During my third year of university I decided to doom my current and future financial security by moving to Prague for a semester. Although I couldn’t appreciate it then, I was in the middle of some of the best beer at the cheapest prices. This year, along with my friends from the program, I decided that having finally graduated it would be a good time to return. Because, you know, now I could afford the $4 beers instead of the $1 beers. Well, one doesn’t go to Eastern Europe in the fall and not stop in at Oktoberfest in Munich.
Thanks to the hospitality of Calgary’s own Wild Rose Brewery, I left for the festival well equipped with beer knowledge. In addition to giving us a tour of their facilities, Naddine and I were also able to interview their brewers and try their beer. A very informative and delicious afternoon that we captured on tape for you. If you missed the episode you can listen to our podcast. Wild Rose tours are also opened to the general public, for more information visit their website. If you’re more interested in enjoying beer than learning about it, Wild Rose beers are available across Calgary in liquor stores and at many bars. My favourite is the Velvet Fog. Just saying.
Having captured our tour for your listening pleasure, in addition to the great interviews we did with beer lovers for last week’s episode, I decided we should conclude our mini series on beer with a segment from Oktoberfest. After all, Oktoberfest is the Mecca for beer. I called the studio from the famous Hippodrome tent after having eaten enough roasted meat to keep Bavarian hunters in business for years to come, and having drank enough beer to fill two 1 litre steins. Naddine would like me to stress that it was two litres of beer I had consumed by the time of calling, and the intention of this trip was purely recreational, lest you think we’re unprofessional. For those of you who don’t want to spend your hard earned vacation time in a state of beer and roast chicken induced coma, I took some pictures so you can see what you’re missing.
What are your thoughts on craft beer? Did you learn anything new from these episodes, or are you still devoted to your favourite brand of fizzy yellow?
Since we shared a beer recipe last week, this week I’d like to offer a recipe that just pairs well with the drink.
Bratwurst with apples, onions, and sauerkraut from Epicurious
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon Wondra flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups sauerkraut (preferably fresh), rinsed, drained, squeezed dry (from one 32-ounce jar)
- 1 large onion (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 large Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
- 6 whole smoked bratwurst (about 1 pound), pierced all over with skewer
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Pumpernickel bread or whole grain
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°F. Place caraway seeds and fennel seeds in small resealable plastic bag. Crush seeds with mallet. Add flour and pepper to bag; shake to blend. Spread sauerkraut over bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle 1/3 of flour mixture over. Arrange onion slices over; sprinkle with half of remaining flour mixture, then lightly with salt. Spread half of apple slices over, then sprinkle with remaining flour mixture. Place bratwurst over apples, then arrange remaining apple slices around bratwurst. Tuck in bay leaves. Mix broth, vermouth, and ketchup in measuring cup. Pour broth mixture evenly over. Cover tightly with foil.
Roast bratwurst 45 minutes. Uncover; brush with melted butter. Roast uncovered until edges of apples and sausages begin to brown, about 25 minutes longer. Serve with bread.