Monday, May 28, 2012

Bell's Pale Ale Braised Brussels Sprouts


Think you don't like brussels sprouts? I call shenanigans. This simple recipe I have for you today is a game-changer, sure to bring any nonbeliever over to the sprout-loving side.  It isn't magic, but it does contain two magical ingredients that can fix nearly any dish known to man: beer and bacon. The salt from the bacon and the sweet, hoppy note from the beer are just enough to take away the bitter edge from the sprouts.

For this recipe, you will need:

2 pounds fresh brussels sprouts
8 oz. thick cut bacon, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
12 oz. Bell's Pale Ale
Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes

Trim the ends of each brussels sprout, removing excess leaves. Cut the sprouts in half, leaving the smallest sprouts whole.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and saute until crisp. Add the diced red onion and saute another 2-3 minutes to soften.

Add the Brussels Sprouts. Stir and sear the sides of the sprouts for 4-5 minutes. Pour the bottle of beer into the skillet, and season with the salt and both peppers. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat a little. Stir and simmer until the beer has reduced to a glaze and the sprouts are cooked through (about 12-15 minutes).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lager of the Lakes Braised Ribs with Orange-Tamarind Sauce

If there is a holiday that marks the beginning of the backyard barbecue season, it has to be Memorial Day.  Though it is a year-round practice in our house, we always make a point to fire up the grill at some point over the long weekend for some delicious barbecue (and beer, of course!).  Simmering the ribs in the beer first really tenderizes the meat while adding a hint of flavor, and the sauce adds just the right sweet and spicy intensity.

For this dish, you will need:

Six 12-ounce bottles Bell's Lager of the Lakes
3 racks ribs -- about 3 1/2 pounds (baby back, preferably, but use what you like), each rack cut in half
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely choppe
1/4 cup rendered bacon fat
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
5 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup strong-brewed coffee
1/4 cup sambal oelek or other Asian chile sauce (this is very spicy, so adjust to your tastes)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup tamarind concentrate (found in Asian markets and specialty food stores)
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing

In a large pot, combine the beer, ribs, carrots, celery and onion and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, turning the ribs a few times, until the ribs are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the ribs to a work surface and let cool. Cut in between the ribs at 2-rib intervals.
In a large saucepan, heat the bacon fat. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes longer. Whisk in the orange juice, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, coffee, sambal oelek, molasses, tamarind concentrate, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Puree the sauce in a food processor.  Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to work in batches.
Light a grill. Brush the ribs with oil. Grill over moderate heat, turning, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Brush the ribs with the sauce and grill, turning and brushing with more sauce, until richly glazed and browned, about 2 minutes longer. Serve the ribs with extra sauce for dipping. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. 
We hope you all have a safe and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend!
 Inspired by a recipe from Food and Wine magazine.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

BRU Fest 2012 Ticket Giveaway!

Want to win tickets to this one-of-a-kind summer party? We’re running a little contest this week to give away a pair of tickets to the event. Entering is easy -- from now until Friday, June 1st at 5pm, simply tell us your favorite Bell's beer on our Facebook page. If you also say it in a tweet to @mibeerblog with the hashtag #BRUFEST it will count as a second entry. The winner will be chosen at random (using on June 1st at 5pm, and you must be 21 to enter. Good luck!

Even if you don’t win, you can still purchase tickets to help support a great cause. Cost is $39, and tickets are available at All BRU Fest proceeds benefit Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, an organization that provides information, financial assistance, and emotional support to Michigan families affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and related blood disorders.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer starts at Crystal with Beer & Brat Festival

Crystal Mountain welcomes another summer season with over 60 Michigan craft beers and a dozen different brats from local markets during the 7th Annual Michigan Beer & Brat Festival, Saturday, May 26 (3-9pm).

Short’s, Bell’s, Jolly Pumpkin, New Holland, and Founders have been anchors of the festival for years.  A number of new brewers will take part in 2012 including Cheboygan Brewing Company, Frankenmuth Brewery, Dark Horse Brewing Company, Liberty Street Brewing, Midland Brewing, B Nektar Meadery, and Saugatuck Brewing Company. These craft beers come in three sizes: a Slug (enough for a taste) for $1, a Chug (have a mug) for $2, and a Mug for $4 with select premium beers available for $6.

Over a dozen varieties of brats from Honor Family Market (Honor), Pleva’s (Cedar), Maxbauer (Traverse City), Dublin Market (Copemish), Ebel’s (Falmouth), and Bunting’s (Cedar) make up the other half of the menu. Flavors ranging from Philly Cheese to Apple-Bacon to Smoked Cajun will be available $2 for a half and $4 for a whole.

Photo courtesy of

Admission to the Michigan Beer & Brat Festival is $6 and includes live music from Jason & Nick (3-6pm) and The Outer Vibe (6-9pm). Tickets and tokens for beer and brats can be purchased online (click here).  Crystal Mountain will once again partner with Bay Area Recycling for Charities to make the festival a zero-waste event using washable utensils and glasses while recycling or composting other waste.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the summer season at Crystal Mountain with the opening of the Park at Water’s Edge and the Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide. The annual Golf Demo Day is also on Saturday, May 26 (10am-4pm) at the Practice Center featuring clubs from Callaway, Titleist, Cobra, Cleveland, and more. Plus, free clinics, games, food, and prizes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

BRU Fest is Back! Beer + Burgers + Wings

Back for its second year, BRU Fest returns with the hottest burgers in town from Bagger Dave’s Legendary Burger Tavern, the wildest wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, premium craft beers from Michigan's own Bell’s Brewery, ice cream from Treat Dreams, live tunes, and plenty more. Mark your calendar for the return of this one-of-a-kind summer party!

The event will take place June 16, 2012 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market from 7-11 p.m. 

The goal of the event is to bring together aficionados of great food and micro beers who want to share their interests and good fortune with others for the benefit of children and adults affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood related cancers throughout Michigan. All BRU Fest proceeds benefit Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, an organization that provides information, financial assistance, and emotional support to Michigan families affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and related blood disorders.

Cost is $39. Tickets are available at This event will sell out, so get your tickets in advance.

Want to win a pair of tickets? Of course you do!  Find out how right here!

Our recap of last year's event can be found here, and the photos can be found here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Oberon Cupcakes

This recipe really doesn't need very much explaining.  It's cupcake form. The cake has a faint citrus and wheat taste, and the simple orange infused cream cheese frosting is light and airy like the foam on top of a beer.

To make the cake portion, you will need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested (plus more for garnish)
2/3 cup Oberon
2 tablespoons half and half or whole milk

For the orange cream cheese frosting you will need:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (may need more, depending on the frosting consistency you prefer)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a mini muffin tin with 24 mini cupcake liners.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
 Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream butter for 1 minute. Add sugar and cream together with butter for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each addition.
5. Add vanilla and orange zest and mix until just combined.
6. In a mixing bowl whisk together beer and milk. Alternatively add beer mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture until fully incorporated.
7. Fill cupcake liners 1/2-2/3 full.

8. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
 Transfer cupcakes onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

9. For frosting: In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. With motor running add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until all sugar has been added, scraping down sides of the bowl after each cup of sugar. Stir in the orange juice until fully incorporated.
10. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes or spread with an offset spatula and top with fresh orange zest or orange sprinkles. Serve.

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