The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook

CCB cover


This is a guest post by Kerry Knight, a true fan of craft beer.

Do you love craft beer? Do you love to cook?

Finally there is a cookbook that will combine those two passions – David Ort’s Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook. Grab yourself a cold one and let’s hit the kitchen.

The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook raises the bar on the role of beer in our culinary lives.” Now that is something I can get behind, the more quality beer in our lives the better. “Brews,” we are told, “even quality brews have for too long been relegated to the relative backwater of the barbecue and the baseball diamond.

David Ort shows us that there is a place for beer in every kind of dish, including meats and vegetables, noodles, ice cream, salads, seafood… ”Scrreeech! Backtrack. Did they just write, “Beer ice cream”? Yes they did. So we are going to have to check out that recipe for sure, especially since we are really into ice-cream lately.

Banana Hefeweisen custard

Banana Hefeweisen custard

Ort is a well-known Toronto food, beer and wine journalist, having written for, among other publications, Toronto,
and his own site, Food with Legs. And this, his first cookbook, is a tidy little labour of love that landed in the Globe and Mail’s top twenty cookbooks of the year.

Fun fact: the food styling in the cookbook is by Chef Rossy Earle, the woman behind the super addictive Supicucu hot sauce line.

In his introduction, David defines many of the various types of beers, lagers, pilsners, ales, porters and stouts, pale ales, witbiers and so on. Since he provides a recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that utilizes spent barley he discusses spent grains–what they are and where to get your hands on some–and he tackles defining what Craft Beer actually means.

Once all the factors are considered–annual output, whether the company is local and or privately owned, the use of cereal adjuncts and so forth, Ort concludes that:

“…it’s a fairly subjective question: craft is craft because it tastes good. It’s made by brewers who care first about flavour rather than just consistency, cost or marketability–and who would choose to drink their own product. It’s beer that doesn’t need gimmicky advertising to distinguish it from competitors. Most of all it’s full flavoured and delicious.”

Indeed, it seems pretty obvious that Brownies made with a dark imperial stout such as Granville Island’s Lions Winter Ale will undoubtedly be more delicious than a brownie made with Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Brussels and Mussels with  Deliverance Saison

Brussels and Mussels with Deliverance Saison

The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook includes a great mix of recipes, from onion rings to chicken liver pate, from sweet and sour beer nuts to tabbouleh. Why soak the bulgar in water when you can soak it in Belgian witbier? Write about what you know, they say. David definitely knows his Canadian craft beers and he knows his way around a kitchen. This book is proof of that.

Oatmeal Stout Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream – David Ort

Makes 1 litre.

1 1/3 cups oatmeal stout, such as St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp Kosher salt
4 oz good quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into chip sized pieces


  1. Pour half the stout into saucepan and heat over medium heat, simmer until reduced by half. Pour reduced beer back with un-reduced; you should have 1 cup in total
  2. Beat yolks and sugar together until light in colour and fall from the beater in ribbons
  3. Heat cream and milk until 180 F. Add to egg mixture slowly, in small amounts, beating until each addition is combined. (you don’t want to scramble the eggs!)
  4. Return to low heat, until temperature reaches 180F, or custard coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and strain. Whisk in beer, honey and salt.
  5. Refrigerate for at least eight hours before using ice-cream maker. Follow ice cream maker’s instructions. Fold in chocolate chunks at end of churning and freeze in 1 litre tub.

Now imagine a big scoop of this on a piece of warm gingerbread made with Mill Street Coffee Porter. Almost makes you want to buy the book, doesn’t it?

Read more of Kerry’s cookbook reviews at SwallowDaily

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