Category Archives: Seasonals

Recipe for Beer-Infused Caramel Popcorn

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale Beer Caramel Popcorn

Sierra-Nevada Brewing Co. just posted what seems like an interesting recipe for beer-infused caramel popcorn. I say “seems like” because I haven’t actually tried it. But how can you go wrong with beer, caramel and popcorn?

The Sierra recipe suggests you use the brewery’s tasty Celebration Ale, which is a very nice American IPA. You could use any brew of your choice, really, though dark, malty, spicy winter-seasonal ales will probably work best. Anchor Brewing’s Our Special Christmas Ale comes to mind. And beery caramel corn will surely make a nice addition to any beer-nerd holiday fête.

Here’s Sierra recipe for caramel popcorn with Celebration Ale, from its head chef:

  • 2 cups popping corn
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups toasted nuts (e.g., pecans, almonds, peanuts)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (e.g., cranberries, cherries)
  • Non-stick vegetable oil spray

Caramel sauce consisting of:

  • 1/2 cup Celebration Ale
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter

“In a large pot with a lid, add the vegetable oil and the corn. With the lid on the pot, cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot continuously for about 8 minutes or until all of the kernels are popped. Pour the popped corn into a large bowl and set aside.

“In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine Celebration, water, sugar, salt and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is dark amber—about 300 degrees. Remove from heat, add baking soda and butter and stir for about 30 seconds. Caution: This will produce considerable steam. Use a long whisk and avoid touching the top of the sauce pan.

“Working quickly and carefully, pour the caramel sauce over the popped corn. Stir to coat the popped corn evenly. Add the nuts and fruit. Pour the final mixture onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Note: Caramel sauce needs to be hot to mix effectively. Be mindful of timing.”

Pop on over to Sierra’s website for some pretty pictures of the cooking process.

UBN

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Details on Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2013 Release

Russian River Pliny the Younger tap handle

Every year, on the first Friday of February, Sonoma County, California-based Russian River Brewing Co. releases its limited triple IPA, Pliny the Younger. So the fact that the 2013 Pliny the Younger will be released at Russian River’s brewpub on Friday, February 1 isn’t really news. But Russian River also shared some new release details on its Pliny the Younger 2013 in a new blog post.

If you’re not familiar with Pliny the Younger, you’re not paying close enough attention. Or you’re just not as big of a beer nerd as I am. Pliny the Younger is the “brother IPA” to Russian River’s stellar Pliny the Elder double IPA, which is one of my favorite IPAs, if not my single favorite IPA in the whole damn world. It’s fantastic. I admit, I’ve never had Pliny the Younger, because it’s made in very small quantities and only served at Russian River’s brewpub and at select local bars and establishments. But some day I will make a trip to wine country in February with the sole goal of securing a few pints of Pliny the Younger.

Now, those 2013 release details I mentioned, from Russian River:

“Pliny the Younger will be released at our brewpub in Downtown Santa Rosa on February 1st, 2013 (always the first Friday in February)!  Younger will be available on tap in 10 ounce glasses (no growlers or bottles) for 2 weeks, or 14 days.  We will allocate a certain amount each day until we run out for the day.  Last year we had very few days where we ran out at all!  The last day we will have it at the pub will be February 14th.  Last year the wait was up to 5 hours, and sometimes there was no wait at all.  It’s a bit unpredictable, however, except on weekends where you can definitely expect the longest wait.  We have learned that waiting in line can be fun and can even lead to new relationships, especially after several glasses of Younger!  So please use the buddy system while getting “Younger” at our pub (your friends will hopefully look out for you!).   As far as distribution is concerned, we usually start distributing a small amount of kegs to our accounts and distributors right after we release it at the pub.  We are planning to brew the same amount this year and release the same quantities for distribution, but who gets what is yet to be determined.  First batch of Younger will be brewed this Thursday at the pub!  I saw the man himself hand-selecting this year’s Younger hops just last week… artist or mad scientist?  Probably a lot of both :-)”

And a description of Pliny the Younger, from Russian River’s website:

“Pliny the Younger, the man, was Pliny the Elder’s nephew and adopted son. They lived nearly 2,000 years ago! Pliny the Elder is our Double IPA, so we felt it was fitting to name our Triple IPA after his son. It is almost a true Triple IPA with triple the amount of hops as a regular I.P.A. That said, it is extremely difficult, time and space consuming, and very expensive to make. And that is why we don’t make it more often! This beer is very full-bodied with tons of hop character in the nose and throughout. It is also deceptively well-balanced and smooth.”

UBN

Image via Brewniversal.com

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Dogfish Head’s Shippy Shipperton is My Homeboy

Dogfish Head Shippy Shipperton

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I’m a big fan of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and its founder Sam Calagione. The number one reason for that: Its quality brews.  I buy a lot of Dogfish beer, but I also support the company in a number of additional ways. I frequently recommend the brewery to those who might not be familiar with it. And I purchase a variety of Dogfish products, including glassware, t-shirts, soaps and shampoo, even Christmas ornaments.

One of my favorite things about Dogfish is its sense of humor. For example, I always crack up when I look at the Dogfish logo on the four pack of its Halloween-themed Punkin Ale and on the Punkin four pack—note the fangs. And whenever I place an order, the return address on my package makes me crack a smile.

Dogfish Punkin Ale logo

UBN

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Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ to Return from Two-Year Hiatus in October

Lagunitas Brown Shugga' Logo

Petaluma-Calif.-based Lagunitas Brewing Co. did not release its annual winter seasonal, Brown Shugga’, last year, which was unfortunately because Brown Shugga is a delicious brew that’s perfect for the holidays.

Lagunitas says it didn’t have the brewing capacity to keep up with growing demand for its most popular brews, such as its IPA and Czech Pils, and to also brew Brown Shugga’, which apparently requires some very different brewing techniques and ingredients. The company has since built a new brew house to help meet the demand for all of its various brews, and in October it will bring back Brown Shugga.

Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale label

Last year, the brewery released an amusingly-named and still quite tasty Brown Shugga’ replacement beer called Lagunitas Sucks Holiday ale, but it wasn’t any match for Brown Shugga’, at least in my opinion.

Brown Shugga’ is a big, 9.9% ABV very malty, very hoppy and very sweet–thanks to a generous addition of brown sugar–reddish-colored ale, and it will be available in six packs. Check out the video below for a “virtual taste” from Lagunitas.

UBN

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