I’ve never been much of a drinker, mostly because I hate that loss of control you feel when you get a little tipsy. I also hate hangovers, and I can control those by not getting drunk.
When I do drink, though, I enjoy distilled alcohols such as bourbon and vodka. I’ve never liked beer, although most of what I had been exposed to during my childhood and much of my adulthood was the mainstream national brands. Nasty.
Because of the growth of microbreweries and non-mainstream beers in the Austin, Texas, area, and because my team holds Friday afternoon happy hours where we share various types of beer, I recently embarked upon a journey to figure out whether I actually liked beer and, if so, what kind. I quickly ruled out the hoppy beers. That bitterness has no business on my tongue. I started leaning toward the dark side — porters and stouts — but then I came upon something I had never tasted before, and fell in love.
Hill Country brewer Real Ale‘s Brewer’s Cut Black Quadrupel gave me everything I was looking for in a beer — a dark, malty taste that made my head spin. (Maybe that was the alcohol. I didn’t realize at the time that the quad was a high-alcohol beer.)
I bought several four-packs last year and promptly started a series of surgeries that kept me from drinking, so they have lived undisturbed in my refrigerator for the last 10 months. I got one out the other day and opened it with trepidation. Was it still drinkable? Would it still lure me in? Would it still give me that sweet malty flavor that I loved so much? It did! Plus, I thought it would pair exceedingly well with chocolate.
Because the quad doesn’t have a strong hops element, the beer lends a subtle flavor to the fudge. If you didn’t know it was in there, you might just think the taste was a little different (different good, not different bad). Feel free to experiment with other types of beers, even some of the more hoppy types, if you want to get an idea of how the flavors work. As for me, I’m going to stick with the quad. Unfortunately, the Real Ale quadrupel was a limited edition, and they are unavailable now outside of my refrigerator. If you know of others I might like, let me know.
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup beer
1 package (12 oz. or so) dark chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
Add the sugar, butter, milk, and beer to the saucepan. Follow the directions in the base recipe for making fudge. As in the Bourbon Fudge, keep in mind that the alcohol lowers the boiling point of the mix, which means you’ll need to boil it longer to reach the target temperature of 234 (or softball stage if you are not using a thermometer).
I didn’t add any vanilla to this recipe because I didn’t think the flavor would compliment the beer very well. Feel free to add it, if you think it needs some.