Thursday, October 22, 2015

#VeggieDag Thursday: Beer Pickles!

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and ecological issues.

I discovered this recipe for Beer-Brined Pickles in Brooklyn BrewShop's Beer Making Book, a how-to-homebrew book published in 2011. Beer stands in for some of the vinegar.
  • 8 Kirby cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 ounces IPA (India Pale Ale) *
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, then in half again to get four spears per cucumber. Whisk together salt, sugar, and vinegar, until sugar has dissolved. Add beer, coriander, and juniper to mixture. Pack cucumbers into glass container with a tight-fitting lid (such as a mason jar or a re-used pickle jar, cleaned, of course) and pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Top off with cold water (or up to 2 ounces more beer) until the cucumbers are submerged.

Refrigerate for three days. Eat! (The pickles will last for up to three weeks, refrigerated.)

Cannon-ized pickles (02)

* The authors of Brooklyn BrewShop's Beer Making Book suggest a Belgian-style ale as the beer ingredient. But, for the beer-pickles pictured above —the creation of Stephen Marsh, the past long-time cask cellarman for Heavy Seas Brewing (Halethorpe, Maryland)— the cucumbers were prepared with that brewery's Loose Cannon IPA. Since there was no heat involved in the 'cooking',  the beer was not merely a substitute for a similar measure of vinegar (or water); the beer's flavors —hop aromatics and bitterness— were readily apparent when crunching on a pickle. Delicious.

As to the rest of Mr. Marsh's recipe: How much Loose Cannon IPA to add? (I suspect he marinated with more than two ounces!) Which herbs and spices to use? He's kept that a secret.

  • When one writes on beer (as on other topics), employing jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms can be oft-repeated stumbles. It's easy to forget that not all readers are familiar with their meanings. So, IPA:
    India Pale Ale (IPA) is a beer style characterized by high levels of alcohol and hops. It gained its name thanks to its huge popularity in British India and other outposts of the British Empire throughout the 19th century, a result of its keeping abilities on long sea voyages, and its refreshing character when it finally reached its destination.
    The Oxford Companion to Beer

  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virginia— I sell the beers of Heavy Seas. But not the pickles.

  • Why the name VeggieDag Thursday? Here.
  • Read all the posts: here. Follow on Twitter with hashtag: #VeggieDag.
  • Suggestions and submissions from chefs, writers, and home-cooks welcomed! Contact me here.

  • For more from YFGF:

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