Cooking with craft beer is easy and perfect for Canadian recipes

Canadian Craftbeer Cookbook, (Supplied)

Canadian Craftbeer Cookbook, (Supplied)

Jordan St. John, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:29 PM ET

With the craft beer trend continuing to gain momentum in North America, it makes total sense that people writing about beer should take the opportunity to capitalize on people’s interest. One of the questions that seems to be on people’s minds is what to do with beer and food. People love cooking with beer, but for most people the boundary of experimentation has traditionally been a stout cake or possibly something like a beer can chicken.

In the lead up to Christmas, there have been no less than three cookbooks published purporting to tell you what to do with beer. Having read through these, I’m pleased to be able to tell you that the one that does the best job is one where the subject matter is a Canadian one.

The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook comes out later this week and will no doubt be heavily featured on table displays at your local bookstores this holiday season.

One of the problems that I have noticed with books that talk about cooking with beer is the fact that the authors are inevitably people from a beer background. David Ort, author of the Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook, is a food blogger of some repute and the difference in his treatment of the subject matter shows. This is a man who has read cookbooks and understands how they are meant to function. Rather than the unsuccessful approach of including beer simply as a volume replacement for another liquid in a recipe, Ort considers the particular flavour of the beer very carefully. Instead of the use of beer as a gimmick for a set of recipes, he’s using individual characteristics to build a base of flavour. This approach allows for avenues into different cuisines.

Each recipe provides a suggested style of beer to work with and then an example for that style. Whether he’s incorporating a traditional Rauchbier into his braised smoky ribs or an American pale ale into his seared scallops with ponzu sauce, it is obvious that the character of that beer style is adding something to the dish.

If you’re unable to acquire the specific beer that he mentions as an example (many are Canadian, but are only available regionally), you can be sure that something similar will work.

I spend a lot of time thinking about beer and food, and the best thing that I can say about a cookbook is that there will sometimes be a couple of recipes that leap off the page at you and dare you to try them out. Of the current crop of craft beer cookbooks, this one had three of those. I’m particularly looking forward to trying out the soba noodle salad with Sriracha dressing.

Jordan St.John writes about beer at saintjohnswort.ca. If you’ll follow him over there, he’ll try out one of these recipes for you.


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