Fight the Blahs With Butter Beer From The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook

Book Cover Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook

If the thought of beer puts you in mind of chilled glasses and summer patios, think again: beer is very versatile, as demonstrated by the recipes in The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook, by David Ort. We are very happy to share with you a recipe from the book for Butter Beer, a warm drink made for winter nights.

Could there be a better weapon in the fight against the February blahs? 

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Butter Beer

This is a convivial drink for those of us who don’t belong to the eggnog fan club. It needs to be served warm, straight from the pot. More than four centuries before J. K. Rowling devised her band of child wizards, the British made butter beer to warm frosty winter evenings. In true Tudor fashion, it was spelled inconsistently, often with an extra “e” on the end. The Tudors were comparatively strict about the distinction between unhopped ale and hopped beer. Historical recipes are clear that the recipe was always made with ale very low in hops.

Recommended beer

Scotch ale

Iron Duke Strong Ale, Wellington Brewery (Ontario)

Serves: 4

Butter Beer

Photo by Robin Sharp, from The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook (Whitecap Books)

Cooking time: 15 minutes

4 cups (1 L) Scotch ale

3/4 tsp (4 mL) freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) ground ginger

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cloves

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup (125 mL) sugar

2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, cut into four cubes

Pour the beer into a medium saucepan and set it over medium-low heat. Use a probe or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. Add the nutmeg, ginger and cloves to the pan.

Meanwhile, with a hand-held mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until the colour and texture are noticeably lighter. When you turn off the mixer and lift the beaters, the mixture should fall off the beaters in ribbons.

When the beer reaches 120°F (50°C) remove the pan from the heat. While whisking constantly with one hand, pour the egg yolk and sugar mixture into the pan with the other hand. Return the pan to the burner and boost the heat to medium. Continue to stir the butter beer constantly until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes, maintaining its temperature between 160°F and 170°F (71°C and 77°C). If it climbs above this range, you’ll likely end up with a pot of scrambled eggs floating in beer, that taste vaguely of Christmas.

Off the heat, give the drink another minute of vigorous whisking to froth the surface. Serve in festive cups or mugs, dropping a cube of butter into each.

Excerpted from The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook (Whitecap Books) by David Ort with permission of the publisher. 

February 13, 2014
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