As we head into the dog days of summer this month, there are plenty of things to look forward to. August is Virginia Craft Beer Month, DC Beer Week starts August 17th and Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company will once again host the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival. This year’s is on August 23rd. Members of the Portner Brewhouse team will be attending said festival, as we have for the past two years and looking forward to pouring next year! We’ll even be camping out and barbecuing. Come join us – get tickets here. Our Chief Taste Tester usually mans the grill. And this year, on doctor’s orders, he’ll be using a dark beer marinade for our tasty proteins.
Because, according to research by Dr. Isabel Ferreira of the University of Porto published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (March 26, 2014 issue), its good for you. Grilling outside over charcoal or gas is great. Its a staple of summer. But there is a cost. Molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons form as a result of the process of grilling and thus increase the chance of the diner developing cancer. This is because polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons form from molecules known as free radicals formed during the application of intense heat to meat. Antioxidants counteract the free radicals. Beer is rich in antioxidants – to be specific, melanoidins, which form when barley is roasted.
If you marinade with beer, it lessens the chance of cancer. And the good doctor’s research showed dark beers have more melanoidins than lighter beers. Her research involved a pilsner, a non-alcoholic pilsner and an unidentified “black beer.” Therefore marinating with dark beers is healthier for you if you follow this logic. Some of the Chief Taste Tester’s favorite dark beers are Portner Brewhouse’s CP Special Reserve porter and American Gothic Brown Ale. Another favorite from Virginia is the Schwartz Bier brewed by Devil’s Backbone. And from down the valley in Nelson County, Blue Mountain Brewery’s Maggie Maibock also wets the whistle in a fine manner.
If you want to try marinating with a dark beer, here’s a recipe from Portner Brewhouse’s co-founder Margaret Portner: Grill-out Cancer Marinade¼ cup soy sauce 2 tbsp olive oil 3 large garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp fresh coarsely ground black pepper ½ cup of your favorite dark lager beer Whisk all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl (ex. stainless seal, glass) except the beer and then stir in beer. Transfer marinade to a large resealable bag and add desired protein or vegetables. Marinade for at least 2 hours prior to grilling.
P.S. Happy IPA day! Check out our 2014 Beer Holiday calendar to see the rest of this year’s beer holidays.