Learn how to homebrew


[Editors Note: We'd like to welcome Amie as our newest writer to the site! Amie is a good friend of ours happens to be both a fantastic photographer as well as an excellent baker. While having a BBQ at a friends recently Amie dipped one of her chocolate chip cookies into her glass of Lefthand Nitro. Instantly a smile appeared on her face and soon we were all doing the same. At that moment we asked her, hey could you make the cookies with Milk Stout? In our mind it would make the best milk and cookies ever, and so she did! We're excited to have Amie on board and hope you enjoy her first recipe.]

What better combination is there than cookies and milk? The answer: cookies and milk stout! I modified one of my favorite chocolate chip recipes to include the roasty flavors of Left Hand Milk Stout. I chose this particular milk stout, but any kind will do. One tip I am now a firm believer of when baking anything is to use pure vanilla extract. None of this imitation stuff! Trust me, the first time you bake with the real stuff, you'll notice the difference. 

They came out great — a little lighter than regular cookies and full of flavor. Paired with a milk stout (or just a glass of milk if your'e in the mood), they're a great dessert option. 

Milk Stout Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 bottles Left Hand Milk Stout
2 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. fine sea salt
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar plus 3 tbsp.
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large egs
2 c. chocolate chips

1. First, reduce the beer down until you have 1/3 c. left. (This takes a little while) Make sure to simmer the beer, without boiling, until it cooks down. After you remove it from the heat, stir in 3 tbsp. granulated sugar until dissolved. Set aside. 

2. Preheat oven to 375º. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (Or, I love using Silpat liners. They totally save your baking sheets!) 

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and fine sea salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. 

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl, mixing it in a little at a time. Alternate the flour mixture with the reduced beer until it's fully incorporated. The batter will be a bit airier than normal cookie dough. 

5. My batter seemed a little thin, so I added an additional 2 tbsp. flour, then stirred. Once mixed, stir in the chocolate chips.

6. Use a uniform scoop (I used a tablespoon) to drop balls of dough onto the baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set and golden.

There has been a long time dispute over a true traditional Irish stew.  Some will tell you that it is made with only mutton and potatoes.  Others will tell you that some aromatics should be involved such as carrots, celery and onions.  This recipe will make both sides roll their eyes but make their taste buds go crazy.

I chose to use Shipyards Blue Fin Stout, a craft beer with similar qualities to an Irish stout.  It has a dry finish with a slight hop bitterness and a medium roast that gives the stew a great color. Mushrooms deliver a solid earthiness and the golden brown parmesan and potatoes add a crispy crust.  I chose to use corned beef for this recipe but any tough piece of meat that will break down and tenderize over time will work. This is a great dish for a St Patrick’s day party or any occasion.

Serves 8


2 Tbsp Oil
1 Shallot, small dice
½ Spanish onion, medium dice
1 Leek (White part only) medium dice
4 Stalks celery, medium dice
2 Portobello mushroom caps stemmed, medium dice
6 Cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 Lbs prepared corned beef, medium dice
2 12 oz bottles Shipyard Blue Fin Stout
2 oz Tomato paste
1 Qt beef stock
2 Tbsp Fresh thyme, chopped
2 Bay leaves
2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pint half and half
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ tsp Fresh nutmeg
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley

For the Stew

Heat oil in cast iron pan.  Add first 4 ingredients and cook for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add mushrooms and stir frequently until lightly browned.  Stir in corned beef and brown.  Deglaze pan with beer and reduce by half.  Stir in thyme, bay leaf and tomato paste and blend in with beer.  Add beef stock and simmer for about 1 hour.  Season with salt and pepper.  When done remove bay leaf.

For the potatoes

Place potatoes in a pot and ad enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook until

fork tender.  Meanwhile in a separate pan bring butter and half and half to a simmer.  Strain potatoes and add to a blender with a whisk.  turn on low and slowly add cream mixture.  Once potatoes are whipped stir in salt pepper and nutmeg.

Bread Crumbs

Add bread crumbs to a baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.


Add cooled potatoes to a piping bag with a star tip.  Pipe potatoes on top of the stew all the way around until fully covered.  Top with parmesan cheese and broil until cheese becomes golden brown.  Top with bread crumbs and fresh parsley and serve from the cast iron pan.

