Of Bones and Beer and Brussel Sprouts

This is a hip x-ray.  Why would I be showing a hip x-ray on a beer and whiskey blog?  Well, because it happens to mean a lot to Jim and I right now.  Our Mother who is now flying solo since Dad’s exit from this mortal coil in August, is in need of a new one… hip that is.  She has been bed ridden for the last month, and between Jim, myself, my son, my sister Stacy, and my Uncle she has had round the clock attention since late December.  It’s Jim’s turn now, and he has one of the hardest stints.  See Mom was in the middle of moving from Milwaukee, WI to Royal Oak, MI when this thing went out on her completely.

Since she was in the process of moving she had two choices, stay put in Wisconsin for the next 6 months while this is taken care of and rehabbed or stay the course and move, move all her care to MI, and have the operation up there.  She chose the latter.  It does make sense financially and for aftercare reasons, as her new place is only a couple blocks away from my sister Stacy.

So getting back to Jim, he is with her this week, coordinating doctor appointments, record transfers, moving trucks, and driving her and her dog up to Michigan.  If everything is going according to plan he is driving to Michigan today, probably as I type this.  Once there they will stay with my sister, and Jim will coordinate the move into the new place and begin to unpack.  Meanwhile we will try to get mom scheduled ASAP for hip replacement surgery.

I wanted to let everyone know why Jim is a little sparce around these parts for this week, although I just got off the phone with him, and he has a really cool beer story he will be posting later this week, so he won’t be non-existent.

I have managed to do a bit of drinking and moreover some cooking with beer this last week or so.  Actually I have cooked more with beer this week, and ever before, and lets just say the results have been stellar! First the beer…

Mendocino Brewing is a new brewery around these parts, although the brewery itself is almost 30 years old.  What initially drew me to them was their price point.  This 12 oz bottle of Oatmeal Stout only ran about $2.25.  I figured even if it was just ok, for that price I could afford to find out.  To my surprise it was better than ok, it was good.  It pours nice and dark with a tan head and a bit of froth that lingered throughout.

The mouthfeel was kind of medium bodied to light, and I was hoping for a little more viscosity than it had, but not unexpected for a lighter stout at 6% ABV and not a deal killer.  The flavor was all oatmeal stout!  It had the kind of grainy oatiness that you would expect that combined with the sweet maltiness of the stout for a very solid flavor.  My one problem with this beer was there was a bit of an astringent aftertaste, which is not uncommon for the style, but this was just a little more pronounced than I would have preferred.  I only drank about a half a bottle, and it was the kind of flavor that would most likely dissipate once your palate acclimated to it.  So overall I liked it.  Not out of this world, but a solid oatmeal stout.

Where this brew really shined was in cooking.  I made these brussel sprouts with this beer and they were fantastic!  Worthy of any 4 star restaurant IMHO.  These cooked up beautifully, and here is how I did it.

That afternoon I fried up about a half pound of bacon and crumbled it into bits.  I then cleaned and stemmed about 1.5 pounds of fresh brussel sprouts and cut them in half.  In a fry pan over medium heat I heated some olive oil and put the sprouts in and let them saute for about 4 or 5 minutes until they turned a bright green.

I then threw in the bacon crumbles and stirred them around.  Then I turned up the heat to about an 8 and let the pan get good and hot.  I then added about 2/3 cup of the oatmeal stout and covered the pan and let them steep in the sizzling beer for about 7 or 8 minutes until they got softish.  I then removed the cover and stirred them until the cut sides of the brussel sprouts turned a golden brown.

That was it.  I then ate them…almost all of them! They were fantastic.  Oh yeah, I also added a bit of fresh ground pepper and sea salt towards the beginning of the saute.  The sweetness of the beer counteracted the Brussel Sprout’s natural acrid flavor and made them delectable!

Later that week I used a Mendocino Imperial Stout to cook a Pork Shoulder for pulled pork, that my family is still raving about!  This is good solid beer, and great beers for cooking as it will not break the bank to cook with and imparts a ton of delicious flavor into your food.  What beer recipes do you have?  What was your favorite?


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40 Comments on “Of Bones and Beer and Brussel Sprouts”

  1. January 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Man, I hope the Beer & Whiskey mother recovers soon. My dad’s on his third hip (second artificial). So, I know these things can be difficult. Hang in there. You guys are doing the right and good thing of taking care of her. We’ll get by.

    BTW, I was about to share a video with you both to get your take as it’s stirring up some (minor) controversy elsewhere. Enjoy!

