Author Archives: Alyssa Sandore

The Art of Beer Cooking: Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If you’re celebrating today you may want some mexican flare to your dinner. Try these beer marinated shredded chicken tacos to accompany your ice cold beer.


  • 2 cups dark Mexican beer
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded queso

Add beer, water, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and  chicken to a large pot. Bring it to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes. After about 40 minutes, most but not all of the liquid should have evaporated and the chicken should be falling apart when poked with a spoon or spatula. If there is still a lot of liquid left, take the lid off and turn the heat up a little to evaporate. Shred with your spatula or spoon and remove from heat to cool slightly.

Take a tortilla and add shredded chicken, lettuce, tomato and queso. You can also enjoy this shredded chicken over some delicious nachos or quesadillas.


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The Art of Beer Cooking: Kale

I have been obsessed with the leafy green kale lately but have pretty much only baked them into crispy chips. So when I came across this recipe for kale with garlic and ale from Rachel Ray I was ready to change-up my routine. Personally I don’t care for anchovies so I left them out and compensated with a little more garlic and salt. This side dish pairs well with some baked tilapia or seared scallops. Healthy and tasty.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and thickly shredded
  • 1 cup ale
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and let them melt into the oil. Add the chili and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the kale and let it wilt, turning it in the chili and garlic with tongs. Douse the pan with the ale and toss for 1-2 minutes more, than add nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the kale to a serving bowl and serve.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Mussels

I’m back home in Chicago for Easter and my mom surprised me today with a trip to Burhops! I have been craving seafood lately and Burhops has some of the best fresh seafood right in Hinsdale, IL. We stocked up on shrimp, scallops and mussels for a delectable dinner. On the menu for tonight are beer steamed mussels for an appetizer followed by spaghetti with shrimp and scallops. I just can’t wait! Here is a quick and easy recipe for beer steamed mussels. We are using 312 but any beer you like would be great.


  • 1-1/2 pound mussels
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 (or 3) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tb fresh parsley
  • 2 tb butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil

In a medium saute pan, add the olive oil and bring to medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute a couple of minutes. If you like heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Rinse the mussels well in cold water in a colander. Make sure that any opened mussels you tap a couple of times and if they do not close, they are bad (dead) and make sure to toss those out. Add the beer and mussels to the pan and reduce the heat to medium and cover. Simmer approximately 5-7 minutes until the mussels begin to open. Turn the heat off and add the butter and parsley and stir well. Don’t over cook the mussels, you just want to make sure they all open well. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up all the delicious broth.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Corned Beef and Cabbage

St. Patty’s Day is right around the corner and what could be better to celebrate the Irish holiday than with than corned beef and beer! Socializing is an important part of this holiday so you don’t want to waste it away slaving over the stove. This corned beef and cabbage recipe is beyond easy. Basically throw all the ingredients in a slow cooker, sit back and enjoy a beer with good company.

One of my favorite St. Patty’s Day traditions is the dying of the Chicago river. It’s been done for over 40 years and it’s amazing the perfect shade of green the water turns. Definitely worth checking out.


  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2in pieces
  • 10 baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (4 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped

Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker, and place the brisket on top of the vegetables. You want to keep the vegetables larger so they don’t over cook and get mushy. Pour the beer over the brisket and veggies. You may need to add more to cover everything or substitute water. Sprinkle on the spices from the packet, cover, and set the cooker on low. Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. An hour before serving, stir in the cabbage and cook for 1 more hour.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Spaghetti Squash

It’s been my goal recently to expand my horizons and try vegetables I’ve never had before. One such veggie that has intrigued me but I’ve never tackled is the spaghetti squash. Well, it finally happened this week and it turned out delicious! Many recipes I found for spaghetti squash literally treat it like pasta with a traditional tomato sauce. To infuse beer into this dish, I baked the spaghetti squash with beer and also used it in a simple sauce.

First order of business is to tackle the squash. From my research there are 2 ways you can do this. Cook it whole, which takes a lot longer but easier to handle after or cut it in half before cooking. I decided to cut it first so I could really get that nice beer flavor in every bite. Cut the squash in half, length wise, and scoop out the seeds. Put the cut sides down in a baking dish and add 1 cup beer to the bottom of the dish. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until it’s nice and tender. Let sit until cool enough to handle and start scraping out the inside with a fork. It really starts to look like spaghetti!

To make it a complete meal I served it with a simple tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Yum!


  • Spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups beer (1 for squash, 1 for sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cans puree tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Follow directions above for cooking the spaghetti squash.

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beer, basil and oregano. If you want a little heat add some red pepper flakes. Let simmer without lid for about an hour. This will let the moisture evaporate and condense the sauce to make all the flavors stand out.


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The Art of Beer Cooking: Caramel

While perusing my new favorite site (or some may call obsession), Pinterest, I came across this picture titled ‘Ale and pretzel caramels’. The creamy sweetness of the caramel with the bitterness of the ale and salty pretzel sounds so intriguing. I haven’t had a chance to make this recipe yet, but can’t wait to try it! The recipe is courtesy of Sprinkle Bakes.

1 12 oz. bottle of brown or pale ale, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 8 oz. package pretzel rods

1 roll of wax paper

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of ale to a simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy.  This will take about 20 minutes and yield about 1 tsp. of concentrated ale flavoring.  Set aside.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan or 2 -9×9 inch pans and set aside. Combine remaining beer and all other ingredients except ale reduction in a heavy 4-5 quart pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Butter will melt and mixture will begin to boil.

Continue to cook until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees, this will take about 30 minutes.  You can test your caramel in a bowl of ice water to check the consistency.  It should form a firm ball.

When the correct temperature has been reached, stir in the ale reduction and remove from heat.  Pour into prepared pan(s) and top with pretzel rods.  Let cool for several hours or place in fridge until firm.  Remove caramel block from pan and turn pretzel-side up on a cutting board (if refrigerated, let caramel block warm up a little for easier cutting).  Cut between pretzels and then into 1″ pieces.  Cut wax paper into approx. 5 x 5 inch squares and wrap caramels.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Curry Stew

Curry is one of my favorite ingredients and with this sudden surge of extremely cold weather I have been in the mood for a spicy, hot curry stew. This is a great simple recipe that you can throw in the slow cooker, cook all day, and have a hearty dinner waiting to greet you when you get home. Traditionally, IPAs pair well with spicy dishes. I used Ballistic from Ale Asylum and it turned out very well but feel free to get creative!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 onion, sliced and quartered
  • 1 cup beer

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and brown the beef on all sides. Remove from skillet, reserving juices, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir the garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes and jalapeno in the skillet for 2 minutes, until tender, and season with curry powder. Mix in the diced tomatoes and juice. Place the onion in the bottom of a slow cooker, and layer with the browned beef. Scoop the skillet mixture into the slow cooker, and mix in beer. Cover, and cook 6 to 8 hours on low.


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