Learn how to homebrew

Smoked Beer Can Chicken [Recipes]

Author // Devon

Here in New England the Summer weather is quickly fading, in fact I woke up this morning to temps in the low 50's. However, I reject the notion that BBQ season is over, far from it as far as I'm concerned. Now, if you don't have a smoker that's okay, read on as this chicken is still damn tasty without one, thought perhaps you'll keep reading and decide you need to go buy a smoker, also a good call. Smoking meat is really pretty easy, I bought my first smoker last summer for $70 and made some very tasty food on it. Some of you might note I've upgraded since then but this recipe really is almost fool proof. I've made this five or six times now and made small adjustments each time. What I present here is my final recipe that I've come to rely on and decided to share with all of you. 

So before I start, for those of you who already brine their chicken just skip ahead to the ingredients, for those that haven't read on. I had never brined chicken until about a year ago, and then learned how I'd been cooking chicken wrong my entire life. This simple step takes chicken from good to great and it's soooooo easy. I can guarantee some of you are going to look at the salt and sugar content listed below and say "that can't be right!" or perhaps even scale it back thinking you don't need that much...DON'T!. Seriously, this will not make your meet super salty or sweet or anything else, it just makes it tender and juicy and amazing. OK back to the cooking.

Alright without further ado, on to the recipe!



4lb Whole Chicken (you can go larger or smaller if you wish)


1 can of beer half full (drink the first half)

Brine Ingredients:

1 Gallon Water

1 Cup Sugar

3/4 Cup Kosher Salt

1 TBSP Coarse Black Pepper

1 TBSP Paprika

2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

2 tsp Celery Seed

Chicken Rub:

1/4 Cup Paprika

1 TBSP Kosher Salt

1 TBSP Garlic Powder

1 1/2 tsp Dried Time

1 tsp coarse ground pepper

3/4 tsp cayenne pepper 


Heat water to near boil in a large pot and add all ingredients. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Take pot off off heat and allow to cool to at least room temperature. Once cool clean your chicken and submerge fully in the brine, refrigerate for at least 4 hours though overnight is great as well. 

After the chicken has been brined remove from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. 

Combine all rub ingredients and apply liberally to the chicken. You're looking for a nice thin even coating but this is not a time to be shy with the rub, some excess will fall off on it's own the picture below gives you a good idea what it should look like. 

The next step is to choose a beer, I tend to like lagers or lighter pale ales. For this time I used Notch Brewing Left of Dial IPA and it was killer. I purchased a beer can chicken stand off of amazon for about $7, to me it's totally worth it but you can pick these up a lot of place. After your chicken is covered in rub, heat your grill or smoker to 250 degrees. I use apple wood when smoking my chicken. Emtpy 1/2  of your beer into your mouth and then put the other half in your chicken with the spout facing up. As the can heats the beer will evaporate and make your chicken juicy and awesome.

Allow chicken to cook for 3-4 hours or until internal breast temp of around 165, I tend to pull mine off around 160 as it will keep cooking for a bit. It should look something like the pic below if you've done it right!

Once done take chicken off your smoker and remove the stand. Place in a tray and tent with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 mins. Slice and enjoy! This is my favorite chicken recipe and I hope you all enjoy it!

Vote for the Fall To Winter Fest Cider

Author // Jeff Wharton

For Fall to Winter Fest 2014 we're bringing in more hard ciders then ever before! We know we love cider, and showed that when we brought in Downeast Cider to our first beer fest back in 2012. We're happy that, over the years, our attendees have told us how much they love the ciders and want even more. Well, we're delivering!

This year, for Fall to Winter Fest, we're not just bringing you more cider than ever, we're working with Downeast Cider on the Official Fall to Winter Fest Cider! Even better? You get to vote on it below!

We're going to let you, the Drink Craft Beer audience, vote on what ingredients you'd like to nominate to be included in a special cider that Downeast will make ONLY FOR Fall to Winter Fest.

Then, we're going to comb through the list with the guys at Downeast, pick some top choices, and let you all vote on the final blend of ingredients! (NOTE: Nominations closed September 19, this is now final voting.)

So vote below to nominate for your favorite ingredient, then tell us what you picked on Twitter with hashtag #FTWFest, Facebook or in the comments below!

