By Bob Lipinski
Beer, one of the world’s great social lubricants, is ideal for celebrating Father’s Day, or any other day for that matter. Beer is a generic term for all alcoholic beverages that are fermented and brewed from malted barley — other ingredients can be used such corn and rice — hops, water and yeast. Beer is subdivided into two distinct categories — ale and lager.
Ale is fermented fast and warm, producing richly flavored beers with a slightly darker color than lager beer. Ale usually has more hops in its aroma and taste, and is often lower in carbonation than lager-type beers. It is usually bitter to the taste, with a slight tanginess, although some ale can be sweet. Ale is originally from England, where it is referred to as bitters. Some examples of ale are brown, pale, scotch, Belgian, Trappist, stout and porter.
Lager is fermented slow and cool, producing delicately flavored beers. It was developed in Germany around the 15th century. The Germans first introduced it into the United States in 1840, in Philadelphia, through a Bavarian brewer named John Wagner. Lager comes from the German word lagern — to store — and is applied to bottom-fermented beer in particular because it must be stored at low temperatures for a prolonged time. Lagers were traditionally stored in cellars or caves for completion of fermentation. They are bright gold to yellow in color, with a light to medium body, and are usually well carbonated. Unless stated otherwise, virtually every beer made in the United States is a lager. Some examples of lager are pilsner, bock (including doppelbock, eisbock, maibock), märzen/fest beer, Vienna style, dortmunder, Munich helles and pale lager.
Beer, a most versatile beverage, can also be used in cooking in place of wine in most recipes.
Cooking suggestions: Replace the wine with beer in your favorite marinade for chicken, pork, beef, turkey, or even lamb. When making a flour, water and egg batter for frying foods, such as eggplant or zucchini, substitute beer for the water. For seafood pasta with shellfish, like shrimp, scungilli or calamari, cooked in tomato sauce, add a bottle of dark beer and some hot pepper flakes for increased flavor and texture.
Bob’s Beer Bread
3 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 12-ounce bottle of your favorite beer — not light — at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted
Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Sift flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the beer and continue to stir until dough no longer sticks to sides of bowl (about 1 minute). Put dough into a lightly greased and floured 9” x 5” loaf pan. Bake at 375°F for 1 hour or until golden brown. Spread melted butter over the top of the bread during the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 -20 minutes before slicing.
This Father’s Day, sit down with dad and enjoy a frosty cold one.
Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written nine books, including “Italian Wine Notes” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple,” available on amazon.com. He can be reached at boblipinski.com or [email protected].