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If beer-laced desserts are beyond your comprehension (which would be beyond our comprehension here at your favorite Beer of the Month Club!) just think of rum cake and liqueur-filled chocolates. Ever drizzled beer into your coffee for a taste-bud revolution? Doppelbocks, eisbocks, porters and stouts take ice cream and fruit to a new level. Want to dazzle your friends? Serve them one of these “beer-bettered” dessert creations:

— Raspberry Lambic Sorbet — 1/2# fresh raspberries, 1/2 c. sugar, 1-1/4 c. water, 2 t. freshly grated ginger, 1 c. chilled Belgian raspberry lambic   (framboise).   Set your freezer to the coldest setting.

Pour the first four ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally Cook five minutes, until the berries are mushy. Cool. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator, then pour in the chilled framboise. Freeze, covered, for one to two hours until nearly firm. Put mixture in large bowl, beat with electric mixer for two to three minutes. Return to the freezer for two or three more hours, until firm. (For maximum creaminess, beat and re-freeze again.) Serve and smile big!

Thinking that’s too labor intensive? Try this:  — Quickie Ale Chocolate Cake —

Pick your favorite instant chocolate cake mix that calls for the addition of water, oil and eggs. (Do not try it with any mix that requires milk.) Next, pick your favorite beer . . . Irish stout, porter, doppelbock, old ale, imperial stout or barley wine are all on the “favorites list.” Finally, make the cake mix and bake as directed, the only difference is substitute a like quantity of beer for the water in the recipe. Conserve water! Protect the environment! Make your friends happy! As many fine cooks know, beer can substitute for water or broth in scores of recipes, from appetizers to desserts like these.

JAKE VOELKER OF McALLISTER, NEW YORK ASKS:  “ARE ALL BEERS MADE USING JUST WATER, YEAST, MALTED BARLEY AND HOPS?”

Copy that! Most brews are blends of the above, in varying quantities. Taste differences are attributed to how the ingredients are grown, measured, manipulated, incorporated and aged. One of the most “unusual” beers was the brainchild of Captain James Cook. Landing in New Zealand in 1773, he immediately set up a brewery. Winging it, he used the local manuka and rimi tree branches, and added a little molasses for good luck. He called it beer. The local natives called it “stinking water.”  (He really should have stuck to “The Final Four!”)

Featured Beer from Millstream Brewery:   Back Road Oatmeal Stout & Iowa Pale Ale IPA

OATMEAL STOUT — Millstream’s Back Road Oatmeal Stout: Surprising creaminess and smoothness say this top-fermented bottled ale beauty would be a heavenly accompaniment to pizza, salads, Italian foods, dark flavorful breads and all fish dishes.

INDIA PALE ALE — Millstream’s Iowa Pale Ale IPA: Made bitter and strong to survive the long boat trip, it was originally brewed for British soldiers in India. Millstream’s version is not a hoppy monster like some IPA’s. Enjoy this refreshing, top-fermented brew with seafood and all things spicy or grilled.

Featured Beer from Cisco Brewery: Grey Lady Ale & Summer Lager

ALE — Cisco’s Grey Lady Ale: Expressive and complex with a pleasing fruitiness, ales are made with bottom-fermenting ale yeast. Lengthy aging is not critical as it is in lagers. Ales come in a wide range of styles and flavors. This crisp, quaffable selection bodes well with whatever fits your mood and satisfies your craving!

MUNICH HELLES LAGER — Cisco’s Grey Lady Ale: A bottom-fermented beer, the refreshingly crisp Bavarian lager is reminiscent of the beer the commoners of Munich chose to drink. Unbeatable served with appetizers, light seafood, chicken and traditional German bratwurst. So refreshing, your taste buds will yearn for more. “Prost!”

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Tracie Burket
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