Phew, it’s been awhile you guys. I’ll admit, I took a break from blogging for a few reasons, namely not balancing my work/life properly. I love my job, and since working there I started doing more and more, especially with photography and social media. It made doing things for my blog feel like work instead of fun, and I desperately needed a break to strip everything away and get back to the reason I started this blog to begin with. I realized baking and making cool stuff with beer had become so minimal on here, so with renewed motivation I am glad to be back!
With that being said, I have a few cool recipes I will be sharing with you, along with a bunch of back-logged posts I just didn’t have the motivation to write. I am like a hoarder of edited photos, so be ready to – I’ve got a bunch of awesome stuff to share!
Without further ado, I present to you – Beer Caramel Corn made with Ninkasi’s Vanilla Oatis! I am a huge fan of Ninkasi, as you may know, so I wanted to do something cool with their vanilla stout that was a bit unexpected. I made this caramel corn recipe for a work event (see what I mean) last year and never got around to blogging about it, but I remember people raved about it being so delicious and addicting. It was a match made in heaven!
8 quarts of popped popcorn (I have an air pop because I am obsessed with popcorn, but you can just buy the unflavored bags of microwaved popcorn or use your stove top to make it too… I like the big kernels for this)
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark, don’t matter)
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons of Vanilla Oatis Beer
Heat your oven to 250 degrees F. Spray large roasting tray with cooking spray. It needs to be really large, like the one you would use for a turkey, or two of those tin disposable trays would do. Place your popped popcorn in the roasting tray and let it sit in the oven while you prepare your caramel. This helps dry out the popcorn of any leftover moisture, and heat it so the caramel doesn’t seize when you pour it on.
I don’t know if many of you get all your ingredients measured first, then make your recipe, but I typically don’t – with one exemption…. when making candy. You should never turn your back on candy, because it can burn in the blink of an eye. Always prep everything first. Put your brown sugar and corn syrup and salt and butter in a medium to large sauce pan. The butter will splash a bit so have some room to mix it. Pre-measure your baking soda and beer (in separate bowls) and set aside. Cook the sugar mixture over medium heat, whisking continuiously, until it starts to boil. Once it’s boiling, let it boil for 5 minutes without touching it. After five minutes, take your popcorn out of the oven, take the sugar mixture off the heat, and mix in the baking soda and beer with a whisk into the sugar mixture. It should react to the baking soda and foam up a bit. That’s good!
Pour the sugar caramel mixture over the popcorn as quckly and evenly as possible. Mix it around with two spatulas as best as you can to get it evenly distributed. Put it back in the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes, take it out every 15 minutes or so to mix around to ensure even coating, and maximum crunchiness.
Prepare a space to spread out the candy on a flat surface (I put a towel down, then a large sheet of tin foil I sprayed with cooking spray and folded the edges up so it wouldn’t go everywhere). Put the finished popcorn on the flat surface and spread it out with a spatula so it’s an even layer. Sprinkle with some extra sea salt as desired. I prefer salty & sweet so I added sea salt when it was right out of the oven so it would stick to the popcorn.
Let cool & enjoy! It should keep for about a week in airtight containers. It made enough for three gallon ziploc bags.
Needless to say, this was a huge hit! I think the beer added a subtle vanilla malty note to the sugar and butter flavors of this popcorn. I thought I was in trouble for having made so much of it. Luckily my co-workers couldn’t keep their hands off of it, and my husband gave a bag away to our friends work and they devoured it as well. I highly recommend making this, it keeps well, and it’s universally loved. It’s a great deviation from the typical baked item!
It’s that time of year! It’s my birthday, it’s the Holidays, it’s time for OC Brew Ho Ho. This event is one of my favorites, where the dark and sticky beers flow, and people get weird. The people watching is like an event within an event, and I highly recommend getting the tasting out of the way early and post-up someone to watch all the hilarious costumes and tipsy attendee’s shenanigans.
It’s the beer event where local breweries pull out all the stops, and bust out all the dark, high ABV, special beers for one last hurrah before the year ends. I’ve had everything from White Russians, to Egg Nog, to whales at this event, and one thing I’ve never had was disappointment… (see what I did there?)
If you go to one party this Holiday season, make it a beer party.
