Tag Archives: stew

Beer for Deer

Got a license to kill, and you know I’m going straight for your Hart

In this time of economic meltdown, it was refreshing to get a barter offer before christmas. A colleague of my girlfriend’s mother hunts deer from time to time, and heard about my brewing and suggested a swap. I mainly gave him my harvest ale, brewed with the home roasted malt described here, as well as some of the belgian stout that I described here, and just to be seasonal, a couple of christmas ales. I brewed a beer specially because he told me his wife preferred paler beers, so I made a fairly straightforward american blonde, 85% pale malt, 10% munich, 5% wheat malt, hopped to about 28 IBU with some northern brewer and cascade. Even though the IBU was lower than I’m used to it turned out super citrussy, I guess because the body was so light, it fermented right out because I mashed a little on the cold side. It’s definitely one I’d make for the summer, it was refreshing, light and grapefruity. Not the best picture, but a mobile was all that was to hand

Over Christmas Michelle made the switch, she and her brother drove out to somewhere near Limerick to meet the hunter. It was a dark and stormy night, and half way there, in the driving rain, they realised they were going to meet a hunter/butcher in the middle of nowhere to exchange some beer for some bloody frozen animal parts. To their credit they pushed on into the darkness. When they got there, and he saw how much beer there was, (over 40 bottles) he invited them back for even more venison. When I picked Michelle up off the train, she had a freezer bag full of about 10KG venison, including an entire fillet, about 14 inches long.

We’ve cooked it three times now, the first time we followed Darina Allen’s recipe from the Ballymaloe cookbook for venison stew, it involved an overnight wine marinade, and mushroom in the stew. fantastic. We did something similar the second time, but for the third time we decided to cut into the fillet

Venison fillet is a revelation. I usually eat good steak pretty close to blue, and with this we decided to do Carpaccio. We gave the piece a crust mainly based on crushed coriander seeds, and gave it about a minute each side on a very hot pan just to sear it. I sliced it as thin as I could and I was amazed by the texture, it was so lacking any seams of fat, or any visible grain at all. It looked more like tuna than beef. It tasted incredible, not too gamey (It wasn’t hung for very long before freezing) and absolutely melt in the mouth. I can’t wait to eat this again. It’s served on a bed of rocket and lemon juice is squeezed over it all.

Anyway bartering is the new way to go. What a success! I certainly hope that the other end of the bargain was as enjoyable, I was certainly proud of my beers. My only worry is that he expressed an interest in starting brewing himself. which will leave me deerless. I may have to take up my pointed stick and loincloth and head in to the Phoenix Park.

If anyone has any barter suggestions I’m sure there are plenty of things beer could be exchanged for!



Filed under Beer, Food