Cheese Beer Bread Mix

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While curiously browsing through Wal-Mart’s Christmas shopping specials of snacks and gift bundles, I stumbled across a small box on the bottom shelf.  The box was left lonely in the corner, the only one of its kind.  It was shyly shoved toward the back with no other matches in sight, set as an outcast amongst the groups of Budweiser BBQ sauce sets, Ritz crackers, and tin packages of cookies.  However, seeing “Beer Bread” on the label was enough to make me to stop and investigate.

The bottle was an Amber Harvest Mills Baking product, a Cheese Beer Bread Mix!  I had never seen such a creation, so I rotated the bottle to learn what was included inside and how it was made.  What I had in my hand was a bread mix that lacked one key ingredient: Beer.  Apparently, this 16 oz bottle, and 12 ounces of your favorite beer is enough to bake delicious cheese-bread. It did mention, though, that light beer is not recommended and that ginger ale can be used as a substitute to create a lighter flavor.  The price was advertised for $5.00, but after adding beer and tax, the cost for the bread ends up being closer to 6 bucks.

The directions were simple:

  1. Empty bread mix into a bowl, and add beer (or ginger ale)
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon until moist (*Do not over-mix)
  3. Pour into a greased and floured 9” x 5” loaf pan
  4. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 45-50 minutes, or until done

I followed said directions by adding a 12 oz can of my favorite beer (Milwaukee’s Best Ice) and anxiously wait 45 excruciating minutes for the concoction to bake.  After taking it out of the oven, I gave it some time to cool off, then sliced up my cheese bread and found that I enjoyed this delicious treat quite a bit!

The convenience of this all-included, simple, mix was a huge plus to the rating of this product.  The taste also had a huge positive influence on my overall opinion.  I will, however, stress that the “greased and floured pan” step of the instructions needs to be followed.  Unfortunately, I ignored this step and suffered through a hard crust that was difficult to remove from the pan.  Other than that though, there were no problems with the mix!  I greatly enjoyed the product and plan on purchasing another in the upcoming week.

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New Belgium’s Skinny Dip Beer

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According to their website, New Belgium Brewing created Skinny Dip in an attempt to create a “highly drinkable beer for after workouts.”  Since I’m fairly well known for my prowess at the gym, as well as my love for completely negating my workout by pumping beer into my stomach after pumping iron, I had a positive impression of Skinny Dip before I’d even taken my first sip!

As it turns out, New Belgium offers an assortment of beers.  You may be familiar with their most popular product, an amber ale dubbed Fat Tire.  While there is nothing wrong with drinking their flagship brew 365 days a year, Skinny Dip maintains an important niche as their seasonal summer offering.  It’s easy to tell this beer apart from the rest on the  first taste – it really brings to mind a summer afternoon or evening!  I noticed an initial citrus, almost tangy-like flavor followed by a crisp finish.  The taste of hops was definitely noticeable, but not overwhelming and not enough to make the beer overly bitter. It was light enough to quench my post-workout thirst while not filling me up too fast.

While I am no beer expert (evidenced by the lax use of ‘beer-tasting’ terms in the previous paragraph), I hear there are three things that matter most to  a beer: the initial taste, the ‘body’ of the beer, and the finish.  In my opinion, Skinny Dip balances the three very well.  In fact, the only drawback about this beer is the fact that after it’s gone, you have to wait until the following summer to buy it again!  Everything about Skinny dip — from the provocative picture on the front of the label, to the crisp finish — makes for a delightful combination that I would recommend to everyone! First-time beer drinkers (of legal age, of course), to well-seasoned connoisseurs alike!

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