Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sour Beer Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This week is Thanksgiving here in the States, and that means gluttonous eating, drinking, and football watching with family as we give thanks for what we have...or something like that. Like most beer obsessed folks like myself, I always bring a nice little selection of beers to enjoy with dinner, hopeful that I could enlighten a BMC drinker. That basically never happens, and myself and family members into beer end up drinking the fine fare. So a few years back when I came across an article for a cranberry sauce made with Lambic I thought what a great way to force my hobby down unsuspecting families throats!

This recipe is mind numbingly easy to pull off, which is good because outside of sourdough bread baking and following a Blue Apron recipe I'm an inept cook. An easy recipe to pull off, but a very good, complex Cranberry Sauce that will make you never want to eat that canned garbage again. The ingredient list is super simple.

  • 1 lb bag of whole cranberries
  • 1 cup of sugar (Brown Sugar for a variation)
  • 10-12 ounces of your favorite sour beer
  • Salt to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in an appropriate sized sauce pan, bring to a boil then dial the heat back to medium-high and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until all the cranberries burst. Let it cool a little bit and then transfer to a heat resistant serving container and allow to cool fully. That is it, if that's not easy enough for you then maybe I'm not the worst cook ever?

Beer Selection

In a more traditional cranberry sauce recipe you would use some orange juice to bring a little more acid into play, but using a complex sour beer brings a whole host of character to the dish. The beer you choose absolutely comes across in the end product so choose wisely. I've used my own homebrew sour beers as well as commercial Lambic, all slightly different but great in their own way. My two favorite batches I made used Lindeman's Cuvee Renee Gueuze, and a Russian River Consecration clone. The Consecration clone ended up a bit too sweet in the finish, but that sweetness, dark fruit, and the malt complexity pairs really well with the acidic cranberries and acid from that beer. The Gueuze batch was amazing it was super tart, too much for some actually, but paired with the earthy meal it worked great. 

So look around at what sour beers you have laying around in the cellar, or pick up a nice commercial Gueuze like Cuvee Renee since it's widely available and incredibly delicious. Really any acidic beer is going to work here, just be mindful of the flavor profile and how it will work. For example a Gose would be nice, but maybe dont add the salt. This year I am going with the Lindemans Cuvee Renee Kriek, such a great Kriek Lambic, the cherry character should go well with the cranberries and the brett aromatics will add a nice rustic note.