From the mountains to the coast, the state boasts almost 400 breweries, and April is N.C. Beer Month! Lovers of the amber nectar are invited to drink in the excitement during the month-long celebration of events and festivals, tastings and dinners, travel deals, giveaways and more.


The only thing better than quaffing stout with your food? Downing it in your food. Direct from the Craft Beer Association, here are recipes (noting the originating person, blog or firm) for spirited entrees representing fish, beef, lamb and chicken.


Molé and Stout Battered Salmon

by Bryan Richards

The batter contains many of the traditional ingredients one would find in a traditional molé sauce, except the cocoa powder is replaced with a stout. The batter is a bit overpowering for white fish, so I substituted salmon to stand up to the strong molé flavors.


4 salmon filets
2 cups flour
12 ounces stout
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon Ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil


Pour enough canola oil in the skillet to submerge half the fish, and turn the burner on to medium. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Mix the flour and the spices in a deep bowl, and then whisk the beer into the flour mixture to create a batter.


Test that the oil is hot by dropping in some batter and look for a sizzle. Once the oil is hot, dredge the salmon in the batter on both sides, shaking off any excess. Cook the salmon for 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to absorb any extra oil. (You may need to cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.)


Serve alongside chips topped with fresh chopped cilantro and a pinch of cayenne.


Yields 4 servings



Brooklyn Brew Shop's Ultimate Beer Burger

by The Brooklyn Brew Shop

We've taken our love for the classic combination of burgers and beer to the next level by creating a stout-spiked patty.


1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup stout or porter
4 slices cheddar cheese
1 tomato, thickly sliced
4 leaves bibb lettuce
4 buns, toasted
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Bacon and onion jam


Sprinkle ground beef with salt, pepper and cayenne. Form into four loosely packed patties. Using your thumbs, create a shallow well in the center of each patty.


Heat a grill or skillet to medium-high. When hot, place patties on grill or skillet, indent-side up. Pour a couple spoonfuls of beer into each well. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, flip and cook for 3 minutes more. Add cheddar and let melt over heat, about 1 minute.


Slather toasted burger buns with mayonnaise and then stack patty, tomato, lettuce and a generous amount of bacon and onion jam.


Yields 4 burgers



Low Country Shrimp and Grits With Jalapeno Pale Ale

by Bryan Richards

Jalapeno pale ale adds an extra kick of spice.


4 cups chicken stock
1 cup stone-ground grits (not instant)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces bacon, chopped into quarter-inch pieces
1 bell pepper, diced
8 ounces of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup jalapeno pale ale (or other pepper beer)
1/2 cup mushroom stock


Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Whisk in the grits and simmer, stirring frequently for 20 minutes or until the stock is absorbed and the grits are cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and cream.


Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned. Remove the bacon from the pan. Add the vegetables to the bacon grease and cook until translucent. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, which is about 2 minutes. Pour in the beer and mushroom stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 5 minutes.


To serve, ladle the grits into individual bowls and top with shrimp mixture.


Yields 6-8 servings



Beer-Braised Short Ribs

by Ales Kitchen

Not only are these short ribs delicious, they're made in the crock pot and can be cooked overnight or while you're at work. Serve with mashed potatoes and you've got a new weeknight favorite!


3 medium onions, cut into wedges
3 to 3-1/2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
1 bay leaf
12 ounces beer
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water


Place onions in a 5-quart crock pot; add ribs and bay leaf. Combine the beer, brown sugar, mustard, tomato paste, thyme, bouillon, salt and pepper. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.


Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm. Discard bay leaf. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer juices to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine flour and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.


Yields 4 servings



Three Philosophers-Braised Lamb Shanks

by The Brooklyn Brew Shop

Beer-braised lamb shanks done in a slow cooker is an easy, warm and savory recipe.


Pair with your favorite Belgian-style strong ale, porter or scotch ale.


5 pounds lamb shanks
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup beef stock or chicken stock
1-1/4 cup Belgian strong ale
Canola oil for browning meat
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups broth
1/4 cup dried cherries


Mix together all the spices and herbs except garlic. Heat large skillet or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Rub lamb. Toss shanks, in batches, into the pan and brown lamb on all sides. Transfer to crock pot when done.


Rub lamb well with all the garlic. Gently pour the stock and beer over lamb. Set crock pot on low for 7-8 hours.


When done, gently take out lamb with tongs and place in a dish. Cover with foil and set aside. Pour stock back in the pan used to brown the meat. Turn to medium heat. Add butter and cherries. Reduce for about 20 minutes or add some cornstarch to thicken faster. Pour sauce all over lamb.


Serve with greens and potatoes, couscous or noodles.


Yields 4 to 6 servings



Honey Chipotle Beer-Braised Wings


The sauce for these simple and delicious wings is made with honey, soy sauce, your favorite lager and chipotle in adobo.


24 chicken wings
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey mustard
1-1/2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
12 ounces lager beer


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken wings with salt and pepper and set aside. For the marinade, combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, whisking to combine.


Add marinade to the chicken wings, making sure wings are coated on all sides. Arrange chicken wings in one layer in a baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce on top of the wings.


Roast wings in the oven approximately two hours. Baste frequently. Wings are done when the sauce has cooked down and the meat falls off of the bone.


Tip: For crispier skin, broil the wings for a minute or two once they're done roasting.


Yields 24 wings