Which makes The Craft Beer Cookbook different. Not only are the recipes accessible, author Jacquelyn Dodd specifies particular beer styles for each recipe, but instead of specifying a particular beer, provides flavor profile guidelines for best results. Perhaps this shouldn't be surprising since Dodd has been at this for a while on her website The Beeroness. She writes in a readable, conversational style and leads off with an introduction sharing her wisdom on adding beer to existing recipe while still maintaining a good balance of fats and flavors. She also finds ways to introduce craft beer into any dish or concoction imaginable, from baked goods, to appetizers, sauces, seafood, main courses, desserts, and even breakfast. Dodd's also a food photographer, so took all the colorful pictures throughout the book.
|Roasted Mushroom and Brown Ale Soup|
(Photo from The Craft Beer Cookbook)
|Chocolate Chip and Smoked Porter Pancakes|
(Photo from Craft Beer Cookbook)
As successful as these recipes were, my favorite was "Chocolate Chip and Smoked Porter Pancakes", which I made with one of my all favorites, Stone Smoked Porter. I was a little worried these pancakes would turn into something sickening sweet you might have at IHOP. Instead, these fluffy pancakes had a great complex chocolate flavors with a smokiness from the porter that were a hit for all ages at the family breakfast table. My 10 year old daughter remarked, "The beer gives it a nice flavor," despite her unfamiliarity (thankfully!) with Stone Smoked Porter and asked, "Can you make this again?". My twelve year old son has autism so is a man of few words but declared them simply "Good". And lest you think I served alcohol to my kids for breakfast, Dodd illustrates that for most recipes, a majority of the alcohol cooks away.
Some may call this book yet another gateway for people to enjoy craft beer. Others may point to this book as further proof that beer is the new wine. Without getting get into some deep culinary discussion here, I'll just say that years from now, I'm sure my copy of The Craft Beer Cookbook is going to have lots of well worn pages with food stains all over them.