The weather has been wacky, sometimes downright warm, but I'm still craving winter comfort food. And nothing says comfort food to me more than Eastern European food. Using that as an inspiration, here’s my latest recipe, Schnitzel with Headwall Dumplings. I've hiked Tuckerman’s Ravine only once, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drank Tuckerman’s beer.  Their Headwall Alt, a brown ale with German malts and hops, became a perfect component for my homemade dumplings.  The traditional water and milk used to make dumplings are replaced with the beer and cottage cheese. The dumplings are then boiled, pan-seared and tossed in a stone ground mustard brown ale sauce.  Serve them with a golden brown schnitzel, braised red cabbage and cranberries.  Lingonberries are as plentiful in eastern Europe as cranberries are in New England, so I thought they would make a great replacement.  Feel free to use pork, chicken or whatever you like as a substitute to the veal cutlet.

If you have never experienced Lamb Jam, I suggest you order your tickets for next year in advance.  I recently went to the third annual sold-out event at the Charles Hotel, put on by the American Lamb Foundation and featuring 18 chefs from all over the Boston area (don’t worry, other cities get in on the magic, too.) At each regional Lamb Jam, chefs make their favorite lamb dish and compete against each other in hopes to go on and win in the national finals.  At Boston’s event there were also local craft breweries such as Mayflower, Cape Ann Brewing and Ipswitch brewering, as well as butchery demonstrations.

Two of my favorite dishes this year were beignets stuffed with lamb, Vermont cheese and blood orange sauce (everyone was calling it a “lamb jelly donut,” which sounds significantly weirder and less appetizing); and lamb crepes with harra sauce.  All this lambtasticness sparked the next idea for a new recipe: Marinated Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Pumpernickel Porter Reduction Sauce.

I decided to use a beer that I had at the event,  Ipswich 5 Mile Pumpernickel Rye Porter, as the star of this dish.  It’s a complex beer with locally grown rye and chocolate malts.  I chose a tasty lamb rib chop to stand up to this robust beer.  A simple marinade works for the lamb; you don’t need to add too much to it because it already has such a great flavor. Accompanying the lamb is a Belgian-style root vegetable mash.  I was at the Somerville Farmers’ Market this past week and Winter Moon Roots Farm from Hadley, MA had such a wonderful selection of root vegetables. This mash is a healthier version of a mashed potato, but still savory and comforting enough for the winter months. Holding the dish all together is caramelized fennel.  Fennel is a wonderful, refreshing and in-season vegetable, and brings a nice sweetness to the dish.  Finally, the sauce is sweet syrup consisting of reduced pomegranate juice and condensed beer, which really brings out the roasted flavors of rye and pumpernickel.

Enjoy this restaurant-quality dish in the comfort of your own home. And go buy yourself an extra bottle of 5 Mile Pumpernickel Rye Porter while you’re at it, because you’re going to save yourself some serious change!

-Chef John

Lamb Marinade

4 Lamb Chops
2 oz Olive Oil
Lemon Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp Fresh Thyme

Caramelized Fennel
1 Bulb Fennel Cut in 4 quarters then slice thin
2 oz Olive Oil
2 oz 5 Mile Porter

Belgian Root Mashed
2 Carrots    Peeled and chopped   
1 Parsnip    Peeled and chopped
1 bulb Celery Root    Peeled and chopped
2 lbs Potato    Peeled and chopped 
1 leek (white park only) Chopped and washed   
4 Bay Leaves
5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme 
3 tbsp Sour Cream       

Pomegranate Pumpernickel Sauce
Lemon Juice ½ lemon
1 cups Pomegranate Juice
1 tbsp Sugar
10 oz 5 Mile Porter

Preparation and Serving
Marinate lamb with fresh thyme, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.  Marinate for at least 2 hours.

To make sauce
Add pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in pot  and reduce on medium heat to 1/4 cup.  About 40 minutes

Reduce 10oz porter to 4oz and then add 3 tablespoons of pomegranate syrup to beer and cook til dissolved.

To make mashed
Add 1st 7 ingredients for mashed in pot and add water just up to the top of the vegetables.  Boil until tender.  Discard thyme and bay leaves. Do not drain the water

Add sour cream, salt and pepper and then mash using a whisk.

To make caramelized fennel
Add fennel to hot pan with oil and cook for 20- 30 minutes or until caramelized.  Add beer and reduce and finish with salt and pepper.

To make lamb
Pan sear or grill lamb chop on medium high heat.  5 minutes per side or until medium rare 120 degrees*.

First add caramelized fennel to center of plate.  Then add mashed on top of fennel.  Finally add grilled chop then drizzle with pomegranate pumpernickel syrup.  Add sprig of thyme for garnish.

*Consuming raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, shellfish and eggs may increase your risk of food borne illness