Craft rarebit

About nine months ago, I wrote about a subscription service called Beer52. The idea is simple: you pay money, they send you beer.

More specifically, you pay £24 a month and they send eight ‘craft’ beers in a natty little box, direct to your door. And if you use my code, then you can get a no commitment first box for just £14. BARGAIN.

Well, whilst I risk repeating myself, I’m going to highlight their service again AND provide a new £10 off code. You should totally take advantage. Head to the site, place and order and use ‘RS3’ as your discount code. A little cash comes back my way if you do; it’s basically the same as each of us buying a round.

I’ve been most impressed with Beer52, and a number of you who took up the original offer have been in contact to say the same. The beers are varied and on the whole pretty good; the quality of ‘craft’ beer continues to rise and this company seems to be well placed to present us with an ever-changing selection of decent ones. My latest delivery contained just one that I was familiar with (Brewdog IPA), three characterful Spanish fellas; a London porter (from Perth); a dry hopped Weisse beer from Derby; a punchy double IPA from Shropshire; and an intriguing floral (camomile [sic]) beer from Hull. As a Londoner, I appreciated the exposure to these new beers. All went down well.

Indeed, the best thing to do with beer is drink it…

… but it can work as an ingredient too. So here’s a recipe to round off this post.

You can use beer in batters and breads. It works well as part of a brine, too (see my last Beer52 post). On this occasion, though, I decided to incorporate some beer into my cheese on toast.

Welsh rarebit – that wonderful, beer, mustard and Worcestershire sauce loaded cheese topping – usually involves a dark beer, maybe even a stout. But the chamomile infused ale mentioned above really intrigued me.

On tasting it, I figured it would make a good, lighter than usual but still characterful rarebit. Something overly hopped (many of the new wave IPAs) would be too bitter, but this beer is part malted wheat, part roast barley. So a kind of amber ale. Along with that chamomile florality, there’s a sweetness that proved very pleasant at lunch time.

Obviously you don’t have to seek this exact beer for the recipe, but perhaps have a go with another amber style ale.

Craft rarebit and beer

Craft rarebit

Makes two generous servings

  • 2 big slices of sourdough. Toasted twice.
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 175g amber style craft beer (drink the rest whilst cooking)
  • 130g grated cheese – I went for 30g double Gloucester, 70g extra mature cheddar, 30g parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon English mustard

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Warm the beer in another.

Add the flour to the melted butter and (still over a low heat) beat together with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula. Cook out for 3-5 minutes – it’ll thin a little.

Pour the beer into the butter and flour ‘roux’. Just a dash at first. Then increase the volume so you’re done in about 5-6 pours, beating the roux constantly and (each time) incorporating all the beer before pouring in the next bit.

Add the grated cheese and melt into the beer-roux paste. Again, beat until smooth. Then add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce, making sure both are well mixed in.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes or more.

Meanwhile, double toast your bread and turn your grill on.

Spread the rarebit mix (which has stiffened as it cooled) on the toast – about 1cm thick. Stick this under the grill for a good five minutes. When you think it’s browning, keep going. Then keep grilling a bit longer.

Top with a dash more of Worcestershire sauce and enjoy. Goes well with beer …