I live in the middle of craft brewing country. There are hops fields on either side of me, breweries in small warehouse districts, and if you venture further downtown, a beer tasting room on every corner. There’s also a lot of home brewing going on, and when you add it all up, clearly, Canadians really do love their beer.
There’s even a Day of the Month to celebrate that Canadian love of beer. April 7th is National Beer Day, and that makes it the perfect time to take a look at beer making, beer enjoying, and give you a few recipes that include beer.
But first, a few fast facts about beer drinking in Canada:
- Canadians drink more than 22,700,000 hectolitres of beer every year, and that’s enough beer to fill up 900 Olympic-size swimming pools
- Although it seems as though Canadians drink a lot of beer, they rank 25th in the world for annual per capita beer consumption. Number one is the Czech Republic, and Ireland only ranks in at number seven
- Out of all the provinces, it’s the Yukon that drinks the most beer. They have a 128 annual per capita consumption of beer, with Newfoundland, Quebec, and Alberta trailing behind
Home brewing your own beer
What better way to celebrate National Beer Day than by brewing your own beer? There’s a lot of options for you if you’d like to take up beer brewing as a hobby, and one of the easiest is to pick up the Mr.Beer Home Brewing Kit.
With a Mr.Beer home brewing kit you can make up to 15 liters of delicious beer in 14 days, and there’s a lot of different flavour options to try so you can make any kind of beer.
Pour the perfect beer at home
Once you have your beer made, or if you like to frequent craft breweries and bring home your favourites, you’re going to want to try out custom pouring options. That’s why so many of my friends own the Kegerator.
The Kegerator is what it sounds like: it’s a refrigerator that also works as a keg, and it lets you pour the perfect, ice cold beer via the 2-tap or 1-tap system that’s built into the refrigerator. The Kegerator is compatible with a majority of popular kegs, and there’s even room inside for snacks and other beverages.
On a smaller but no less amazing scale, there’s also the Fizzics Portable Draft Beer System. It improves the flavour of your beer and you can use it with any can, bottle, or even your personal growler. It doesn’t even need C02 or other refill canisters, and it’s easy to use inside in your rec room or outside on the picnic table.
Other great reasons to have beer around? Beer recipes
Beer isn’t just for drinking; it’s actually one of the best ingredients you can use for cooking and baking, and whether you’ve made your beer through home brewing or picked it up at the local store, there are a lot of recipes you can use to celebrate National Beer Day. Here’s a few that I’ve tried.
Ale and Cheddar biscuit recipe
This recipe uses only ½ cup of ale, but it really adds to the flavour of the biscuit. Photo and recipe from the Food Network.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup ale
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to work it into the flour mixture until it resembles small pebbles. Add the Cheddar and toss lightly.
Add the buttermilk and ale and stir in with a wooden spoon just to combine. Using a 1/4 cup measure, scoop the dough onto the baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between biscuits. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.
Beer and brown sugar marinade recipe
This recipe for marinade is top notch. It calls for beef but I think it’s great for chicken too. Photo and recipe from allrecipes.com.
2 (16 ounce) beef sirloin steaks
1/4 cup dark beer
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat grill for high heat.
Use a fork to poke holes all over the surface of the steaks, and place steaks in a large baking dish. In a bowl, mix together beer, teriyaki sauce, and brown sugar. Pour sauce over steaks, and let sit about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 the seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder; set aside for 10 minutes. Turn steaks over, sprinkle with remaining seasoned salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and continue marinating for 10 more minutes.
Remove steaks from marinade. Pour marinade into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for several minutes.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill steaks for 7 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. During the last few minutes of grilling, baste steaks with boiled marinade to enhance the flavor and ensure juiciness.
Beer-candied bacon recipe
Beer and bacon go together like franks and beans or peanut butter and jelly. This recipe and photo from Tide & Thyme shows you exactly how to make beer-candied bacon.
1 lb thick-cut, high quality bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp beer
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine brown sugar and beer in a small bowl, whisking well to form a thin syrup. Set aside.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top. Place the pieces of bacon on top of the rack, overlapping if necessary. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush one side of the bacon with the beer syrup. Flip, and coat the other side with the syrup as well. Return to oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and repeat process another time or two more, until bacon is crispy and browned, and you’ve used all the glaze.
Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving.
Enjoy National Beer Day, and if you’d like to do your own home brewing or home pouring, here’s some great options for beer.