by Tara Davis

Beer dates back to beyond the 5th millennium BC and was recorded in the history of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The earliest physical confirmation of beer to date was discovered in Iran, in the form of fragments of a jug coated with beerstone from around 5,000 years ago.

Some people go so far as to suggest the invention of bread and beer may very well be responsible for the development of technology and the rise of civilization.

While I am not here to argue or support such claims, I am certainly an advocate for its responsible use and consumption and a big supporter of the craft and science that is modern, and particularly local and regional beer.

As winter sweeps through, hops and barley provide body and flavor to warm our palates and sooth our hearts. Whether or not you imbibe, below I give you a few family friendly ways to apply it to your winter dishes.

The Recipes:

Buttermilk Beer Chicken-

Marinate 2 lbs of your favorite cuts of chicken (legs, breast, wings…) in 2 cups buttermilk, 12 ounces pale or lager style beer, 1 tsp each salt and paprika, a pinch of cayenne, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 2 Tbsp minced garlic for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Mix Glaze –

1/4 cup each brown sugar and hot sauce, 1 tap salt, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1/2 cup same or similar beer used for marinade. Cook chicken on a preheated grill, flip and brush with glaze every 2-4 minutes until internal temperature is 165 degrees, about 20 minutes.

Buzzed Bean Soup –

Sautee 1 diced onion and 2 Tbsp each minced garlic and chili powder in 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add 1 pound cooked black beans (2-3 cans, drained), 2 bottles of beer of your choice (12 ounces each), 1 bunch chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 20 minutes, or until desired thickness.

Cinnamon Beer Cookies –

Soften 3/4 cup butter, and mix with 1 cup brown sugar, 1 large egg, 1/3 cup brown ale beer, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda and 1/2 tsp each salt and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 12- 15 minutes, or until set on the edges.

Beer Rice –

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a Skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/3 cup rice and cook 5 minutes, until it begins to brown. Add 12 ounces beer of your choice, 1 1/3 cup water and 1 tsp garlic. Simmer 20-25 minutes, until liquid is gone and rice is fully cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.