With the recent microbrewery mania, beer experts have found ways to incorporate beer with almost anything — even dessert.
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, Bonnie Watson, Craft Beer Cellar’s director of education and certified cicerone — a sommelier of beers — paired classic desserts with craft beers. Chocolate chip cookies? A malty German doppelbock. Cheesecake? A carbonated sour cherry beer.
Watson said the three primary pairing goals are to complement, enhance or contrast. When tasting, first take a sip of beer. Then take a bite of dessert. Mid-bite, take another sip of beer and let the flavors unfold.
Flat Branch Pub is known for incorporating alcohol into its recipes. The green chili chicken fingers, beer cheese soup and one of the house marinades contain traces of it. It’s no surprise the restaurant utilizes beer in the desserts as well.
If you haven’t filled up on delicious brews and tasty burgers, save room for the Stout Brownie Sundae. The chefs make this speciality item with Oil Change Oatmeal Stout, and served with a side of Mizzou-made Arbuckles ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Diners can choose from Mizzou Gold, Tiger Stripe or the flavor of the week. The dessert is served on a massive plate, so this dish is great for sharing if you’re feeling particularly generous.
Executive chef Mike Arnall, who has been at Flat Branch since 2008, says the decadent brownie was on the menu before he started and might be one of the original desserts from the restaurant’s opening 21 years ago.
The process starts with a standard brownie recipe mixed with the Oil Change stout, one of Flat Branch’s core eight beers served throughout the year.
Kyle Butusov, Flat Branch’s head brewer, says the stout has a smoky, coffee, chocolaty taste. The beer is used in the stout brownie to complement those flavors.
The moist brownie is rich as fudge and mildly sweet. Oil Change Oatmeal Stout is thick and bitter like coffee, so the combination resembles dark chocolate. The local ice cream brings texture and sweetness to the whole platter. Beer and brownies: Who knew this unlikely combination could taste so good?
— Claire Lardizabal
Stout Brownie Sundae | Flat Branch Pub | 449-0400 | 115 S. Fifth St. | $5.99
Baklava is a traditional Middle Eastern pastry made of thin phyllo dough, honey and walnuts. Coffee Zone Manager Issan Yanis says the restaurant used to make homemade baklava until it got too time-consuming to make on site, but he continues to make it at home for his family. He describes it as a “crunchy, sweet dessert filled with nuts.”
The standard recipe Yanis uses requires individually stacked layers of phyllo dough, each brushed with melted butter. Then a filling mixture of finely crushed nuts, sugar and cinnamon is added before repeating the process on top. Baklava is pre-sliced before going into the oven at 350 degrees and baked until golden brown. A honey drizzle tops the dish to create a sweet, sticky finish.
When baked, the phyllo dough puffs up and becomes delicate and crispy. Honey and crushed nuts add a candy-like sweetness similar to peanut brittle or toffee. Make sure to sit down and enjoy your baklava, as each bite comes with a sea of phyllo flakes. You’ll want to keep some napkins on hand.
Osama Yanis, Coffee Zone owner and Issan’s brother, says he likes to eat baklava in the morning with a cup of coffee.
— Claire Lardizabal
Walnut Baklava | Coffee Zone | 449-8215 | 11 N. 9th St. | $2.80