Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.
Local beers at George and the Dragon's bar are also in their recipes
Benjamin Carter Grimes
With our local beer scene booming and more people catching the home brewing bug every day, it makes sense that just about every decent Twin Cities restaurant seems to understand the importance of curating a respectable beer list. But we've seen a wonderful growing trend of restaurants showcasing those local beers in a unique way by using them as the base or inspiration for everything from pot pies to puddings.
Here's a roundup of just a few of the best sweet (savories will be published tomorrow) offerings that local restaurants are serving up, using local and regional beers.
The notes of coffee, vanilla, cocoa, and caramel in Surly's Bender, an American-style brown ale, lend themselves well to sweeter pairings, so it makes perfect sense in the custard base of this classic dessert. There's a slight bitterness to the dish that helps balance the layer of glassy sugar on top.
The new brewpub's cheesecake offering changes frequently, but our favorite for fall is the version with caramel and apple reduction and the subtly sweet, malty notes of their honey wheat ale, which is brewed right on the premises.
This rich chocolate pudding is made with Summit oatmeal stout, finished with a layer of creme anglaise, and served in a miniature pint glass, so it has the look and proportion of a beer that an American Girl doll could drink if she was legal ... or real. The massive punch of flavor and rich, velvety texture to this dessert make it a standout.
This Kansas-based brewery produces several beers that are ubiquitous at our local better beer bars, including their 8-bit pale ale and Buffalo Sweat, the sweet milk stout that makes up the base of this moist chocolate cake. It's finished with a Bailey's milk chocolate mousse and a thin layer of shiny ganache.
Yes, Happy Gnome is already on the list, but it's nice to see a dessert that uses a non-stout beer too. In this case it's local classic Summit extra pale ale, and it's blended into a carrot cake-like batter made with warm pumpkin pie spices and sweet potatoes. Like Thanksgiving and your office birthday party and a beer all in one.
What are some of your favorites?