    • January 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      By “we” I meant your readers. 😉

      • Don
        January 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        Thanks Zac. Jim is pulling a big load this week. He actually went out and purchased a stroller type wheel chair that he has been pushing mom around in the last couple days, and has made her far more mobile. Just the thing for the move!

    • John King
      January 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      where is the controversy behind it?

      • Don
        January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

        Obviously its in the Banjo music!

        • John King
          January 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm #


      • January 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

        I think it’s great, but there are threads out there tearing it apart. The criticisms mainly are about commercialism disguised as art, exposed breasts are bad, creepy dude drags girl to the woods, hipsters drinking craft beer, drunken premarital sex, and drinking and driving. The banjo was just the tip of the iceberg.

        • Don
          January 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

          OK, I get the commercialism thing, but the rest? Give me a break. Who’s to say they aren’t married? I truly think it is the Banjo…gotta be!

        • John King
          January 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

          I missed exposed breasts? You mean cleavage right or do I have to watch more closely?

        • John King
          January 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

          I watched again. I love this movie.

        • Don
          January 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

          Yeah, that one slipped through the Vimeo censors, perhaps they aren’t as crazed about it as YouTube. I too love this movie…especially the freeze frame feature.

        • January 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

          Unfortunate use of slow-mo.

          I think I only saw one boob.

        • January 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

          I think it was supposed to be subtle, fellas. I missed it at first and just thought it was “implied”. Then I watched it again, because I enjoyed it. Still, it was not gratuitous in any way. It was a brief, sweet moment.

        • John King
          January 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

          it’s just re-assurance my wife needs to get a tattoo arm sleeve.

        • Don
          January 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

          Dragons and Skulls John…Dragons and Skulls!

        • January 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

          In other words a guy and his gal going out for an extended drive and being human? Hmmm…sounds pretty damn good to me–banjo incuded.

        • Don
          January 25, 2012 at 9:44 am #

          I know you just said the banjo thing to get my goat Wayne. I know you don’t like banjos…nobody does. 😉

        • January 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

          Nope Don, I do like banjos–especially when used to play Blue Grass.

          Its rather hypocritical of me as I don’t like C&W. I was overexposed to it as a kid–my Dad loved both and played them or Gospel exclusively on his various guitars, harmonicas, banjos, etc. Every night w/ dinner it was the Grand Ol’e Opry on the radio. I just can’t handle it.

        • Don
          January 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

          That’s funny Wayne, I like Bluegrass and don’t care for C&W too. Great minds. You know the best sound a banjo makes? When an accordion hits it at the bottom a a dumpster! 😉

  2. John King
    January 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Best of luck to your mother in the process, hope it all works out for the best! Although, it is nice without Jim sometimes…

    I’m cooking a big batch of chili tonight with a 2007 Avery Mephestopheles.

    • Don
      January 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

      That sounds great. I think that the Mephestopheles would be great with a steak! I also think it would be great in a chili as well. You using ground beef or a cut of meat? I would think that it would go very well with a chili that used stew meat!

      And yeah…less Jim can be a good thing too… 😉

  3. BeerBanker
    January 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Best of luck for your mom. We’re primary care for my mom-in-law, and it’s been an interesting road, to say the least.

    One question: WHY, OH GOD, WHY did you waste a perfectly lovely beer on something so viscerally WRONG as Brussel Sprouts ?!? My wife craved them when she was pregnant with each child and I would cook them for her and leave the house to avoid the smell..:)

    Mendocino has a nice red ale and also a couple variants on Pale Ales that are tasty too. And they’re quite available here in Atlanta. Odd that you’re just now seeing them…

    • Don
      January 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      I know that they are a well established brewery, but it just goes to show that craft beer in Idaho is still in its infancy. Yeah, brussel sprouts are an acquired taste. Either you love them or hate them. Not too many people are like my wife who can take or leave them. She did have a small serving and was very complimentary, but I’m pretty sure she was just being polite as she doesn’t really LOVE the sprout, and likes beer even less. I however could eat these until I died!

      • January 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

        A speedy recovery to your mother Don, the wife has had various knee surgeries, so I know how it goes.

        I can’t stand brussel sprouts either, but I do like asparagus, and spinach on occasion. I’ve read that a person’s predisposition to some green vegetables is actually genetic. People who hate them have a taste receptor that allows their taste buds detect a flavor that people who do like them don’t have. If one of your parents likes them and the other doesn’t, you could go either way, or like me, like some and not others.

