Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Strange Brew Diaries #1 - Driftwood Brewery

The Lowdown:

["This movie was shot in 3B - three beers - and it looks good, eh?" - Bob McKenzie.]

Remember being a kid in a candy store? All those choices. All those, seemingly, difficult decisions. Well, this same feeling can be recreated when you're 19+ in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. I've heard a rumor on more than one occasion that we have more micro-breweries per capita than anywhere in the world. With a population of 344,000 for the greater Victoria region (a mere 80,000 for Victoria), we support five breweries, four brewpubs, and two cider houses. Needless to say, we love our local brew. I am no exception to this. 

Unlike a lot of cities that boast abnormally high amounts of beer-snobs, Victoria is fairly mellow. We know what we like and we have no desire to defend or push our opinions (at least while we are sober). That, and we don't have the urge to produce the hoppiest beer ever (that a lot of west coast American Breweries seem to do). Don't get me wrong, I love me a good IPA and the distinguished bite that it gives. But seriously, extremely hoppy does NOT always equal extremely good. I'm sick of going to beerfests and listening to people only talk about the hoppiest beer they've had. News flash, there are dozens of varieties of beers for a reason. So get off your high-horse, get rid of your pompous attitude, try thinking for yourself (aka not just following fads), and explore the amazing variety of craft beers that your local region has to offer.

[(To Pam in a beer tank that's being flooded with beer) " My brother and I used to say that drownin' in beer was like heaven, eh? Now he's not here, and I've got two soakers... this isn't heaven. This sucks" - Bob McKenzie.]

This, as the title kinda sorta states, is my first ode to one of my favourite local breweries and one of my favourite movies. This episode features three beers from the all-star line up that Driftwood Brewery offers. I personally love their desire to create west coast variations of traditional beers (excuse for for 5 minutes while I refresh my refreshments). Yup, that was good.

I've never cooked with beer before. I mean, how could you possibly have the will power to let a beer sit in the fridge all lonely, begging you to consume it, while it waits for the day that it can be used in some (hopefully) glorious experiment. Mmmmmmm beer. I mean, it's the only alcoholic beverage that is acceptable to drink for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Seriously, I'm sure Captain Crunch even has a beer pairing (although,that shit will still cut the roof of your mouth). Anyway, this is the first three course beer-oriented meal plan that I have produced. I hope you enjoy all, or one of these recipes, and that they maybe inspire you to try this with your local breweries. I will definitely be doing this with the remaining 10 local breweries so check out the Strange Brew Diaries periodically.

[(Bob Mckenzie to his dog) "Eh... Hosehead, once you get there you can have all the free beer and sausages you want" - Bob McKenzie.]

The Playlist:

Driftwood Ale Onion Soup

4 Red onions, sliced thinly
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Butter
3 cups Driftwood Ale
4 cups Beef stock
3 tbsp Red wine
1 tbsp Grainy mustard
1 sprig Rosemary
Parsley, chopped for garnish

Driftwood Farmhand No-Knead Bread

4 cups Wholegrain flour
1/2 cup Wholegrain flour
1/2 cup Water (as hot as your tap goes)
12 oz Driftwood Farmhand Ale
2 1/2 tsp Yeast
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt

Driftwood White Bark & Lemongrass Muscles on Pappardelle Noodles 

2 lbs Salt Spring Island muscles
1 lb Manila Clams
2 cups Driftwood White Bark Belgian-Style Wit
3 Shallots, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 stalk Lemongrass, inner core only minced
1 tbsp Parsley, minced
2-4 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Red mustard seed, freshly ground
1 tsp Orange zest
1/2 tsp Chili flakes (optional)
1 box Pappardelle noodles
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Cornstarch & Water, to thicken sauce if desired.

Beat Caprise Insalata w/ Driftwood Ale Balsamic Reduction

3 Beats, boiled and pealed
250g Buffalo mozzarella*
3 Tomatoes, sliced in disks
10 - 15 Fresh basil leaves
10 - 15 slices, Spicy smoked meat**
1/2 cup Driftwood Ale
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Orange zest
1-2 tbsp Honey, depending on sweetness desired

*I prefer a sharp cheddar though.
** Capicollo works well, or any spicy salami.

The Skinny:

 Driftwood Ale Onion Soup
  1. Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 40 minutes.
  2. Add wine to deglaze pan for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig and serve warm. You may also serve with crusty bread and Gruyere cheese to make it a more authentic French onion soup.

Driftwood Farmhand No-Knead Bread
  1. Mix water, yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup flour into a large bowl. Cover with a dampened cloth and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix in Driftwood Farmhand ale. Once mixed in, add the remaining flour and salt and mix until a tacky ball forms. If it is too dry add more beer, and if it is too tacky (sticking to bowl and not forming a ball) add more flour. This is not a science.
  3. Cover with a warm damp cloth and allow to sit for 4 hours. If you want to speed up the process, place in an oven that is around 70*F for 2 hours. It works best if you turn on your oven and set it to 150* then turn it off for about 10 minutes (of course, every oven is different).
  4. Form dough into a ball by scraping the outside of the bowl with a non-stick rubber scraper and putting in towards the centre. Take this ball and place it on a well floured surface. Form it into the desired shape (I prefer the shape of a French loaf). Sprinkle flour on top.
  5. Put cornmeal on a heavy baking pan and place the loaf shaped dough onto the baking pan. Cover with a dry towel and allow to rise for another hour. Take a sharp knife and put a long slit down the centre of the loaf.
  6. Place an oven-safe dish half full of water on the lower oven rack and the baking pan (with the dough) on the middle oven rack. Bake at 425* for 35 minutes.
  7. Place bread on a cooling rack and allow to cool.

Driftwood White Bark & Lemongrass Muscles on Pappardelle Noodles
  1. Rinse and de-beard the muscles and clams under cold water. Discard any of the muscles or clams that do not close, as they are dead. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta as directed on the packaging. Set aside.
  3. In a large, shallow pot add the oil, shallots, garlic, salt & pepper, and lemon grass. Cook on medium heat until shallots start to become translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the Driftwood White Bark and bring to a rolling boil, then add the clams and muscles and cook until they open (about 5-10 minutes). After cooked, transfer the muscles and clams into a separate bowl.
  4. To the pot: add parsley, 2 tbsp of butter, chili flakes, orange zest, and mustard seed. Bring this to a boil and add more butter if desired (helps reduce the bitterness).
  5. Place the muscles and clams onto the noodles and drizzle sauce onto the pasta.
  6. Crusty bread can be used to soak up the remaining sauce.

Beat Caprise Insalata w/ Driftwood Ale Balsamic Reduction
  1.  Slice the beets, tomatoes, and cheese about 1/3 inch thick. Layer the salad so that equal amounts of each ingredient are present (IE: beat, tomato, salami, cheese, basil, etc.)
  2. In a large, shallow sauce pan combined the Driftwood Ale, honey, orange zest, and balsamic vinegar. On medium-high heat bring to a simmer and allow for the mixture to reduce to a syrupy texture (about half of the volume).
  3. Add 2 tbsp more Driftwood Ale to the reduction and mix well (this will make the beer's flavour more pronounced).
  4. Drizzle on the caprise insalata and enjoy.

Stay Rad - h


  1. These recipes all look amazing! I love the idea of using beer in unexpected recipes. I volunteer at a beerfest that raises money for scholarships for children of service members and I am going to approach them about including food made with beer in the future.

    1. That's actually a really good idea. Not only beer vendors, but "beer cuisine" vendors. I don't know any of the organizers for our beerfest, but I could approach a few of the beer reps and ask about that for our beerfest too!