Oktoberfest! Shrimp in Beer

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“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

Works for me! I have know for some time I enjoy beer. Within the past week I have learned I also enjoy shrimp boiled in beer. I usually prefer to saute or bake shrimp, but I am adding this one to my shrimp-recipe rotation.

My assessment? Good flavor with just a touch of heat. My only complaint is the shrimp was a bit too salty. When I make this dish again, I will most definitely reduce the one tablespoon of salt by a teaspoon or more.

Like nearly every cooking with beer recipe I post, the choice of beer is fully up to you. In this recipe, however, try not to use a light beer. A Bud Select 55, for instance, will not impart much flavor.

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I used mixed peppercorns and a lemon (as opposed to black peppercorns and a lime) to complement the lemony notes in my Sam Adams Summer Ale. Yes, I realize it is no longer summer, but I am holding on to it as long as I possibly can.

Notice the recipe calls for unpeeled shrimp. Notice the pictures you see here are of peeled shrimp. I win some; I lose some. Though it did not explicitly state this, I think the idea behind the recipe is to serve the shrimp chilled with a side of cocktail sauce.

I ate the shrimp warm with a side of rice. You can do whatever you like with your shrimp,  but if you need an idea, I suggest adding them to pasta, a salad or even a pizza. Then wash them down with pint. Cheers!

“If God had intended us to drink beer, He would have given us stomachs.” 
― David Daye

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Shrimp in Beer
  • 2 pounds shrimp, unpeeled
  • 1, 12 ounce beer
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 lemon or lime, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon whole black or mixed peppercorns
  1. Rinse shrimp and set aside to drain.
  2. Stir together all of the remaining ingredients in a large pot over medium high heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, allow to boil for 2 minutes, then add the shrimp.
  4. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp turn pink and the mixture returns to a boil, about another 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Drain the shrimp from the broth to serve.


Oktoberfest! Babies in Beer

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“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” 
― Abraham Lincoln


Maybe the House of Representatives needs some beer. Or the real facts. I had hoped they already had those, but apparently something is lacking. It’s got to be the beer, no?

For a long while now, I have thought the Republicans and Democrats need to remember the opportunity to run the country is not a competitive sport. There are no sides. We are all Americans.  Differing opinions, yes. Most certainly, yes. But whatever happened to a little give and take? A little compromise?

Don’t even get me started on the Farm Bill. Like the budget, it expires at midnight too. It was supposed to be passed in 2012 (it already required one extension).

I mean honestly, when my three-year old niece and two-year old nephew are hungry and tired, they do not even bicker this much. Dear elected officials, you all are adults. Get it together.

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Yes, this post is one day early for Tirade Tuesday. It is also about three days late according to my calendar. Apparently, I can’t get it together either. I was just too busy enjoying myself at Charlotte’s Oktoberfest where there were seemingly hundreds of beers.

No, I did not try them all. Of the ones I did, my favorites were Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest and Angry Orchard’s Apple Cinnamon Cider. The latter was pretty much akin to a spiked apple pie in a glass. Delicious.

Unlike those delicious beers, Babies in Beer fall short. I felt it was a bit too heavy for this time of year, or perhaps mashed potatoes would have worked better with the gravy. Although I recommend a lager or ale in the recipe below, I used up my last bottle of Razor Wit (a Belgian wheat) by Highland Brewing Company with good results.

Nevertheless, the dish was actually quite flavorful. I am sharing it because I recognize not everyone who lands here might share my opinion on what tastes good and what does not. Hmmm, sounds like agreeing to disagree. I think we know some people who would do well to remember that, no? Cheers!

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Oktoberfest! Babies in Beer
Serves: 4
  • 6-8 new red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced
  • 1, 8 ounce package mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ cup beer (lager or ale recommended)
  • ¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil the potatoes in a pot of water until just fork tender.
  2. While the potatoes cook, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the green onions and mushrooms, sauteing until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir the flour into the skillet until smooth.
  5. Pour in the beer and the broth and continue to stir unitl smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5-8 minutes.
  8. Drain the cooked potatoes and add them to the frying pan. Small potatoes do not need to be cut, but I would halve or quarter larger potatoes as seen here.
  9. Stir to coat and distribute the mushrooms.
  10. If needed, keep the skillet over the heat to rewarm the potatoes before serving.
The new red potatoes I used were fairly large – think racquetball-size vs. golf-ball size. As such, you may need a few more or a few less depending on the size of your potatoes.


Oktoberfest! Beer Mac & Cheese

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There is always more than one way to look at things. Lady Astor once said, “One reason I don’t drink is I want to know when I’m having a good time.” At other end of the spectrum, we have Lord Byron who, in Don Juan, wrote, “Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication.”

Whether you are stone cold sober or roaring drunk, you need to eat. Beer Mac & Cheese is a good place to start. All you need is pasta, butter, a combination of milk, cream and beer, some cheese, spices and you are set. A healthy dose of exercise after consuming this is also probably in your best interest.

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In this recipe, I used New Belgium Fat Tire – my go to when I cook with an amber beer. (It is great in Belgian beef stew as well.) If you do not like beer, simply replace the one cup of liquid with milk, cream or a combination of both.

The same goes for the cheese. I used cheddar and an Italian blend that included a healthy dose of fontina. The original recipe called for Parmesan, but in such a scant quantity that I did not mess with it. I did add some cayenne pepper for heat and threw in plenty of chives since I had those too. I kept this dish meatless, but the original recipe called for crumbling cooked bacon over the top once baked (refer to above note on exercise).

As for my personal stance on the beer + mac and cheese combo, I’ll borrow a quote from Mae West. “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Cheers!

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Oktoberfest! Beer Mac & Cheese
Serves: 12
  • 1, 16 ounce package elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup amber beer
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  1. Cook the macaroni according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
  2. While the macaroni boils, melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute or two.
  4. Stir in the flour, ground mustard, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using).
  5. Whisk in the milk, beer and cream and bring to a boil.
  6. Stirring frequently, cook until thickened, about two minutes past the boil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 2 cups of the cheddar and the fontina.
  8. Stir in the chives and pour over the cooked macaroni (alternatively, depending on the pan you are using, stir the macaroni into the sauce).
  9. Transfer to a lightly greased, three-quart baking dish.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. or until the cheese is lightly golden brown.
If desired, garnish with additional chives or cooked and crumbled bacon.