by Kate Heyhoe
I have never been much of a beer aficionado—after one glass, I've always felt it made me feel bloated and yucky and offered little gustatory incentive to continue drinking it. But about a year ago my husband brought home some "classic ales" and once I tasted them, I realized what I had been missing. We pulled out three 4 star brews and, using small glasses, which allowed us to view the frothy "Brussels Lace," sampled one after the other, while we read about their award-winning attributes in our handy-dandy beer guide. Since then, our spontaneous ale-tastings have become fun, educational and, yes, tasty!
I can't say I have become a beer connoisseur, but in the proverbial I-know-what-I like category, I do think I've come a long way in appreciating what makes an ale "good." But being a chef at heart, I am even more happy now that I have discovered the joys of cooking with beer, something I had never taken seriously before. Perhaps because I had never been exposed to a really good, complex ale.
Being St. Paddy's month, we thought we'd partake in a bit of the brewski. Here, we look at some of the books and recipes that have been most useful in expanding our own knowledge of this ancient drink. Put these recipes together and you have the makings of a festive St. Patrick's Day Party—one that you could call "true brew." On the other hand, if you find you start enjoying beer more, then these could become part of your permanent culinary repertoire.
Happy St. Patrick's Day
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