To get your tickets for Fall to Winter Fest on Friday, November 14th and Saturday, November 15th in Boston, featuring 25 of New England's best brewers and cider makers bringing 90+ craft beers and cider, go to the event page now!

VOTING ENDS at 5pm EST on Friday, October 3rd at 4pm EDT.

You can vote for more that 1 ingredient.

Smuttynose Smuttlabs Schmutzig Bavarian IPA [Beer Of The Week]

Author // Jeff Wharton

Years ago, Smuttynose Brewing quietly started what was then called the Short Batch Series, a series of draft only beers made once each in a small batch. There were a lot of winners in this, but one always stood out to me. I'm a well-known fan of hefeweizens and an obvious lover of hops. Their Schmutzig combined the yeasty goodness of a hefe with elegant hopping so that the two combined to form some sort of super beer.

Let me reiterate: I loved this beer. I literally wrote letters to Smuttynose owner Peter Egleston and Smuttynose head brewer Dave Yarrington. For real. I asked both of them if they could please add the beer just to the Big Beer Series line-up...I wasn't even being greedy and asking for seasonal or year-round lineup! If I remember correctly, I got two polite responses saying that they'd love into it. I figured that was that. And, for years, it was. Then I recently saw on Twitter that they'd be releasing Schmutzig as part of their Smuttlabs series (this is what the Short Batch Series became, just bottled as well as draft now), including in bottles! Cue excitement.

Needless to say, I picked some up and looked forward to drinking it. A light pour let me know I'd made the correct choice as a solid, but not overly voluminous, head puffed up, and the aromas of hops and banana esters filled my nose. Darker than many hefeweizens and cloudier than most IPAs, it's a bit befuddling on sight...but that smell! If you like these styles, this is one you've got to check out (it was still in the cooler at Smuttynose as of September 6, 2014). 

The taste is exactly as I remembered it, too. The bitterness is restrained, light even, while the flavor of the hefeweizen yeast and the hops blends together to form a spicy, herbal, barely citrusy combination of goodness. I had it with an Indian Salmon Curry Stew with tomato and onion chutney, and the creaminess of the stew went great with the beer, which helped to cut through. Needless to say, I was a happy camper and think that you should look out for this beer!

Want a chance to try some great beers from Smuttynose and other New England craft brewers? Then check out Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest in Boston, MA on November 14 & 15! 25 New England brewers and cider makers bringing over 90 craft beers and ciders. Get your tickets to Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest 2014 now!

Backlash Beer Resurrection Coffee Imperial Stout [Beer of the Week]

Author // Jeff Wharton

It's a story as old as craft beer: coffee plus imperial plus stout equals delicious. OK, well that's not always true, and it's far from as old as craft beer...but, that said, there is something about the way the deep roasted aromas of coffee play with the sweet, chocolaty tastes of imperial stout that make it, when done well, a match made in heaven. Although, when done badly, you'll get an overly dry, astringent beast. But Resurrection is definitely the former.

Made by Backlash Beer Co. out of Boston, MA, this isn't much of a surprise. They burst onto the scene a few years ago like a pair of brass knuckles to the jaw (check their logo). Starting out with high gravity Belgian style ales, they moved on to IPAs and have now put out an imperial coffee stout that I've already got my eye on for a Best of 2014.

Pitch black with a short, creamy head that suggests all the subtlety of Allston Christmas, you'll find that you can and can't judge a beer by its label. One whiff and you know there's a load of coffee in here that's just pent up and waiting to smack you in the face (this coming from a guy who drinks upwards of four cups of black coffee per day). Try it again, though, and you'll dodge that smack in favor of something more akin to the cocoa and cafe au lait that you'd find in a mocha. It's inviting.

On the first sip, you'll find a barely sweet, full bodied stout ripe and bursting with coffee goodness. If you don't like the black stuff (and I don't mean Guinness) then this might not be for you...but you never know! As it warms, you'll get a little but of enjoyable alcohol while the chocolate comes more to the front and the coffee continues to stay right in the middle. Honestly, this is one of those where it changes as you sit with it and evolves...bit it doesn't get worse. It's delicious throughout so I'd recommend finding a good, solitary night and sip it as you contemplate whatever it is that you do. Oh, and keep you eyes out for the barrel aged version I'm to by the Backlash Beer team!