Spiced Beer Jelly
We've been working on a new Spiced Beer Jelly throughout the winter and have settled on a recipe. We combined Sixpoint Craft Ales Mad Scientist #3 beer, local apples from Terhune Orchards in New Jersey, grains of paradise, black cardamom, Indonesian Cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, and all natural pectin.
Chris -- who owns Eastern District, the beer and cheese shop in Greenpoint and an avid home-brewer and beer expert -- suggested I use Grains of Paradise 9Aframomum melegueta) in my jelly. Grains of Paradise come from West Africa and are in the ginger family, although the seeds taste peppery. Medieval spice traders claimed these peppery seeds grew only in Eden, and had to be collected as they floated down the rivers out of paradise, hence the romantic name. The flavor is zesty and peppery, with hints of jasmine, hazelnut, cardamom, and citrus. Black cardamom (also called tsao-ko or badhi elaichi) is another of the spices that I used. It's camphor-like, smoky flavor nicely heightens the slight bitterness of the beer.
My friend Cathy works at Sixpoint Craft Ales, and she chose the new Mad Scientist Series #3 because it's such a rich, malty beer with hardly any hop flavor.
Spices and ale make this a unique and amazing jelly, perfect with cheese or meat. The beer is a light amber color and has a somewhat sweet, complex flavor, with notes of caramel and nuts, and a hint of dark fruits and malty magic. The spices work perfectly with this; grains of paradise add peppery notes, black cardamom is nutty and smoky, and Indonesian cinnamon is spicy and delicate. We ate the jelly with cheddar and it was insanely awesome.