Friday, November 23, 2012

The Netherlands - Shiitake Beer

Stir-fried mushrooms are my favorite. I was really excited to find a mushroom specialty shop at Wageningen's open market. They had a stall that specializes in mushrooms.

They have almost all types of edible mushrooms I've encountered in my life. Before this, I enjoyed a large variety of mushrooms cooked in many different ways in a restaurant called Mushroom Pot in Singapore. This stall sells monkey head mushroom (because the texture of the cap feels like a monkey's hairy head - when I rub it with my hands I felt like petting a monkey's head), one of my favorite mushroom. It has a texture like a meat when deep fried: slightly chewy, slightly fibrous.

I bought a small jar of black truffle sauce as well. It costs 7.95 euros, but I think it's worth the price because you only need a little bit of black truffle sauce in a dish. It has a really strong fragrance and taste.

And then, next to the jars of truffle sauce lies beer bottles. Shiitake beer, yup.

I was super curious about this. Technically, mushrooms don't contain a lot of sugar. I'm not even sure if the beer is completely fermented from shiitake mushrooms, or they just added shiitake flavor to it. There was no other information on the label, and the only information available was on

Google Chrome automatically translates foreign languages into English, but it has some limitations. The translation I got from the website about the shiitake beer was:

"On craft brewed beer with Shii-Take your own nursery.
Made by Special Brewery Oijen."

The original text was:

Op ambachtelijke wijze gebrouwen bier met Shii-Take van eigen kwekerij.
Gemaakt door Speciaalbierbrouwerij Oijen.

It would be great if someone could help me translate this properly, but my guess is that this beer is uniquely crafted by brewing the beer using self-grown shiitake. To simply put it, there is no further information about this beer. Not even the alcohol percentage.

The taste? I'm sorry, I had to stop drinking it after the first sip. It doesn't really have a strong taste, but it's weird. As a mushroom lover I might be a little bit more sensitive towards the aftertaste from mushrooms, especially shiitake because it's the most commonly used mushroom in Asian soups, and I've been eating it for years. I would expect this kind of flavor to go well with savory applications. Not beer.

I couldn't finish drinking it, but I saved it. Have you ever heard of chicken cooked in beer? Yes, it was quite popular, at least I know it was popular among college students when I was in the US. Cooking chicken in shiitake flavored beer? I think it would taste awesome: extra umami factor added. I'll post the results when I'm done cooking it tomorrow for dinner :)


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