Ubering Across America

Last year, Steve and I took a trip around America – a brewcation, if you will. I know we didn’t coin the phrase and that’s fine with me but we certainly explored it thoroughly. We visited 35 breweries/brew bars in 31 days. After landing in LA, we went north up the west coast as far as Seattle, then flew to Chicago, onto New York then down to New Orleans and San Diego then home.

Whilst visiting some of the finest craft breweries America has to offer, we played it safe and used Uber to get around. Tentatively titled ‘Ubering Across America’ I would like to use this project as a vehicle to address a range of issues. Each episode will follow us on our physical journey and talk about a greater theme. Today, I did some hands on research for one of the San Fransisco episodes.

Not far out of San Fransisco is Lagunitas Brewery. We stopped there just after they opened, before lunchtime if I recall. As Steve was driving on this particular leg, it was incumbent upon me to be chief taster. Along with the tasting paddle, we ordered a pretzel with beer cheese sauce. So I present to you a recipe for both below. As per usual, I can’t help but adapt recipes found online. I use a rye sourdough starter and leaven because the one I have is awesome. Most recipes I found were yeasted but I’m a complete sourdough convert.

Pretzel dough 

1 tbl rye starter

1/3 cup rye organic flour

1/3 cup warm water mix these and leave overnight

200ml flat beer

60g melted butter

½ tbl sugar

1 tsp salt

4 cups flour – white this amount is flexible depending on how the flour takes up liquid

Mix it all together, and let rest. Knead until smooth then rest again. Divide into 12-14 even balls.

Roll each ball into a thin rope of dough and shape into pretzels. Rest while you bring oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Bake for 12 minutes then switch to grill to colour them.

Beer cheese sauce

500ml beer – I used a home brew Belgian ale

500g cheddar – grated yourself

250g raclette – grated yourself

½ tsp mustard powder

½ tsp hot cayenne

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbl worcestshire sauce

5 tsp cornflour made into slurry

2/3 cup cream

Warm the beer, dissolve the spices and stir in cheese over medium heat. Once cheese is melted mostly, stir in cornflour slurry and whisk til smooth. Take off heat and stir in cream.

This makes a lot but it is totally worth it. Share with friends – they’ll be impressed.

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