09 November 2010

Burke In The Bottle: beer with that freshly ‘mooed’ beef heart flavor

Adhering to a healthy diet every second of every day can make the body feel good, but sometimes it’s unrealistic. During the inevitable highs and lows that we all experience, there are moments when nothing else will do but visiting the cookie jar or a local bar. You know...those times when all you want to do is forget about what’s right and take a walk on the wild side, if only for a short while.

We all deserve a little wiggle room to be human, but those who pass on animal-derived products in any way, shape or form always have to bring their “A” game by employing product label decoding strategies. It seems as though there are always countless landmines lying in wait…sneaky little wolf-like ingredients masquerading around in lamb’s clothing, such as:
  • Rennet enzymes extracted from the fourth stomach chamber of unweaned cow, lamb and goat calves (used in the cheese making process)
  • Animal hair/feather-derived amino L-cysteine (typically used in baked goods)
  • Animal bone-derived gelatin (a main ingredient in Jell-O, dietary supplements in gel-cap form, margarine, marshmallows, lowfat sour cream/yogurt, countless chewy candies and gummy-like confections)
  • Isinglass or fish bladder (a common fining agent that filters/clarifies wine)
To their credit, Samuel Adams/Boston Beer Company founder Jim Koch and New York City chef David Burke are making no bones about the contents of their new beer, Burke in the Bottle. Amid a brown ale base, the adventurous duo have incorporated a pungent autumnal spice blend of clove, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg along with 20 pounds of grilled sliced beef hearts, which I am certain sounds just about as revolting to carnivores as it does to plant-centric eaters.

The adventurous brew masters describe their malty creation as salty and savory with a “big spice hit up front” and a distinctive beef heart “finish”, while a Slashfood journalist recently noted the distinctive “mineral tang” of the eau de beouf that hit the back of his tongue when he knocked one back. Burke says that “in the spirit of the beer,” it should ideally be paired with a simple beef dish such as steak with peppercorns. This carnivore-friendly libation is currently available at David Burke Townhouse, David Burke at Bloomingdale’s, and Fishtail among other Burke restaurant establishments.

The saving grace for vegans and those with a strong revulsion to alcohol-stewed beef hearts is that this wacko brew must be emblazoned with a government-required Statement of Process detailing exactly what it is composed of, so make sure you're sober enough to read English before you head down the road to blotto-ville. ;) When sugar is swell but beer offers the cure to what really ails you, ask your drinking buddy to memorize this list of vegan-friendly alternatives and make sure that they order on your behalf -- hey, they're the designated driver...it's the least they can do. Bring on the beef-free buzz!

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
A dedicated green journalist and currently commissioned to write a comprehensive reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah Leigh hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/zagatbuzz