I'll admit I get a little geeked out when I see an unfamiliar beer bottle label sporting the floaty red owl, signifying a Hitachino that I haven't tried. I'm already an ardent fan of the white ale, and the espresso stout fully occupies the lower shelf of my wine cooler.
The sweet baby I found was the Real Ginger Brew. I can take or leave "ginger beer" when it means a super spicy gingery soda pop, but this promised to be "beer brewed with ginger," something for the big kids.
I cracked one while I was making some ahi poke, and it was a knockout. The coppery beer is a beautiful balance of flavors. The ginger comes in right at the front but doesn't kill you with spiciness or sweetness, it just rather floats throughout, balancing out the bite. Each sip hit me in the nose as well as the mouth. With the ponzu-lovin' ahi, it was the perfect mate.
Mussels were on on the menu the next night, and suddenly I wasn't in the mood for tarragon and white wine.
Mussels in Ginger Brew
- 1 T. butter
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 2 T. soy/ponzu sauce
- 1 bottle Hitachino Ginger Brew
- 1 1/2 lb. mussels, cleaned and closed
- Chopped scallions
- Crusty bread
In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter and saute garlic and shallots until soft and fragrant. Add soy/ponzu sauce, beer, and mussels, covering with lid immediately. Steam for approximately 5 minutes, checking to make sure the mussels have opened. Remove from heat and pour into a big bowl (discarding any that have not opened); garnish with chopped scallions. Serve with crusty bread, and dig in.