Spicy Beer Pickles – Geist Weiss

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These are the best pickles I have ever made…  …and I have made a lot of pickles.  So, this is a rocking good recipe to kick off the Beerblog. I gave some to Ma Hammerton for Christmas and she LOVED them, saying: “If you make some more of these, save me some.”  This is the best recommendation a pickle could ever have.

Geist Weiss was the perfect choice for these pickles as it’s a pale colour and has a delicate flavour.  My brother-in-law Andy liked them too, saying they weren’t as vinegar-y as many pickles.  The beer somehow sweetens the vinegar I guess, makes it a more complex flavour.  Sister-in-Law Julia sent a text: “BTW, your pickled cucumber is on the nose.  Love the hot undertones.”  RESULT.

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This recipe is adapted from one in The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton.  This is a gorgeous book and was a present from my friend, the weaver and colour consultant extraordinaire, Ptolemy Mann. Thanks dwarling!

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I found that I had to double the amount of brine for the amount of cucumbers recommended by Kylee, but there is no doubt that the ratio of beer to vinegar really works.  Yum, yum, yum.

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Spicy Beer Pickles with Hammerton Geist Weiss

1.2kg small pickling cucumbers*

2 garlic cloves

200ml beer

140ml water

400ml cider vinegar

240g golden granulated sugar

2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

2 tablespoons sea salt

1 teaspoon chilli flakes, or to taste (I used Waitrose hot chilli flakes)

Makes 4 x 250ml jars

Top and tail the cucumbers and cut into quarters, lengthwise.  Peel and finely chop the garlic.

Prepare the brine by combining all of the ingredients except the cucumbers in a medium stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Pack the cucumbers lengthwise into warm, dry, sterilised jars.

Pour in the brine to fill the jars to about 5mm below the rim.

Seal and store in the fridge for at least 2-4 days before eating to allow flavours to permeate.  Keep for up to 4 months in the fridge unopened.  Once opened, keep refrigerated and eat within 4 weeks.

*these small cucumbers can be found at some corner shops in the UK, the lovely Polish shop just down the road from me sometimes has them.  I got mine from Ocado for this batch of pickles, and it pleased me greatly that they were the perfect size for my Opies jam jars.  Empty Opies jam jars are always my choice for pickles and chutneys.  The labels soak off really easily, and they are the perfect size for gifts. Plus I love their pickled cocktail gherkins.  Bravo Opies!

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What I would like to know is, where can I get TINY gherkin sized cucumbers so that I can have another go at this recipe with some Hammerton’s N1?