In our tiny kitchen we (Tall Dark & Handsome & myself) make over 2 dozen varieties of preserves on a regular basis but the thing we are most well known for and get the most questions about is our Vermont Beer Jelly.
Beer Jelly? How did you come up with that?? Long story short, it was one very long winter, I was addicted to canning and I ran out of fruit!
Short story long, Tall Dark & Handsome and I moved to Vermont so that he could attend Vermont Law School. I was an out of work archaeologist with a serious food hobby. Cooking up a storm, I started thePotlicker as a food blog in 2009. Along the way we fell in love with Vermont and the food ways & I became addicted to canning. The canning pot never left the stove and I turned everything I could pick, purchase, and grow into preserves.
One very long winter and a late night of canning I ran out of fruit to turn into jam. I turned to my fridge and cabinets which may have been void of fruit but were reasonably well stocked with the basics like beer, wine, & booze (priorities!). I knew of wine jelly and quickly whipped up some Rosemary Garlic Chablis wine jelly after adapting a recipe from the Ball Blue Book (aka: the canning bible).
Totally thrilled with the result, I immediately knew I needed to make a beer jelly because I like the taste of beer over wine. I had never heard of beer jelly and as a craft beer lover it was (and still is!) important to me to make an unadulterated beer jelly that actually looks and tastes like beer, not spices or apples (not that these are not tasty, just not what I was aiming for). Initially I was so enamored with the idea of the jelly looking like a perfectly poured beer that for a while I even ladled a bit of jelly foam into each jar because the foam created the head on the beer.
(Jelly foam is a by-product of the jelly process (less so with jam). For a long time I saved every bit of jelly foam because I love the springy mousse like texture. I still swipe a bite of Razz-weizen jelly foam every time we make it! It reminds me of raspberry mousse.)
Eventually after canning everything in sight for months I had a cabinet full of jars at home and I was still an out of work archaeologist. So I packed up my canning and a bit of baking and went to market. People loved and were intrigued by the bizarre flavors I made for myself but the beer jelly really stole the show. It was the first thing to sell out and I thought “Maybe I’m onto something.” So I just followed the path as it opened in front of me.
The first summer of farmers markets I made jams & pickles, boiled peanuts & fruitcakes (no joke! These are amazing!! Check out my recipe here). We even harvested blackberries from our yard to take to market. The clear winner over and over again was beer jelly. Just the words stopped people in their tracks. Even the reluctant and picky tried something new (or strange) when they stepped under my tent.
Today we still make awesome fruit jams and pickles but our Vermont Beer Jelly is our most popular line of flavors. We use Vermont beer 1) because Vermont beer is AMAZING and 2) it’s what is closest to us. Since the beer is produced relatively close to us, purchasing locally helps to support our neighbors and keeps our overall foot print smaller.
One question we get asked all the time is “What does beer jelly taste like??” Well it tastes like the beer it’s made with! An India Pale Ale lover will notice the distinct flavor profile of an IPA delivered in sweet spreadable form. Heaven on a spoon!
The second most asked question is “But what to do with it?” If you don’t want to eat it with a spoon, cook with it! Try serving beer jelly on a cheese platter, baked into muffins, or over a roast in the crock-pot. Think of beer jelly as a cooking preserve.
Here is a round-up of some favorite recipes to use beer jelly. You can find even more recipes by using the search box or tag cloud on the home page.
Drooling now? Sorry! I think we can fix that! Get some beer jelly for yourself & friends by ordering from us at PotlickerKitchen.com
*We primarily use Vermont beer but we will make you a special batch with any beer or wine as long as we can get our hands on it. While we make a limited amount of jelly with hard to find beers we try to use beers that are widely available because rare beers are just that, rare. As craft beer drinkers ourselves, when we get hold of a rare beer we tend to drink them 😉