As you read this, I’m probably wandering canal-side in Amsterdam. Yep, the hubs and I are on vacay in Amsterdam, Belgium and Luxembourg and since Belgian beers are playing a starring role on our trip, I thought it would only be fitting to spotlight them today.
Belgians beers are complex enough for beer lovers but easy drinking, making them great to cut your teeth on if you’re just getting into beer. Like a fine wine, most Belgians should be served it in a snifter or a tulip glass to get the full aroma.
Belgian styles can vary greatly from a spritzy, champagne-like saison or grand cru to a sweet, malty dubbel to a fruity lambic. When you’re drinking one, keep an eye out for key flavor characteristics like clove, banana, bubble gum, citrus and coriander, which come from using Belgian-style yeasts.
Some of my favorite Belgian beers include:
Belgian Imports: Duvel, La Chouffe, Grimbergen, Saison Du Pont, Delirium Tremens, Chimay
US Micros: Ommegang Hennepin, Goose Island Matilda, Russian River Damnation, New Glarus Imperial Saison
But beer isn’t only great for drinking! It’s an unsung hero of cooking too that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes like this one that I created:
Lemon Shortbread with Rhubarb Framboise Sauce & Belgian Whipped Cream
2 C flour
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1/2+ C powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 pkg fresh raspberries
6 stalks rhubarb, chopped
1/4 C framboise beer (such as Lindeman’s)
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Grand Cru Whipped Cream
1 C organic heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp Grand Cru beer
For shortbread, preheat oven to 300. Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Grate lemon zest into butter mixture. Steadily beat in flour mixture until well combined. Cover cookie sheet with a double layer of parchment paper. Form dough into a ball and place on top. Roll dough into a 1/2″ thick circle and use your fingers to pinch the edges into a fluted shape. Using a fork, poke holes in the top in a ring-shape, working your way from the center outward. Dust with granulated sugar and bake for 40-45 minutes.
For sauce, combine rhubarb, beer and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Dust in cornstarch and whisk well, then add raspberries. Cook over med-low heat for another 10 minutes or until fruit is broken down.
For whipped cream, combine cream, sugar and beer in a medium bowl or mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until soft peaks form.
Bonus!: Save the extra rhubarb sauce for ice cream, waffles or pancakes!
Au revoir and Dag! I’ll share more about my trip when I return in June for HAP Wedding Month – don’t forget to get your wedding submissions in!