If you like a robust brew chances are you’re a lager fan. If you haven’t tried one and are of legal drinking age, ‘tis the season! December 10th is National Lager Day, and many beer manufacturers have made it easy for you to celebrate the day with their special Christmas and winter brews. My favorite is always Harp, which the Guinness brand includes in its Irish Beer 18-packs along with their famous stout and Smithwick’s Ale. The package is perfect for making and enjoying a good black and tan as pictured here.
Lagers are fermented at low temperatures, and the pale variety is the most commercially available type of beer. Bock (which can really knock your socks off,) and pilsners are types of lagers. The Gothic word “ligrs” is the base for the word lager, and means “place of lying down,” which is especially apropos for the high-alcohol-content bock beer served during lent in many German towns and cities.
I prefer lager to ale because ales tend to be fruitier, where lagers are crisper and taste cleaner. And when I use beer in cooking, like when I soak some brats or make a good beer and cheddar soup, lager works best because it doesn’t have that fruity flavor.
Samuel Adams makes a Winter Lager that is tastier than most mass-produced ones, and is widely available even in most supermarkets. Fat Tire’s American Amber Red Lager can make for a “hoppy” Christmas, too. Connoisseurs may be more interested in some of the lesser-known brands that get good reviews like Massachusetts based Fisherman’s Winter Lager, Michigan’s Kuhnhenn Winter Wonder Lager, or California’s Moylan’s White Christmas Lager.
Sometimes you just want to chill with a brew, but if you’d like to pair your lager with a meal, here are a few suggested dishes:
French Dip Sandwiches
Rib Eye Steak
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Find recipes for all of these dishes, and many more, in Easy Weekly Meals touchscreen cookbooks, starting at $5.99. They are all quick and easy to make and delicious, too.
If you’d like to use beer in a recipe, try the Drunken Salmon Recipe in Easy Weekly Meals for College Students, or make my easy Cheddar and Lager Soup, below.
Hoppy Holidays Cheddar and Lager Soup
· 1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
· 1 Sweet Onion, chopped
· 48 oz Lager (12 bottles)
· 20 oz Chicken Stock
· 2 Tbs Butter
· 2 Tbs Flour
· 16 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
· Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they become soft and sticky, and turn tan around the edges.
· Add lager and broth to Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Then pour onion and liquid into a heatproof mixing bowl and set aside.
· Melt butter until it foams in Dutch oven and whisk flour into it. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking continually to form a roux.
· Gradually add lager and chicken stock to roux, whisking continually to prevent lumps from forming.
· Add onions and bring to a boil while continuing to stir, and then immediately reduce heat to simmer. Continue to stir over heat for about 5 minutes, allowing liquid to thicken.
· Gradually fold in shredded cheese.
· Once the cheese has melted and the soup has reached your desired thickness, serve it hot with crusty bread and a crunchy salad.
Whichever way you choose to use your lager, have a happy and satisfying National Lager Day, the Easy way.
Black and Tan Photo Courtesy of Aleheads.com
Irish Beer Photo Courtesy of Easy Weekly Meals