Making Magic From 8 Ounces of Flat Beer

Posted on November 23, 2014

We’ve all been there. Nearly done with that growler and can’t find the intestinal fortitude to finish the job. Then it sits there. Eight lonely ounces wasting away.

Two days later and you’re ready to get back after it and damn if that beer is totally flat. This, thanks to simple physics, is a situation which is unavoidable. The growler is a super functional way to preserve the fun for a week or so unopened, but once you’ve broken into that jug of joy, it’s a race against the clock.

I have found myself in this predicament more than a few times over the years and have found a number of great uses for this sad beer; uses that render the beer, well, less sad. Let’s talk about it.

Meathooks Dark Mild Ale makes frequent trips to the Selders home and for good reason; it’s wicked delicious and is a terrific food beer. Sometimes, however, we don’t make it all the way through and then I bring home a fresh growler of Howdy the next day just because. The Meathooks sits there not getting any better until the next day inspiration strikes. The Crock Pot emerges and ingredients start flying. Ten hours later we all come home to the best black bean and turkey chili in town. Thanks a lot, Meathooks! We couldn’t have done it without you.

Please know that the flat beer isn’t just for the Crock Pot anymore. You can totally get all fancy and make a meal fit for Sunday supper. I asked my good friend and partner here at The Post, Chef Smitty to help me out with a few recipes to get the most out of your fading goodness. I can assure you that you’ll be making these braised chicken thighs and collard greens tonight!

Let’s get these greens started and then we can get crackin’ on that chicken. Here’s what you need:

2 pounds of collards – chopped
8 slices of bacon – chopped
1 onion – sliced
8 Roma tomatoes – roasted with EVOO, salt and pepper and then halved
2 Tbs. chopped garlic
8 oz of beer you couldn’t finish two nights ago
8 oz chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS cider vinegar

Prep is easy and it goes like this:

In a big ‘ol stock pot over medium heat, brown the chopped bacon.
Add the sliced onion and cook until soft – about 2-3 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute or so.
Add the roasted tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the greens and cook until they’ve wilted a fair bit – another 5-6 minutes should do.
Sprinkle in some salt and pepper – be ready to add a little more before serving.
Add the beer and chicken stock.
Cover and simmer for about an hour until the greens are tender and nice.
Before serving, toss in the cider vinegar.

Beer Braised Collard Greens

Okay. So now that we can forget about those greens for a while, let’s get that protein ready:

Vegetable oil
8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (they taste better that way) seasoned with salt and pepper
1 red onion – julienned
1 poblano pepper- julienned
1 red pepper – julienned
4 cloves of roasted garlic – crushed
8 oz of beer you couldn’t finish two nights ago
16 oz chicken stock
A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Now get cookin’:

Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Over a medium high flame, heat 3 TBS of vegetable oil.
Add the seasoned thighs and brown on all sides until golden and delicious smelling.
Remove the thighs and lower the heat to just under medium. (On an electric range you can have another burner waiting for you at this setting so you can just shift your pan on over when you are ready.)
Add the julienned onion, poblano and bell pepper and cook until softened – about 2-3 minutes.
Add the crushed roasted garlic and thyme and cook for about another minute.
Add the beer to deglaze the pan scraping up all the tasty bits in the process.
Allow the the beer reduce by half and then add the chicken stock.
Stir the lot to mix and then add the browned thighs back to the pot, cover and toss the pot into the hot oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the thighs are tender and your kitchen smells amazing.

All done. Let’s gather the family and friends and enjoy a meal together. By now you’ve refilled at least one of your growlers. If not, once you’ve dumped one of them into the greens, send somebody down to The Post for your favorite beer to serve with these amazing dishes you are whipping up.

If you’re a responsible beer hunter like me, you know that no beer shall be wasted and every part has a purpose. Even though that flat beer may not be the best to drink, it’s still rich with great flavor that can be incorporated into a delicious satisfying meal.

If you have any great recipes with lonely growler beer you’d like to share with us, please send them to with the subject line “Making Magic From 8 Ounces of Flat Beer”.

Posted in: Brewery, Kitchen