        Now if they could just find the gene that makes people like craft beer over macro!

        • Don
          January 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

          I must have no sensors at all, because I have yet to find a vegetable that I don’t like, although I haven’t had a lot of the more exotic ones. Asparagus, Rutabaga, and Lotus Root are about the extent of my exotic veges and roots.

  4. January 24, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    Best wishes and a speedy recovery to your Mom, Don–I’ve done the broken hip thing, no fun at all.

    As for the sprouts recipe, sounds delicious! Sprouts is one of my favorite veggies, but then I enjoy bitter veggies like Belgian endive, dandelion greens, radicchio, etc. If you like rutabagas, try making some Rutamuss– a Swedish dish featuring Rutabagas and potatoes mashed together. Its simple but delish.

    The beer sounds good too. One of the beers featured in my Xmas gift case of micros was Breckinridge Oatmeal Stout–loved it! There were 2 Breckinridge brews in that case–the other being Vanilla Porter–both winners in my book. Breckinridge is now on my favorite breweries list (along w/ Wolavers & New Berlin.)

    As for using good beer for cooking, right on! I believe it was Graham Kerr who said “never cook w/ a wine you wouldn’t drink”–same goes for beer.

    • Don
      January 25, 2012 at 9:56 am #

      You know being a cave man would have sucked. I’m pretty sure Mom would have been Sabor Tooth Tiger food by now. I must say Rutamuss sounds gross. I may try it, but on the surface it doesn’t sound great. I’d love to try Breckinridge, but they aren’t here yet. The cool thing about this was you can cook with it with a clear conscious because it is very reasonably priced.

      • January 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

        If you like veggies you’ll love Rutamuss. Add a little butter and pepper–heaven! When I make it for dinner, that’s all I eat, till its gone.

        • Don
          January 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

          ok, so what is the percentage of Rutabaga to Potato?

        • January 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

          I do 50/50, but its just a matter of taste. In the British Isles they often do the same thing with turnips & taters. But Rutabagas (Swedes to our Euro subscribers) are sweeter and impart a nice color to the mix as well.

  5. January 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    I second those wishing your mother a speedy recovery.

    BOOBS?!? I missed boobs in slow motion? Drat.

    I love boobs, I mean I love brussel sprouts. I’ll have to try your method.

    • Don
      January 25, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      They were delicious Norm. Just hit the pause around 3:13 and you should see boobs!

      • January 25, 2012 at 10:50 am #

        What was delicious, the sprouts or the boobs? 😉

        • Don
          January 25, 2012 at 11:56 am #

          Take your pick! 🙂 I just realized how many more hits I would have got on this post if I called it “Of Bones, Beer, Brussel Sprouts, and Boobies!” But I didn’t know Zac was going to flood the site with Porn!

  6. January 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    Hope Momma Beer & Whiskey has a speedy recovery. And confession time: My name is Scott, and I like banjos.

    • Don
      January 25, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      Thanks Scott. I know you are lying about the banjo thing…good one! 😉

  7. January 30, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Sorry to hear about your mom. I saw the headline and was expecting a “Bill Nye”esque presentation on the bone healing properties of beer. And then you let me down. Beer has been linked to increased bone mineral density, i.e. stronger bones due to beer’s silicon content. Check it out:


    Dr. Bamforth and his team at UC Davis tested the different styles of beer for strongest silicon content and they determined the winner to be IPAs. So maybe you guys could work an IPA a day into your mom’s recovery, better yet a DIPA a day. Just don’t let her drink as much as you two

    • Don
      January 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

      Great idea Ryan, if she wasn’t already on a thousand other things! I’d be a bit worried about interactions. However this may explain why Mom has such bad joints, she never was a beer drinker…tsk, tsk.

  8. January 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    Hmm, well now at least we can heed the warning to our children “Drink your IPAs daily!” . Oh, and definite score on the vid and the boobies! Too bad masturbation isn’t correlated with bone health, but it isn’t correlated with bone un-health either (although if it was correlated with bone health it probably wouldn’t be an appropriate suggestion to one’s recovering mother):



  1. My Irrational Fear of Cooking with Beer | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - February 7, 2012

    […] one thing to waste a nice bottle of oatmeal stout by pouring it into a pan of brussels sprouts (lookin’ at you, Don!), it’s another thing to ruin a bunch of decent ingredients by pouring in a bottle of […]

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