For those of you who didn’t know, I love the Harry Potter series. Are there people who love HP more than I? Of course. Are there those who love it less? Most certainly, because I love it a great deal. In fact, here is a chart, describing my love for HP as it compares to others’:
1. Pope Benedict was known to have opposed the Harry Potter novels.
2. Cartman ridicules HP fans in Season 6, Episode 13, “The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers.”
3. Matt and MC were married in 2010, and she converted him to HP.
(I don’t have a link to prove this, so you’ll just have to believe me.)
Anywhoozles, In honor of the recent release of the latest J.K. Rowling publication, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I decided that this week, I wanted to try to make butterbeer. I took to the Interwebs to find some guidance, but most of the recipes I found did not include beer at all. So of course, I immediately decided that it would be my mission to find a craft beer that could be mixed into a recipe for butterbeer and still taste delicious.
Now here’s a message for all the purists out there. I know what you’re thinking, and I acknowledge your inevitable reaction:
“Butter in beer? That’s an off flavor. Ew, I hate this idea! This is going to be terrible! Why would you want to ruin a perfectly good beer by mixing it with butterscotch syrup?!”
Woah, woah woah. Firstly, try to remember that butterbeer is a magical, fictional drink taken from a children’s book (arguably HP is also for adults, but I digress), and I am just having a bit of nostalgic fun, reliving the joys of being a teenager in the late 90s. Secondly, I always approach this blog with a spirit of experimentation and discovery. Thirdly, I am in no way forcing you to make this recipe. This being said, if you hate this idea, let me know in the comments! Alternatively, if you love it feel free to comment below, too; I welcome all criticism, positive and negative.
Since I am not much of a baker or recipe-inventor myself, I (heavily) based my butterbeer recipe on one that I found on a lovely blog called Bakingdom. Blog author and Harry Potter enthusiast Darla created a delicious butterbeer concoction with rum, which I would also recommend trying if you like that spirit. I took her recipe, and replaced the rum with beer. But what beer to use?
I spent some time experimenting with a few varieties of beer for this recipe:
Middle Brow’s Robyn, a Belgian blonde ale (6.9% ABV)
OK remember a minute ago, when you asked why I would ruin a perfectly good beer by mixing it with butterscotch syrup? Yeah, that’s exactly what happened here. The butterscotch and the yeasty esters of Robyn got into a huge fight in my glass, and the mixture ended up tasting bitter and kind of angry. I dumped this mixture and finished the rest of my Robyn, sans butterscotch.
Revolution’s Cross of Gold, a Belgian golden ale (5% ABV)
This one was almost a win. Almost. The butterscotch syrup complimented the front of this beer really well, but the slightly hoppy finish amplified the sickly sweetness of the butterscotch and caused an unpleasant, bitter finish.
Ballast Point’s Pumpkin Down, a pumpkin-scotch ale (5.8% ABV)
The Ballast Point pumpkin was actually pretty good, and complimented the butterscotch well, but having tasted Universal Orlando’s rendition of (non-alcoholic) butterbeer, this was too pumpkin-pie like and slightly overpowered the butterscotch flavor. I’d say if you’re having a Harry Potter-themed Halloween party, this one would do the trick.
Well’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale, a traditional English ale with a twist (5% ABV)
This beer was malty, light, and semi-sweet on its own, but the addition of the butterscotch syrup actually seemed to enhance the “sticky toffee pudding” part of the ale. This one was decidedly the winner, and the fact that it comes from a UK brewery made it the perfect fit. On to the recipe!
Butterbeer (with Beer) Topped with Cream
(This recipe is for two, 16 ounce servings. Scale up or down as needed.)
The Cream Topping
(You’ll use this as both a topping and an ingredient in the drink itself, so make this first.)
• 1 tablespoon clarified butter (optional)
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 6 tablespoons white sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. This step is optional, if you want to include butter in your cream. Melt the tablespoon of butter. You can do this on the stove top on low heat, or in the microwave. Once it’s completely melted, use a spoon to scoop the milk solids off of the top of the melted butter’s surface. The milk solids will look like little white clusters floating on the butter’s surface. (This is the quick and dirty way to clarify butter. There are more complicated and technically correct ways of doing this, so feel free to use another, better method.) Put the butter aside in the fridge to cool.
2. Pour two cups of heavy whipping cream into a mixing bowl, and mix the cream on medium high until small peaks begin to form.
3. Add the 6 tablespoons of sugar, and continue to mix the cream until the cream begins to stiffen.
4. Add the vanilla extract and the clarified butter and mix in until the cream is thick.
5. Your cream is ready to use in the next portion of the recipe!
• 12 oz IBC Cream Soda (will use 6 oz per beverage)
• 12 oz Well’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale (6 oz per beverage)
• 2 teaspoons Smucker’s Butterscotch Syrup (1 teaspoon per beverage)
• 4 tablespoons cream topping (2 tablespoons per beverage)
• a sprinkle or two of ground nutmeg
1. Into two pint glasses, put 1 teaspoon of butterscotch syrup into the bottom of each glass.
2. Into the same two pint glasses, put two tablespoons of cream topping into the bottom of each glass.
3. Gently pour 6 ounces of IBC Cream Soda into each pint glass, on top of the syrup and cream. Gently stir together until the butterscotch syrup and cream have mostly dissolved.
4. Pour 6 ounces of the Well’s ale into each pint glass, and stir gently to mix.
5. Add 2 tablespoons of cream topping to the top of each pint glass. (Feel free to add more or less to your liking.)
6. Add a sprinkle of ground nutmeg to the cream topping on each glass, and your butterbeer is ready to serve!
Now get out your wands, lumos maxima the party lights, and congure up your patronus because your butterbeer is ready to drink. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. It’s pretty noms as a dessert drink, even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan.
Cheers, and mischief managed.