Sour Beer

Boon Gueuze Arancini with Arla Havgus

This is something new - at least on these parts. Back when I was writing in danish, I did occasionally do some food recipes involving beer. This one started out as a Gueuze risotto, but quickly turned into a full on Arancini attack. After my former work place shut down, I've been missing my regular doses of cheese filled arancini, but no more!

The wanted future of every risotto ever. Why? Because you can add more cheese!

The wanted future of every risotto ever. Why? Because you can add more cheese!

The main inspiration here comes from Jamie Olivers risotto, yet I've tweaked it so far that no one would notice. It's been simplified to my liking and I've added a bunch of cheese from local vendor Arla Unika. They're as geeky about cheese as I am about beer, and they were quick to guide me with cheese for my risotto and giving me tasters. Havgus, a medium-hard cheese, is the base in the recipe, but with the big brother Havgus XL, who's a bit stronger in the flavors, it all came full circle and adds an extra layer of taste to an already rich dish.

Havgus is a bit nutty, salty and fruity, some would even call it funky, which goes hand it hand with the beer chosen - Boon's Oude Geuze, an affordable alternative to a complex lambic blend, that'll satisfy even the hardcore lover of sours.

Ingredients for the risotto

2 tbs oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

400 gram Arborio rice

150 ml Geuze

1 liter chicken broth

25 gram butter

100 gram cheese (80% Havgus + 20% Havgus XL)

+ more cheese for filling! About another 100 gram or however much you like in there.

+ Salt, pepper and thyme

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of bread flour

How to make it

1) Heat up the oil in a big pot and fry the onions, garlic and celery for about five minutes. Don't let them take any color.

2) Add the rice, turn the heat down to above medium and fry them for about a minute while stirring. Stirring is important - keep stirring.

3) Add the Geuze and stir until the it's absorbed into the rice.

4) Turn the heat down to about medium and add the broth little by little. Add about 10% and keep stirring until it's absorbed. Save the last 10%. It'll take about 30 minutes, but try biting the rice - if they still have a little bite, they're about done.

5) Turn the heat to medium low and add butter and cheese. Time for the last stirring session (is your arm hurting by now?). It needs to be creamy and wet. If it's too stiff add some more broth.

Now you have a risotto, and you could garnish that with salt, pepper, thyme and some freshly shredded cheese and serve it, or...

6) Let the risotto cool down in the fridge

7) Take a large spoon of cooled down risotto. Shape it into a round circle and put a cube of cheese in the middle. Fold the sides of risotto around the cheese and shape it into a ball. Repeat until you're out of risotto.

8) Whisk the eggs together in a shallow plate and put the bread flour in another shallow plate. Dip the risotto balls in first the egg and then the flour.

9) Deep fry in oil over medium heat. The butter on the inside should be melted, while the outside is crispy. Serve as a starter, with a dip of choice.


De Garde, Corvallis OR

I've been to Oregon a few times, and I've been close to Corvallis enough times to almost smell the brewery. Fourth times seems to be the charm as I finally made my way to the warehouse that holds one of my favorite sour breweries.

Carved in wood.  

Carved in wood.  

Up there with Castillon, on the top shelf in my cellar, is where I stash my De Garde beers. As they're hard to come by around these parts, I try to spread it out as best I can. Going to a brewery feels as close to unlimited supply as it ever gets - it's like heaven... 

Taste the rainbow.  

Taste the rainbow.  

Everything in the taproom seems so well thought out. The tables, all the memorabilia on the walls, the neat shelfs in the top and the backdrop of the bar. It's exactly what you'd expect from de Garde. Classy without being overly flashy, yet still cosy enough to easily let people spend several hours on the premises. 

We ended up trying the whole menu on the board alongside a couple of bottles, and we of course ran in to some new favorites.  

Cantillon, artwork and a guy with a donkey on his head. 

Cantillon, artwork and a guy with a donkey on his head. 

Avenue no. 2 was probably the most interesting that day. A farmhouse sour with Marion berries aged on oak, already sounds intriguing on paper, but the taste was nothing but amazing. Dry, tart but deliciously fruity, almost like jam. Definitely a highlight on an already phenomenale tap list!

Tap list

Tap list

And as mentioned we also made our dig into some of the bottles on hand at the brewery. A very fine selection of some of their best stuff made is available. Prices are a bit steep, but for a Dane, not unheard of it. We tried to keep to a decent budget, but could've easily splurged if we'd let our hearts choose. 

The editor and the bottles

The editor and the bottles

Thank you de Garde. Keep up the good work (and start shipping to Copenhagen)

Cantillon in Pictures, Brussels

A picture says more than a thousand words, so when I got to visit one of my favourite breweries, I teamed up with the brilliant mind of Jan Odekamp. Jan had been following me and five other bloggers around, during a trip arranged by Visit Flanders, that took us to seven cities around the Flandern Area. I had already seen his excellent skills at work, making me actually look good on camera, so my faith in him was great.

He didn't disappoint, and as you can see from the pictures, Cantillon is a beautiful place with an interior unlike any other brewery I've seen before. Somewhere in-between the old barrels, among the spiderwebs under the wooden roof, magic happens. Jan captured it perfectly!

You should do yourself a favour and follow Jan Opdekamp on his Tumblr and tell him he's awesome. Right now he has a picture of a dinosaur, and dinosaurs are pretty freakin awesome too!