Weight Watchers offers a simple recipe made with low-fat cheese, and doesn't suggest you serve it with bread or crackers.
Beer and Cheese Fondue
1 12-oz. can or bottle light beer
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound low-fat cheddar or colby cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
In a medium saucepan over moderate heat, warm beer until it boils; stir in mustard and pepper.
In a bowl, toss cheese with flour. Slowly add cheese to beer mixture, stirring. Continue stirring until mixture is smooth and thick, about 6 minutes total.
Yields about 1/4 cup per serving.
(Tip: Serve this dip with cubes or rolled slices of lean ham and smoked turkey as well as carrots, celery sticks, baked tortilla chips or cubes of crusty bread.)
The Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese has offered ideas for six fine cheeses along with their beer recommendations, and a few wine ideas too.
Chèvre with herbs or pepper (Vermont Butter and Cheese Company)
A classic fresh soft chèvre made from pasteurized goat’s milk, it is ideal as an appetizer or an accompaniment to salad.
Pilsner-style beer, Wheat beer, Pale ale
Les Pyramids or La Roche (Lazy Lady Farm)
Made from pasteurized goat’s milk, these soft-ripened cheeses make great beginnings for dinner or an ideal part of a dessert course.
Amber lager, Brown Ale, Double ale
Two-year Cheddar (Shelburne Farms)
Made from Brown Swiss cow’s milk, this aged semi-firm cheddar goes well with many different foods or simply by itself.
India Pale Ale, Steam beer, Christmas Ale
Vermont Shepherd (Vermont Shepherd)
One of the pioneer, aged, semi-firm, sheep milk cheeses in the United States, it deserves a prominent place in any feast.
Doppelbock, Double or Triple ale, Oatmeal stout
Traditional Cheddar Wheel (Cabot Creamery)
The traditional country-store cheddar, made from pasteurized cow’s milk, delivers rich, full-bodied, moist flavors to a great meal.
Porter, Double ale, Fruit beer
Boucher Blue (Green Mountain Blue Cheese)
One of Vermont’s pioneering blue cheeses, made from cow’s milk, it combines classic flavors and moist textures that appeal to every palate.
Triple ale, Imperial stout, Barley wine
Mark Jacob of the Chicago Tribune offered these things you might not know about beer in a recent article.
Perhaps you can share them around the parking lot on Sunday since most folks won’t be debating how the undefeated Patriots stack up against the winless Miami Dolphins.
Why did the Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock instead of pushing on to Virginia? Well, for one thing, they were nearly out of beer. A Mayflower passenger’s diary reads: “We could not now take time for further search or consideration; our victuals being much spent, especially our beere.”
In the 1600s and 1700s, midwives in Europe and Colonial America gave delivering mothers “groaning ale,” which was fermented for seven or eight months and tapped when contractions began. After the birth, the child might even be bathed in the ale, since it was likely to be more sanitary than the water then available.
As president, James Madison proposed creation of a national brewery and appointment of a “secretary of beer.” But Congress wouldn’t go along. If such a Cabinet position existed today, who might fit it? Actor George Wendt of “Cheers,” perhaps? Or Windell Middlebrooks, who portrays the Miller High Life truck driver who confiscates beer from overpriced establishments?
Beer can kill, but it usually doesn’t do it nine at a time. The exception occurred in London in 1814 when the rupture of a brewery tank sent a giant wave of 3,500 barrels of beer cascading upon nearby residents. Two houses were demolished, and nine people died.
The Diversey Parkway and Lill Avenue in the North Side of Chicago were named after two early city brewers, Michael Diversey and William Lill.
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 devastated the local beer industry, allowing Milwaukee brewers to swoop in and seize market share. After grabbing a strong foothold in Chicago, Schlitz and other Milwaukee companies took advantage of Chicago’s railroad hub to purvey their products across the country.
“The Guinness Book of World Records” was begun in 1955 at the suggestion of Guinness Brewery’s top executive to settle gentlemanly disputes, such as those that would arise over mugs of beer.
Joe Charboneau, a Belvidere, Ill., native who played outfield for the Cleveland Indians in the early ‘80s, used to open beer bottles with his eye socket and drink beer through a straw in his nose.
During Prohibition, only “near beer” (less than 0.5 percent alcohol) could be sold. Such beer was sometimes illegally turned into high-octane “needle beer” when alcohol was injected into the barrel. The opposite of near beer might be called severe beer, such as Samuel Adams’ Utopias at 25 percent alcohol.
You’ve heard of “beer goggles”—the idea that someone who has had a few quaffs finds members of the opposite sex more attractive. A study at Glasgow University in 2002 confirmed the effect. Tipsy students were 25 percent more likely to rate a person as sexually attractive than students who were sober.
Octoberfest beers are on shelves but what tastes best with the seasonal brew for food pairings.
I asked that question of the folks at Samuel Adams who make an Octoberfest. Little did I know that the brewery asked chef David Burke of New York’s DavidBurke&Donatella to come up with recipes created with Samuel Adams Octoberfest.
Here's how to make Pumpkin Ravioli with Samuel Adams Octoberfest, Brown Butter and Sage and a festive Gingersnap Chicken Breast with Samuel Adams Octoberfest and Raisin Gravy.
PUMPKIN RAVIOLI WITH BROWN BUTTER AND SAGE
24 store bought pumpkin ravioli
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sage, chopped
6 ounces Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Sautee shallots in butter and brown. When butter is browned add beer and sage, salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Pour over ravioli.
GINGERSNAP CHICKEN BREAST WITH RAISIN GRAVY
For the chicken:
4 chicken breasts
1 cup gingersnap cookies, ground
2 egg whites
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoon garlic
1/2 cup raisins
12 ounces Samuel Adams Octoberfest
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup brown gravy
Steamed spinach (optional)
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cut with semi-whipped egg whites. Coat with cookie crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked. Set aside to rest.
Sautee onion and garlic until brown. Add beer and brown gravy and reduce by half. Add raisins. Cook for another 10 minutes. Mix in butter and salt and pepper. Add steamed spinach underneath chicken for a garnish. Pour sauce over chicken and top with lots of chopped chives.