Sunday, February 5, 2012

On Beer Brats and Spotted Cow

Nothing goes with football as well as brat, and undoubtedly, the best way to have a bratwurst is to have it as a beer brat. The problem is that too many people grill their beer brats too long, or at the end of the cooking process which leads to dried out, crispy brats that have lost most if not all of their natural moisture.  Part of the reason is that there are three distinct ways to make beer brats.
11)      Grill then simmer
22)      Grill then simmer then grill
32)      Simmer then grill

The key to the dry brat is in grilling after simmering.  During the act of cooking the brat, the fat liquefies and separates from the meat.  Sorry if the process is not accurately defined, I never claimed to be a food chemist, all I know is that heat causes the fat to melt and separate from the meat.  Once the cat has separated from the brat, you are left with just the meat in the casing.  The problem with grilling anything that lacks the natural juices provided by fat is that it dries out, and fast.  Surprisingly, this is a common mistake that even professional chefs make; I am talking to you Mr. Flay.  No one really wants a dried out sausage, unless it is a landjaeger (think a slim jim only better). 

So, to keep the brat nice and moist you have to replace the lost fat with some sort of liquid, something that will keep the brat juicy and pump.  That’s the joy of beer, if you ever need a go to liquid for cooking, beer is there for you.  To make good beer brats, the order is key.  First, you need to grill or simmer in butter, why butter, cause butter makes everything taste better.  Brown the brat, on three sides(right side, left side, bottom.  As the brats are browning, start to cook an onion in butter until it is translucent and slightly caramelized.

They wouldn’t be beer brats without the beer, so add beer in with the onions and add the brats if they weren’t already in the pot.  Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for a few hours.  I personally simmer for 4 hours min.  After they are done  simmering, serve on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut.
Almost any beer will work for beer brats, but I usually use MGD.  Sure, it’s not a beer that I would drink, but it makes great beer brats.  And, what’s the point of using a good beer, when a good beer is so much better to drink.

So, that leaves me with Spotted Cow.  New Glarus is possibly the most successful craft brewery in Wisconsin, and Spotted Cow is one of their iconic beers.  On RateBeer it gets a 48 overall and a 91 for style.  Over at BeerAdvocate they gave it an 82.

They say: Cask conditioned ale has been the popular choice among brews since long before prohibition. We continue this pioneer spirit with our Wisconsin farmhouse ale. Brewed with flaked barley and the finest Wisconsin malts. We even give a nod to our farmers with a little hint of corn.

Naturally cloudy we allow the yeast to remain in the bottle to enhance fullness of flavors, which cannot be duplicated otherwise. Expect this ale to be fun, fruity and satisfying. You know you're in Wisconsin when you see the Spotted Cow.
Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale
Fun, Fruity and Satisfying

I say: What’s not to love when it comes to a good Farmhouse Ale.  It pours a nice pale golden color with very little white head.  It has a bready, citrusy and fruity scent.  As with most farmhouse ales it has a nice fruity, apple flavor and finishes crisp.  Spotted Cow finishes nicely, and lingers surprisingly well.  Definitely pick some up if you are in Wisconsin, unfortunately you will most likely be unable to find it outside of Wisconsin unless you are lucky.  Or better yet, if you ever find yourself near New Glarus, head over to the brewery, I have heard it is worth the trip!

Well, That's all for this post, Happy Drinking!


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