Just a few weeks ago Heavy Seas released a new change to their regular beer line up, along with a new seasonal beer, Deep Six English Robust Porter. It took me a few weeks to finally get my hands on a six-pack, but it only took one sip to know that I really wanted to make a stew with this beer.
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Porters were brewed as far back as the 1700s, but they didn’t quite resemble the porter of today. Early versions were typically darkened through the use of coloring agents, which were made illegal in Britain in the early 1800s. Now English brewers had a problem; they needed a dark malt to get that deep dark color in their beer, but malts left in the kiln too long resembled something closer to charcoal than something you would put in your brew. With necessity being the mother of all invention, it wouldn’t be long for someone to find a solution.
In 1817, Daniel Wheeler, patented a process for roasting malt that closely resembles the way coffee is roasted today. This “Black Patent” malt allowed brewers to infuse extremely dark colors into their beers along with dark roasted flavors that the dyes could never offer. The popularity of porters using these dark roasted malts led to variations being brewed in the US, Ireland, and the Baltic region, but the popularity wouldn’t last forever.
By the Mid-Twentieth Century most brewers had given up on porter, and by the 1970s Guinness made the only widely available version of this beer. Then in 1972 Anchor Brewing made the first American porter since prohibition, and other craft breweries quickly began brewing the style. Eventually English tastes came back around, and today you can once again find Porter brewed in its hometown of London.
Deep Six, the new Robust Porter from Heavy Seas, is brewed in the more English interpretation of the style. This beer has layer upon layer of dark and roasted flavors without being bitter. The beer tastes of dark chocolate, coffee, chicory, a hint of apple, and earthy hops. It achieves this depth of flavor using multiple dark roasted malts, traditional English hops, and an English ale yeast that gives the beer a nice dry finish.
I knew I wanted to make something rich and hearty that both worked well with the flavors in this beer, and would make the perfect meal to go with all this cold weather we’re having in Annapolis.
I then remembered that I had several pounds of smoked grizzly bear sausage, and immediately knew what I wanted to make. This stew has big bold flavors that will warm you up from the core on a chilly Annapolis day.
Now you may not have any smoked bear sausage lying around, but any smoked sausage should work well in this recipe.
– 12 fl oz (one bottle) of Robust Porter
– 1 lb smoked sausage sliced into 1/4 circles
– 1 Tbsp butter
– 1/4 lb bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
– 1 med yellow onion, Chopped
– 1 Red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise into thin slivers
– 2 Yellow bell peppers, sliced lengthwise into thin slivers
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
– 1 Cup of water
– 1 tsp dry thyme
– 2 bay Leaves
– 1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
– 1 Tbsp tomato paste
– 2 tsp brown mustard
– 2 tsp honey
– Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-high heat.
2. Add the bacon, and cook until brown. Remove to a separate bowl.
3. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften (about five minutes).
4. Add the sausage and 3/4 of the bell peppers. Cook until the peppers begin to soften (about five minutes).
5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
6. Add the beer to the pot, being sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom as you mix it in.
7. Add the bacon, water, bouillon, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, tomato paste, mustard, and honey. Bring to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
8. If the stew has reduced too much then feel free to add some additional water. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining bell pepper and let simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
9. Serve alongside toasted sourdough or rye bread.