When it’s this hot, pop some pils

<p>While you might not feel like a sexy beast in this weather, it’s steaming hot enough for a nighttime pils on the patio.</p>


1 Czech, 4 Ontario beers for the weekend



Aonghus Kealy/Metro Toronto photos

Steam Whistle and J.R. Brickman’s Founder Series Pilsner.


Pilsner Urquell

Stone Hammer Premium.

‘Oh, yeah. Bloody hell. I’m sweating in here. Roasting. Boiling. Baking. Sweltering. It’s like a sauna. Furnace. You can fry an egg on my stomach. Ohh, who wouldn’t lap this up? It’s ridiculous. Tremendous. Fantastic. Fan-dabby-dozy-tastic.”

While you might not feel like a sexy beast in this weather, it’s steaming hot enough for a nighttime pils on the patio.

Or on your balcony.

In your underwear.

(Oh, just try it.)

Pilsner (or pilsener) is a style of lager made famous in the city of Pilsen, an industrial community in the western part of the Czech Republic. This wonderful thirst-quenching pale beer is known for a stronger flavour of hops and a very clean finish.

And don’t forget that thick, foamy collar that bubbles up when pils is poured. It’s the ideal beer to drink as your appetite wanes and the sun grows stronger. Serve these cold, but please don’t freeze out their flavour. (And save the heavier beers for the recipe on the bottom right.)

While purists and stuck-ups will say the only true pilsner to be enjoyed comes from the Czech Republic, I’m here to tell you that is a load of nonsense.

Local Ontario brewers are masters at making this style, too.

“Har!” you scoff, the heat is getting to you, Suds boy.

Well, that’s true.

But I’m enjoying this heat while we’ve got it. You do the same this long weekend.

Find a patio, balcony or beach to laze around or hang out on a patio, and let the sun bake your skin ’til it’s like “lehvah” while sipping on one of these five delicious beers, in no particular order of fondness.

• Stone Hammer: I list this Guelph, Ont., fire-brewed pils first because it is the best beer I have introduced to my tastebuds this year. The pride of F&M Breweries has a unique nose —a sexy whiff of smoke — and some subtle smokiness and toasty notes. Absolutely delectable. $11.45 for a six-pack of 341-ml bottles at the LCBO and Beer Store.

• King Brewery Pilsner: More delicious Ontario suds. Nope, it’s not from King City — it’s from down the road in Nobleton. While it has a light floral aroma, light malts wash over the tongue softly and a small bite of bitterness from its Czech Saaz hops are very pleasing. Six 341-ml bottles for $11.95 at the LCBO and Beer Store.

• Steam Whistle: People love the Good Beer Folks’ product so much that they’re just starting to return their trademark thick green bottles again after a very thirsty World Cup. Sophisticated hoppiness and malt flavours, and super easy drinkability with a wonderfully thick head when poured. Pick up six for $11.95 at the LCBO and Beer Store.

• J.R. Brickman Founder Series Pilsner: You knew Brick Brewing owner Jim Brickman meant business this year when his re-packaged pils took the gold medal in the Pilsner category at the 2006 Ontario Brewing Awards. It is delicious, but Ontario’s best? ... Made with two German hops and pure Formosa spring water near the brewery in Waterloo, Ont., this drink has a gentle mouthfeel. It also has a pleasant sweet honey and hops aroma. Or was that the heat talking again? Get six bottles of 341-ml for $10.95 at the LCBO and Beer Store — save a buck and get great pils.

• Pilsner Urquell: On my last trip to the “toy store,” one gentleman fumbled eight loose cans of this beer to the counter and nothing else. Steam’s brewmaster, Marek Mikunda, is one of the Urquell disciples, and his former brewery is still widely considered the king of all pils. You may have seen their ads on bus shelters all over town recently, but this beer has been around the block since 1842. Unlike any of the other four pils listed here, this is amber in colour but it is just as easy to drink. Unlike the aforementioned — all with five per cent alcohol/volume — this has only 4.1 per cent. It’s $2.20 per can at the LCBO and Beer Store —save 20 cents per can until Aug. 13. So hurry!

Happy Simcoe Day!



Poached Pears with Rasp-beer-y Sauce

INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup Steam Whistle Pilsner, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 stick cinnamon, 1-1/2 cup water, 8 Anjou or Bartlett pears, peeled, with stems on 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 pints fresh, or 2 pkgs. frozen raspberries whipped cream

PROCEDURE: In a large skillet, combine beer, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and water. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Roll pears in lime juice. Add pears to the syrup and cook on low heat, turning over. When pears are tender, remove with a slotted spoon. Boil remaining syrup rapidly, until reduced to 1 cup. Remove the cinnamon stick. Add the raspberries to the syrup and cook until the sauce turns red, about 5 minutes. Pour over pears. Cover pears and refrigerate, turning frequently. Place whole pears in serving dishes and add a spoonful of whipped cream.

Marinated Steak With Sassy Beer Sauce

• Serves 6

Brown ale or dry stout sassy marinade for grilled steak. Try a large sirloin tip or top sirloin steak for a casual summer dinner. It’s affordable, tasty and a 1-kg (2-lb.) steak can serve four to six people when surrounded with a platter of vegetables. Use brown ale or dry stout because they are both rich in malt flavour. Stout has a toasty, strong syrup-like flavour that works well with the smokiness from the grill. Serve grilled steak sliced thinly across the grain with extra dipping sauce.

INGREDIENTS: 1 kg (2 lb.) beef marinating steak (inside round, sirloin tip or flank), 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in.), thick 250 ml (1 cup) ketchup, 250 ml (1 cup) steak sauce, 1 341-ml bottle dark beer, 50 ml (1/4 cup) each packed brown sugar, cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, 3 green onions thinly sliced, 2 ml (1/2 tsp) each red pepper flakes and hot pepper sauce (optional), 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt, 1 ml (1/4 tsp) pepper.

Pierce meat all over with a fork and place in a large sealable freezer bag; set aside.

PROCEDURE: Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Remove 250 ml (1 cup) sauce and pour over meat in bag; refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, bring remainder of sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and reduced to about 500 ml (2 cups), about 30 minutes. Let cool. (To make ahead, refrigerate in air-tight container for up to 1 week.) Place steak on greased grill over medium-high heat; turning once with tongs and brushing with some of the sauce, for 6 minutes per side for 2.5 cm (1 in.) to 14 minutes per side for 5 cm (2 in.) thick, until digital rapid-read thermometer inserted sideways into centre of steak reads 60C (140F) for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into thin slices. Serve with remaining sauce. Nutrients per serving: 321 calories, 30 g protein, 7 g fat, 32 g carbohydrates.

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