When it gets this cold, we reach for darker, roastier, boozier beers to sip by the fireplace. One of the best options in that category is the Brother Thelonious Abbey Ale from North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg, CA. Just like the jazz musician for which it was named, it’s traditional and forward-thinking all at once — a Belgian strong dark ale with hints of fruit and caramel sweetness that warm up the palate.
And while afternoon beers warm our bodies, we like to give our house a little warming, too. A hunk of meat that needs to be slow cooked provides a reason to have the oven on all day. So, we were pretty excited to discover a recipe in The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs & Breweries by John Holl that features Brother Thelonious and big, beefy short ribs, seared and then allowed to hang out in a beer hot tub all afternoon long.
Whatever you do, it’s pretty hard to mess this one up.
We adapted the recipe a bit by omitting two tablespoons of beef base and replacing it with extra veggies, a little extra beer, chipotle peppers, worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, and spices. The broth was perfect, but feel free to experiment with your own combination of aromatics. Whatever you do, it is pretty hard to mess this up. This beer feels right at home in a hot tub made for beef, and so would we.
Beer-Braised Short Ribs
4-5 pounds beef short ribs
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
3 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon piment d’espelette or paprika
3 large onions, rough dice
3 stalks of celery, rough dice
3 large carrots, rough dice
1 head of garlic, each clove peeled and cut in half
8 ounces button mushrooms (about 10 whole mushrooms)
2 cups beef stock
1 ½ cups Brother Thelonious Abbey Ale
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 chipotle peppers with 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce (more if you like more heat)
Warm the oven to 350 degrees.
Grind the peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, then add to a medium-large bowl with the salt, cayenne, and piment d’espelette, and mix. Dredge each short rib in the mixture, pushing the meat into the spices, and cover all sides of the ribs.
Warm a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Once the oil begins to smoke, sear the short ribs, about 3 minutes per side, until browned. Remove the ribs to a bowl, then cover it with foil. (Sear the ribs in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.)
Add all of the vegetables except the mushrooms to the oil. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the vegetables are browned. Remove the vegetables to the bowl with the short ribs.
To deglaze the pan, pour in the beef stock, beer, vinegar, honey, tomato paste, worcestershire, chipotle peppers and the sauce. Stir with a wooden spoon, making sure to get the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
As soon as the sauce is simmering, add the short ribs back to the Dutch oven. Pour the vegetables over the short ribs. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour, then add the mushrooms. Cook for 1½ more hours. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with mashed potatoes, warm rolls, and Brother Thelonious Abbey Ale.
Recipe adapted from The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs & Breweries by John Holl (Storey Publishing, 2013)