Star-Bulletin Features

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Brennan Fielding, head brewer at Brew Moon, hoists
a cold one and a plate of chicken flavored with the
brewery's Mayberry Wheat beer.

Brewer's Feast

Out of the bottle, into the
pan, beer is an easy way to
boost flavor in food

By Betty Shimabukuro


Sitting in Brennan Fielding's refrigerator is a pork loin marinating in soy sauce and beer. When he gets home, he'll figure out what to do with it.

Free-wheeling adventurism. It suits the nature of beer and it's pretty much Fielding's approach. "Nothing's planned, it's just experimentation," he says.

"It's not like you're going to ruin anything."

As head brewer at Brew Moon, the microbrewery in Ward Centre, Fielding has a limitless supply of beer to practice on. For those who like to work with a few more specifics, his associate, Executive Chef Aurelio Garcia, will demonstrate how to cook with beer on Saturday.

It's a warm-up event for next week's Beer Tasting, a benefit for Hawaii Public Radio.

In the culinary history of the world, beer actually precedes wine as an ingredient in food preparation, author Marty Nachel says in his 1997 guide, "Beer for Dummies."

"Beer is easy and fun and has no fat or cholesterol," Nachel says. "Most of its calories are from the alcohol, which is often cooked off when you use it in a recipe."

Sounds positively healthy.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Executive Chef Aurelio Garcia, left, removes the
chicken from the beer-soaked sauce, assisted by
Sous Chef Angelo Catenza.

"Anywhere that water or wine would go, in any type of cooking, you can use beer," says Fielding.

With one caveat: Don't let it boil away or you'll be left with bitterness.

"You want to make sure you don't reduce it too much," says Liam Martin, executive chef at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. "You don't want it to get away from you."

Typically, wine is reduced in sauces to almost nothing, leaving pure flavor. "If you do that with beer you get a sticky, gooey mess," Martin says.


Back to that spirit of experimentation. As inspiration in your alcoholic culinary quests, here's what Oahu's microbrewery-restaurants do with beer, recipe-wise:

Brew Moon makes batter for onion rings and a wasabi aioli using beer. Garcia also makes chocolate pudding using beer in the water bath during baking. "It gives a good aroma to the pudding."

Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab schedules a Brewer's Dinner every month, featuring at least one dish made with beer. A favorite, says Executive Chef Mike Longworth, is a cheesecake made with Choy's Kiawe Honey Porter.

Martin uses the Gordon Biersch Martzen in ahi poke; Dunkles, a dark beer, in vinaigrette.

So, ready to experiment a little? Try these ideas:

Bullet Approximate the Gordon Biersch poke formula: To a cup of soy sauce, add 1/4 cup beer and 1/4 cup sesame oil, flavor with ginger, garlic and chiles.
Bullet Marinate: Fielding marinates meats in plain beer, sometimes for several days, then applies a dry rub of spices or herbs. He also pours dark beer over the wood chips in his smoker, for added flavor during cooking.
Bullet Incorporate beer in your favorite recipes: Use a pale lager in place of half the liquid in bread recipes; use 1 part beer to 3 parts liquid in recipes calling for water or stock; mix a light ale or lager with water for steaming shellfish.
Bullet Finally, have a light touch: "You only want to add a little for flavor. Too much beer is overpowering," says Longworth.


Two events benefit Hawaii Public Radio:

Bullet Try This at Home! 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Brew Moon, Ward Centre. Includes cooking demonstration and buffet
Bullet Ninth Annual Beer Tasting: 6 to 8:30 p.m. June 17, includes 100 beers, food and live music.
A $35 ticket covers both events. Call 593-0088 or 955-8821.

Brewer's Dinner

Bullet Eat up: 6 to 9 p.m. June 28 at Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab
Bullet Menu: $34.95 covers five courses, all paired with beer, including crabmeat ravioli, Cajun pork chops and tiramisu made with beer
Bullet Call: 545-7979

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
In the Brew Moon kitchen, ingredients for a
beer-flavored chicken breast are lined up.
The dish will be prepared at a demonstration Saturday.

