As promised! The very exciting, long awaited collaboration post (part 1 of 2) featuring chef Ryan Santos. This beer vinegar business might sound a little crazy (even for me), but I swear to you it is so easy even a not-so-bright child can do it. Of course, don’t let the child drink the beer. Ok? Ok.
I first met Ryan at one of his dynamite pop-up dinners, Arts and Lettuce. For those of you who have never heard about them, the dinners have been featured in City Beat, 513 Eats (gorgeous photos!), not to mention the Cincinnati Enquirer. Oddly enough, I happened to be at the dinner the night that the Enquirer photographer was there aaand might’ve ended up in the newspaper. Crazy. Since then, Ryan and I have met up a few times to hang out and talk all things beer and food. You can tell he is incredibly passionate about his craft and will most certainly be going places in Cincinnati and beyond. So a collaboration post sounded awesome to me, and luckily, Ryan thought so too! Initially I was a little skeptical about the beer vinegar, thinking hm, maybe this is too weird. He assured me that it was super easy (which it is), so we went with it and boy am I glad we did.
For this particular vinegar, Ryan wanted to use an IPA style beer and both of us felt that it was important to showcase a local brew. So we asked ourselves, what is the best local IPA? We sought out the advice of fellow beer lovers and found the vast majority of people, including myself, came to the conclusion that 50 West Brewing’s Coast to Coast IPA was superior. You might remember my Beer Diary post about 50 West (which you can also access via the 50 West press page). The short of it is, 50 West is making some kick ass beers, AND as of the beginning of March they are serving up some delicious food too! Hubby and I have been twice already since then and both times we were blown away. Favorites include The CAB (cheddar, apple, bacon) sliders, Spicy California Roll Salad, and Shrimp ‘n Grits. YUM!
How to Make Beer Vinegar
First you will need a growler of beer, unpasteurized vinegar, and cheese cloth.
1) Buy a growler of your favorite beer or any beer you would want to turn into vinegar (can be anything), and a large bottle (more than 16 oz) of a raw, unpasteurized vinegar. Ryan typically buys Bragg apple cider vinegar, which is easy to find at Whole Foods.
2) Pour out a pint of the beer (16 oz), and enjoy! Mmm, delicious beer.
3) Pour 16 oz of your vinegar into the growler where the beer used to be. No need to measure, just re-fill to where the beer was.
4) Tie cheese cloth over the top of your growler, as pictured below. Store in warm-ish place above 65 degrees so the vinegar can do its thing. You might consider a location that you don’t mind smelling a little funky for 3 months.
In about a month and a half – 3 months you can taste the vinegar and see how it’s doing! You can age the vinegar for as long as you think it needs. Filter the vinegar into bottles, leaving 16 oz for the next batch. If you want to keep the process going, buy another growler, pour out a pint for you, and pour a pint of your newly made beer vinegar in. As you do this, the vinegar will be more and more beer-based, and should therefore keep more of the delicious IPA flavor. If you find yourself overwhelmed with tons of vinegar, it would make an awesome gift, or just a random surprise for friends! Mental note to self.
So, there you have it folks! Easy as pie, or pouring beer, I guess. Ryan was not joking. Starting in June, his dinners will simply be referred to as “Please,” and will be held out at Carriage House Farm. All of the food will be locally sourced from the farm. I can’t wait to check these dinners out! To get updates on Please and all of Ryan’s awesome doings, check out their Facebook page.
Oh! Don’t forget to check back in for the final recipe, featuring the Coast to Coast vinegar. Since Ryan is at the helm, you know it is going to be so, so good. The best way to stay connected to LBLF is to subscribe! You can do this by typing your email address in the top right where it says “Be the first to hear about new LBLF goodness!” and click “sign me up for email updates.” Easy enough. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, because I am clearly obsessed with social media, Pinterest too!