings and our new restaurants cater to their lifestyle in adapting our traditional restaurant concept to fit their modern needs.”

The Taco Bell Urban Concept incorporates five consumer trends that balance relevancy and brand authenticity:

  1. Urbanization: The Taco Bell Urban Restaurant Concept reflects the Millennial trend of seeking more urban environments to live, work and play. These restaurants are ideally suited to fit in with pedestrian areas without drive-thrus.
  2. Digitization: Every point of the customer’s ordering journey is optimized through technology, including digital menu boards, TV monitors and Taco Bell mobile ordering and payment app pick up.
  3. Localization: Taco Bell incorporated the local architecture of the neighborhoods each restaurant serves.
    • The Wicker Park restaurant’s brick walls and prismatic glass were restored to help preserve the 100-year-old building. The location also features a mural designed by local artist, Revise CMW, which serves as a nod to the neighborhood’s history as an artistic hub.
    • The San Francisco restaurant, located near AT&T Park, features a patio and mobile pick-up window to cater to the quick pace, tech savvy and vibrant community.
  4. Green: The new urban locations will be more energy efficient with systems including LED lighting, use of reclaimed elements where possible and recycling.
  5. Transparency: An open kitchen design and food served in open face baskets gives customers a look inside Taco Bell’s quality ingredients.

Taco Bell Cantina restaurants will be the first and only Taco Bell restaurants to serve alcohol to customers who are of legal drinking age. The San Francisco restaurant will serve beer and wine only, while Wicker Park will serve beer, wine, sangria and twisted Freezes. Cantina restaurants will also feature a new tapas-style menu of shareable appetizers – including nachos and rolled tacos – during designated hours each evening, in addition to the full standard Taco Bell Menu.


According to the Chicago Tribune:

The menu features three 16-ounce frozen drinks that look straight out of the Kwik-E-Mart; spike your cherry-red Cantina Punch, electric-yellow Cantina Margarita or Ninja-Turtle-green Mountain Dew Baja Blast with your choice of Captain Morgan rum ($6.19), Ketel One vodka ($6.69) or Don Julio tequila ($7.19).

You’ll also find Steelhead wine ($4) in individual-size twist-off bottles, and two taps pouring Dos Equis ($4) and Fat Tire ($4.50).

Toast to the fact you’re drinking in a Taco Bell over a new menu of what the brand is calling Shareables — essentially, appetizer baskets. Choose from regular or chili-cheese nachos, quesadilla triangles, mini taquitos (called “rolled tacos”) and, surprisingly, chicken tenders, which are actually the best of the bunch.

The new T-Bell also comes with exposed brick, an open kitchen and a fancy new name: Taco Bell Cantina.

But give up your dreams of a drink after closing time at your local bar. Taco Bell Cantina will serve wine, beer and liquor until only 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and midnight Friday and Saturday. 1439 N. Milwaukee Ave.


Expect to see Alcohol Justice and the prohibitionists going apoplectic over this news.

Hefe Wheaties

Just when you think things can’t get stranger, the makers of Wheaties — the Breakfast of Champions — General Mills have announced that they’re making a new beer, Hefe Wheaties. Expecting people to do a spit take when reading that, General Mills blog anticipated skepticism in their announcement of the new beer. “Well, you read it correctly. Wheaties has partnered with Fulton, a craft brewery in Minneapolis, to create a limited-edition Hefeweizen beer named HefeWheaties.


Here’s how General Mills’ describes the collaboration beer on their blog.

Wheaties is not actually in the beer, but there is wheat. And that connection helped both brands try something interesting.

“We were intrigued from the get-go on this idea for many reasons, including that we’re both Minneapolis companies, and that the beer and the cereal both started from the same place in terms of raw ingredients and the same city,” says Ryan Petz, president and co-founder of Fulton.

So what about the name?

“We had been sampling a number of Hefeweizens, so we had been discussing with the Wheaties team what we liked,” says Petz. “Someone on the team said HefeWheaties, and it kind of sprung out from there.”

The Hefeweizen is a south German style of wheat beer, typically brewed with over 50 percent malted wheat, making it a natural fit for Wheaties.

The “Hefe” prefix means, “with yeast.” This German-style beer often has a cloudy appearance because of the high wheat content and has a little bit of hop bitterness.

Typically served in a traditional Weizen glass, HefeWheaties will be the first beer of this style brewed by Fulton. It’s brewed with water, malted wheat, malted barley, hops from Germany, the U.S. and Australia, and a yeast strain specifically developed for fermenting American-style wheat beers.

“This was a true partnership between Wheaties and Fulton,” says David Oehler, marketing manager, Wheaties. “Both teams were passionate about this project and got to work quickly. We enjoyed the chance to collaborate with Fulton throughout the entire process from idea generation to can design.”

The idea for HefeWheaties came up earlier this summer, thanks to some connections between Fulton’s team and employees at General Mills.

Tony Libera, who manages the social media accounts for Wheaties, chatted about the possibility of a beer partnership for the brand with a friend who was a sales representative for Fulton, and the plans were put in motion from there.

The Fulton team also has other close ties to General Mills. Petz worked for us for a few years after business school, as did Fulton’s director of operations. And the wife of another Fulton founder currently works at General Mills.

So where can you find HefeWheaties?

For a limited time, beginning August 26, it will be available in the Twin Cities market in a 16oz. tallboy can. 4-packs will be sold at limited retailers in the area, while quantities last. HefeWheaties will not be available for shipment or purchase outside of Minnesota.

Also, the Fulton taproom in Minneapolis will host several events featuring HefeWheaties, with the first being held on August 26.

“We’ll see how people react to it,” says Petz. “If it’s something everybody loves, we’ll obviously consider doing it again in a bigger and more widely distributed way in the future.”

Hmm. Breakfast beer, anybody?


Beer Birthday: Bruce Paton

Today is the Beer Chef, Bruce Paton’s 60th birthday. Bruce has been doing fantastic dinners pairing greatvbeer and gourmet food for almost twenty years in the Bay Area starting at Barclay’s Restaurant and Pub in Oakland and continuing at the Clift and Cathedral Hill Hotels in San Francisco. He’s has been doing events and consulting at various food and beverage operations since the hotel closed in 2009, so look for more of his beer dinners in the coming months. I’ve been to many, many of Bruce’s food events and they’re allvspectacularly top notch. He did around eight each year. Raise a toast and stuff your face in wishing Bruce a very happy birthday.

My hands down favorite photo of Bruce, which I took for the Chef’s Association of the Pacific Coast newsletter. I don’t think this is the one they used, but, by far, as I think it captures Bruce’s spirit and his great love and passion for what he does with his cooking and beer.

Giving a cooking demonstration with Garret Oliver, brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and author of The Brewmaster’s Table at the 2005 GABF.

Bruce with Russian River co-owner Natalle Cilurzo.

Me and Bruce Paton, redux
Me and Bruce New Year’s Day a few years ago at Barclay’s.