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Potroast -- Braise with Beer vs. Wine

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Have been informed that a guest can't tolerate wine, even in a sauce or a braise. I was planning on a thick chuck roast, seared and braised in lots of garlic, mire poix, and broth. I usually add a healthy cup or so of red wine to the liquid. So I have two alternatives, both interesting. One would be to simply replace the wine with beer, so there is some alcohol to dissolve certain flavors. Another alternative would be to start the braise with just the veggies and broth and after an hour or so, cut off a healthy segment and place in a 1-1/2 quart le creuset covered pot with some beer and cook the remainder in the larger vessel with the wine so that guest will have his tastes met and we could make a comparison.


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  1. If you braise it with a bottle of dark beer, you will get a rich gravy. Everybody will probably like it and you can serve the wine in glasses for those who do indulge in wine.

      1. IMHO, it's always more comfortable for a guest with sensitivities if there isn't a "special" dish just for them. And beer makes a fine braising liquid. I'd recommend avoiding anything that's too heavily hopped, though. A porter would do nicely...

        1. Just had a delicious pot roast last weekend at a friend's house and she braised it in beer. I personally don't care much for wine with a pot roast, though I know many do. I think beer just goes better. Guiness is nice.

          1. If you adequately season the dish with salt and pepper, you don't need either beer or wine to make a flavorful pot roast. Still, there are alternative flavor enhancers. For example a modest amount of wine (or balsamic) vinegar. Or the mild acidity of tomatoes (or even ketchup). Raisins or other dried fruit can balance the acidity of these items.


            1. I like pot roast with either beer or wine, but I make them differently. Also, I often use a crock pot which works nicely for pot roast.

              When I use wine, I add the same things you do.

              When I make a pot roast with beer, I add some barbecue sauce to the beer. Makes tender meat and I nice savory gravy. I drain the juices after the meat is cooked. If there is too much fat, skim some off, taste and add salt and pepper if needed... then thicken with a little cornstarch mixed with water.

              1. I like a nice chuck roast browned in some butter and braised in dark beer, with lots of caramelized onions. It makes a wonderful gravy, or a sauce with the braising liquid pureed with some of the onions.

                1. I agree that it would be best not to make a special portion for the wine-free guest.

                  For the beer, I would suggest Chimay Red Cap. The Black Cap is not as complex, in my opinion, even though it's the "superior" iteration. The Chimay is nice to drink with the roast, as well.

                  1. Are you sure the guest who can't "tolerate" wine can tolerate beer ? That it's a simple matter of "taste" and not some sort of health issue?

                    I agree about separate dishes - unless this person is someone's very good friend and the meal very casual, "segregating" a part of dish like that could make the guest very uncomfortable - just use broth or other non-alcoholic liquid would be my advice unless you're specifically told beer or something else is OK...

                    1. The beer braised brisket recipe that ran in Gourmet a good while back is amazing (on day two- it really should sit in the liquid per the recipe, which makes it a great dinner party preparation, because you just reheat it). I am a total oenophile, but frankly I prefer my red meat cooked with beer rather than wine.

                      When I read your post, I wondered if that was a subtle way of telling you no alcohol. I would clarify that. And I wouldn't make two versions either. That could make your guest uncomfortable.

                      1. Thank you for the feedback thus far. The guest who dislikes wine is an enthusuastic beer drinker, even a beer snob! He and his wife are good friends and dining companions -- she enjoys and often brings red wine, and he often brings a couple of dark, yeasty beers for himself when he knows the others will be drinking wine. We often dine together either out at restaurants or at home usually grilling steaks, but it is chilly out and has been raining and chuck was on super sale.

                        Can you give me the basic seasonings or veggie ingredients for the beer recipe? I went on epicurious.com and it didn't come up in a search for chuck roast, pot roast, or short ribs.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: nosh

                          "The guest ... is an enthusuastic beer drinker"

                          Ah then and given your friendship, if you're willing to go to the trouble to make 2 versions, I'd agree about the fun/interest of comparing, though you might want to increase the recipe and make more of each in case anyone gets jealous of the beer-stew (lol), leftovers freeze well. If his wife is going to bring wine, you might want to ask what or vice versa though so you don't have too big a mismatch between your wine-stew and her wine... ditto for beer if he'll be bringing any of that .

                          1. re: nosh

                            I think this is the referenced recipe from Gourmet.
                            In typical CH fashion, I'd probably mess with it a little. I think I would cook at 250 for 5-6 hours and would use Montreal Steak Seasoning. I like to use those onions that are as big as soft balls. The included comments are worthwhile. That's one of the nice features of epi recipes.

                            1. re: nosh

                              I don't think that you have to use different vegetation for the beer recipe, actually. All the usual suspects (onion, carrot, garlic, parsnip, celeriac) go well with beer.

                            2. Well, I'm deathly allergic to beer, so it's a good thing I'm not coming to your dinner, because you wouldn't be able to use either beer or wine. How about just stock?