When: Saturday, Dec. 9th from 12-4pm
Where: The Phoenix Club,1340 S. Sanderson Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806
Cost: $55 for unlimited 2oz tasters + taster glass
Music: The English Beat (cue fangirl moment – I am a ska kid at heart)
I had a blast at this year’s OC Brew Ha Ha! It was the first time the weather was super mild, and it made me very happy not to be a sweaty mess. In addition to great weather, the overall vibe was chill – partially due to the event not being over crowded. Most of the booths had little to no lines (minus Bottle Logic, where I couldn’t get a break in those damn lines for a beer) so we were able to bounce around the event and try most of everything relatively quickly.
Overall it was a great time. The corndog from Viking truck was satisfying as hell. The VIP area had some really interesting beers (rare beers, sours, etc.). I am really late getting this review out there, so most of the details are already covered. I’ll just leave the pics here for your enjoyment!
This year at the OC Brew Hee Haw event something magical happened: I was blessed with close parking to the event entrance. For those of you who have attended the OC Brew Hee Haw events, you know that because this event is located within the OC Fair you are likely gonna park super far away that will typically require a shuttle to get to and from. Not this year, I attended the 12-4pm event and there was parking really close, it was magic.
It was a hot summer day but luckily this event had several water stations and shade so I was able to avoid being burned or dehydrated. Most of the outside booths had a nice breeze or shade from trees so I was hot but not too bothered by the weather.
The DJ was really fun – it always makes for great people watching after the event has been going for a few hours and people loose their inhibitions a bit and start dancing. There was a funny moment when I spotted a man taking a photo that almost looked to be an “up-skirt” photo, so naturally I took pictures of him intending to report him to security. That’s when I noticed he was actually taking pictures of his companion’s injured foot, so that was even more interesting. As I photographed them, my friend and I was approached by a guy who asked what I was doing. I told him, and he was like “oh, I thought you had a thing for feet.” So we ended-up having a whole conversation about how there’s always porn out there for strange fetishes, and maybe this dude runs a “Misery-porn” instagram (ya-know … like the movie Misery? The one where she breaks his ankles?). I’ve met some fun people at beer events, and some of these people have ended-up being close friends who I hang out in real life (outside of beer events), and this dude was hilarious. He ended-up hanging out with us for like an hour after the event, walking around the fair, then walking off into the sunset never to be heard from again. I prefer to think he was a ghost, who walks around Costa Mesa and brightens people’s day with his antidotes.
I had a lot of fun at this event. It was well organized and I was able to enjoy the fair after the event which is always a good time. My only suggestion for next year is to have a few less IPA’s and more lighter beers like Kolsch’s Pilzners, and Pales. I met a lot of interesting people at this event, and ended-up becoming a group photographer of sorts in the end. Thanks for a great event!
This year the OC Brewers Guild Invitational event was hosted at the Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim, where there has been many events like the Fest of Ales, etc. It’s a unique space where it’s almost like a lowercase t, with a long main strip and two small off-shoots. What’s great about this space is the parking, there are two big parking structures and it’s easy to get in and out of the event. As we walked up we noticed the long line that snaked its way through an entire side of the parking structure and around the corner. Thankfully most of the people who where waiting were in the shade, but nevertheless they looked pretty unhappy to be waiting. I heard claims that it took some people almost an hour to get in. There seemed to be a few issues with this event, so I will break them down into likes and gripes:
Like: Having the event in the early evening, it helped a little because the day was super hot and having it be later in the day helped quell the heat just a little. Plus it’s nice to take photos in the magic hour!
Gripe: Only 1 water station in the whole place. This is a major gripe of mine, to have an unlimited drinking festival without ample water is dangerous, especially on a hot day. It’s almost reckless in a sense, and the level of drunkenness I saw at the event was likely caused by the lack of water availability.
Like: Lots of great beer selections! There was super rare beer poured, especially by The Bruery. I mean, they had Chocolate Rain in bottles, that’s just nuts. But – the problem with that was Chocolate Rain is 18.5%ABV, so serving that when it’s hot and lack of water = really drunk people.
Gripe: There seemed to be a lack of fun music options, and the space in the small part of the t shape of the street seemed to be under-utilized. It was mainly lined with port-a-potties.
Like: The glassware was really nice, the gold leaf option for those who got VIP was a nice touch.
Gripe: In general, there was a lack of organization from what I heard from my friends who worked the event. There was beer that was overly foamy because of the heat levels, people had to move their stations after they were set-up, and I noticed extremely intoxicated people were still being served.
Like: I think the event has really great potential and I am glad to see the OC beer scene being celebrated. I think events like Firkfest is a good example of a well-run beer event in Anaheim, with several water stations, a well-known and well-liked DJ, and several people running the line check-ins. A few small tweaks and next year could be a fantastic event!