Have Your Beer & Eat it Too
This is the mantra of Jackie Dodd, whose blog The Beeroness is dedicated to cooking with craft beer. From beer and chicken stew to chocolate stout cake, Jackie knows how to make beer’s flavors shine. She caught up with culture to talk about her love of all things craft beer. Her first cookbook, The Craft Beer Cookbook, will be released in October. I spoke with Jackie to learn more about the world of craft beer.
BS: You started The Beeroness in 2011, but when did you first realize your passion for craft beer?
JD: I think it started around the time that I was interested in cooking. I noticed the ingredients in craft beer are so different than the ingredients in more macro beers and how the flavor profiles were a lot more interesting. I’ve always liked beer, but it wasn’t until I really got into cooking that I realized the flavor differences.
BS: What do you think is a common misconception people have of beer?
JD: I think there’s a lot. One thing that surprises people is how many women are in craft beer. Almost every brewery I’ve been in contact with has at least one woman in a very high-powered position. Either in an administrative position or beer-making.
There’s always been this pairing between beer and steak and potatoes, and people are always surprised at how many vegetarians and vegans there are in the craft beer world. Craft beer attracts people who are really interested in what their food is and where it comes from.
BS: Do you think beer is as respected as wine?
JD: I think it is definitely getting there. It’s still considered a more casual beverage, and worldwide it doesn’t have the notoriety that wine does. In the last five years, there’s been such an explosion of craft beer and people are starting to realize the difference between craft beer and macro beer. It is growing in respect and popularity, even beer and cheese pairings are becoming a lot more popular.
BS: What are some current trends in craft beer?
JD: The one thing that I’m noticing is that brewers are blurring the lines between beer styles, like a black IPA is what some people describe as a stout IPA hybrid. It’s taking these beer styles that are in contained boxes and mixing the styles. Some of it’s successful and some of it’s not as successful. I think it’s really interesting that they’re trying to invent new styles of beer.
BS: Are there any regional beers you’re excited about?
JD: What’s exciting is that between 25 and 30 new craft breweries open every month in the United States, and that’s an older statistic. This year it’s supposed to be even bigger. I think the past six years have been the best as far as new craft breweries. It seems like no matter where you go in the US, there are some really new craft breweries where people can get local craft beer.
I think the Napa Sonoma county area is one of the best regions for craft beer. There’s such a high concentration of really good craft breweries. It’s sort of an iron sharpens iron situation that those breweries are all so fantastic, that they all have to up their game. But I’m biased, I really love California beer…
BS: Since we are a cheese magazine, I have to ask, what are some of your favorite beer and cheese pairings?
JD: IPA’s go well with stronger cheese, like a really intense blue cheese. A milder cheese like a brie would pair really well with a milder belgian white beer. Stouts are hard to pair with cheese, but I think an aged gouda would work well.
The exciting thing about beer and cheese pairings is that the rules aren’t really established yet. It’s fun to go to a really great cheese store and get a sampling of cheeses, and then get a sampling of beers and see what you like. Have a bunch of people over and have them pair the two. But I think strong works with strong, and mild works with mild.
BS: If you could choose one beer to have for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
JD: That’s so hard! I really like a dry hopped IPA, but then I looove a bourbon barrel aged stout. So I would pick the IPA, but then I would miss the bourbon barrel aged stout the most!