Beer + food pairing #12: Berliner Weisse and Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

I’m a firm believer in the “Hair of the Dog” cure for a hangover. You need to replenish your body with salt, sugar, water and more beer. There’s a meme that claims the human body is 90% water, so we are basically just cucumbers with anxiety. This is untrue, the human body is around 60% water so maybe we drink beer to try to reach the higher consciousness of an anxious cucumber but we never quite get there.

I found this cucumber beer quite extraordinary the first time I tried it. I kept imagining I was having a Hendricks gin and tonic rather than beer (which is probably a good way to approach drinking sour beers if you haven’t tried them before). The Berliner Weisse is a cloudy, white, sour beer style from (you guessed it) Northern Germany. It is typically 3-4% alcohol. It was the most popular style at one point in the 19th Century Berlin, and was commonly flavoured with fruit syrups. I think this cucumber version is probably better, in fact right now I think it is the best beer in the world.

To cure your hangover, and improve your life in general, try this pairing:

#12 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy Berliner Weisse + Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tsp sugar, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • red chilli flakes
  • coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)
  • you’ll probably want 2 cans of this amazing beer

Method:

  1. Wash the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthways
  2. Place a tea towel under your chopping board, then place the cucumbers flesh side down and use a knife to gently press or smash the cucumbers to release the seeds and some juice
  3. Cut them into rough pieces around 2cm long/wide
  4. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer over a large bowl. Sprinkle in some sugar and salt, then mix this through and leave them to drain. Place a saucer on top to press them down, and put them in the fridge for around 30 mins.
  5. Mix the sugar and salt into the rice vinegar. Then add the sesame oil and soy sauce.
  6. Take the drained cucumbers from the fridge and put them in a mixing bowl, then mix through the olive oil. Add half the garlic, half the vinegar mix, and a pinch of chilli flakes. Taste, then keep seasoning until you find a balance you like. I used the full amount of seasoning but I think it’s wise to add half at a time. You may like to add more salt. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Eat and rejuvenate!

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Beer + food pairing #12: Berliner Weisse and Chinese Smashed Cucumbers

Beer + food pairing #11: Salt water gose and seaweed popcorn

I’m not sure if I made a healthier version of popcorn or not, but the addition of kale and seaweed ticks a couple of boxes (vote Green, I love you). I got the kale powder from the health food section of the supermarket, which I accidentally stumbled into while searching for popcorn that didn’t come in a microwave bag. I wanted to make a popcorn mix that wasn’t too heavy and could be an appetizer/light snack before a meal.

It took me a couple of fails before I nailed the perfect beer to go with this one, but as soon as I saw this little silver can with its beaming yellow beacon I knew it was the one. It would be perfect after/during a day at the beach and if you can’t get to the beach then bring the sea to your lips and your hips with this salty seaweed popcorn pairing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/3 cup popping corn
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp kale powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 sheets Yaki Nori (roasted seaweed)

Method:

  1. Pop the corn as per instructions on the packet.
  2. Mix the salt, kale powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then cut the seaweed sheets into narrow strips and tear them into pieces. Mix the seaweed pieces into the salt mix, coating them thoroughly.
  3. Once the popcorn is popped and cooled a little, mix through the salt and kale mix.
  4. Pair this with Piha Salt Water Gose, although be warned you will probably want more than one can.

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Beer + food pairing #11: Salt water gose and seaweed popcorn