Cheery beery recipes

Here are some ways to blend beer with dinner. The first will be served at the "Try This At Home" cooking demonstration Saturday at Brew Moon.


Sauteed Chicken Breast in
Mayberry Wheat Beer

Brew Moon

Juice and zest of 1/2 lime
1/2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
5 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
2-1/2 ounces butter
1/2 cup sliced Maui onions
5/8 cup reduced brown chicken stock (see notes)
1/2 tablespoon sugar
12 raspberries
1/3 cup Mayberry or other unfiltered wheat beer
2 tablespoons creme fraiche (see notes)

Combine lime juice and zest with sage, cilantro, garlic powder and ginger and rub mixture into chicken breasts. Marinate at least 30 minutes.

Heat oil and season chicken with salt. Lightly brown on both sides, basting continuously with butter, 10 to 12 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Add onions and cook until translucent. Add stock, sugar and raspberries and simmer 2 minutes. Mix in beer, then mix in the remaining butter and adjust seasonings.

Serve with jasmine rice and parboiled asparagus. Pour sauce over chicken and top with creme fraiche. Serves 2.

Notes: Brew Moon uses a non-sodium chicken stock that is reduced by 3/4. To make the 5/8 cups needed, start with 2-1/2 cups stock. Creme fraiche may be purchased or homemade. Brew Moon uses 1 tablespoon sour cream to a quart of buttermilk to make its creme fraiche.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (chicken only) : 600 calories, 47 g total fat, 22 g saturated fat, 150 mg cholesterol,greater than 2,000 mg sodium.*


Onion and Cheese Soup

"Ultimate Beer," by Michael Jackson, DK Publishing, 1998

5 tablespoons butter
4 large white onions, thinly sliced
2 red onions, thinly sliced
Pinch of sugar
1 chicken or beef stock cube
2 pints pale ale
8 slices French bread, thickly cut
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan. Saute onions and sugar in the butter until onions are soft and golden, stirring often.

Dissolve the stock cube in the beer, then stir the beer into the onions.

Cover and simmer about 30 minutes.

Spread the bread with the remaining butter and bake at 375 degrees on the top rack of the oven until golden. Sprinkle with cheese and grill again until the cheese is bubbling.

Place a slice of bread into each soup bowl and top with soup. Sprinkle with parsley. Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per cup: 370 calories, 14 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium.*


Kiawe Honey Porter Cheesecake

Sam Choy's Breakfast, Lunch and Crab

Bullet Crust:
6 ounces crushed Oreo cookies
3 tablespoons melted butter

Bullet Filling:
1-3/4 pounds cream cheese, softened
1/2 pound sugar
4 large eggs
12 ounces sour cream
6 ounces Kiawe Honey Porter, or other porter

To make crust: Mix ingredients and press into a buttered 9-inch round pan.

To make filling: Whip all ingredients together until creamy. Pour over crust and bake at 350 degrees in a water bath (inside another pan filled with 1/2 inch of water) for about 1-1/2 hours. Serves 8.

Nutritional information unavailable.

A big world of beers

A good recipe should specify the type of beer to use, but if your recipe doesn't, assume a pale commercial lager, especially if the recipe is American. Or, follow this guide from Michael Jackson's "Ultimate Beer."

Bullet Vinaigrettes: Try wheat beers, typically flavored with fruit or herbs, as an alternative or complement to vinegar.
Bullet Marinades: Beer's acidity can tenderize meats. Many types work, especially ales and smoked porters. Avoid bitter brews if marinating for long periods.
Bullet Soups: Try yeasty ales for onion soups, rye brews for bean soups, Irish ale or a lighter lager for chowder.
Bullet Stews: For seafood, an American-made India pale ale; for pork or chicken a full-bodied Irish ale; for lamb or beef a French, English or Belgian ale.
Bullet Basting: Dark lagers or wheat beers work with most meats; smoked beers and honey- or fruit-flavored types add distinctive flavors.
Bullet Desserts: Porters and stouts are most common in recipes for sweet treats.

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