Today is a lot of days. Today is Mardi Gras. Today is the day before Lent (don’t think I’m giving up beer this year). Today is the day before the NHL trade deadline (Luongo finally went back to Florida). Today is my father’s birthday (Happy birthday, old man. Hope you grab a beer and read this.). Today is Shrove Tuesday. Today is March 4th, the only day that is also a command. But for my purposes, today is Pancake Tuesday, a day where pancakes are eaten for supper rather than breakfast, and I couldn’t be happier. After all, it’s a little harder to get away with pairing beer with pancakes at 10am on a Sunday, but no one’s gonna bother me for pouring a pint with supper pancakes! I thought it would be fun this year to put an extra twist on pancakes – other than pairing them with beer – and actually try to make them with beer. After all, it’s maple season and all, so finding some beers that might work in pancakes is a bit easier this time of year.
Picaroons launched their Maple Cream Ale on March 1st and I was lucky enough to snag a few from ANBL on York. This year’s batch is way better than the batch they put out last year (which was, in my opinion, a big let-down), so it seemed like the obvious choice for infusing into pancakes.
I also grabbed this maple beer up in Rimouski last week, called Suzanne Marceau by les Brasseurs de l’Ile d’Orleans, which is just outside of Quebec City. I was kind of confused with it; it was an amber ale that had that licorice-y taste of maple sap with a smoky bacon afterburn. Sort of a breakfast in itself, but I wasn’t crazy about it. Anyway…
Making beer pancakes really isn’t all that different from making non-beer pancakes. I generally use buttermilk in my pancakes because it makes them taste so much better than when pancakes are made with milk (and buttermilk is low-fat, so you’ve got that going for you). I also threw in a little cream of tartar, which made them extra fluffy so you can eat quite a few of these without feeling bitter defeat after 3 and a half pancakes, like I have on many occasions, swearing them off forever. There’s a Mitch Hedberg joke about pancakes; he explains it better than I ever could:
Anyway, these beer pancakes are surprisingly awesome. Substitute 1/2 cup of your buttermilk or milk or whatever you’re using for a 1/2 of beer (in this case it was Maple Cream, but different beers will give you different results – a frothy wheat/weisse beer will give you light pancakes with a hint of banana; a brown ale will give you hints of toffee and almonds; you may even want to have a go with a stout and make chocolate pancakes – there are certainly options.
Otherwise do it the old-fashioned way. With beer. Maple beer, if you can get your hands on it, otherwise a wheat beer would go well, or even a fruit beer or lambic would pair well (it’s almost like putting blueberries or raspberries right on your pancake!). Or, for those of you who crave chocolate milk with your pancakes, reach for a milk- or sweet-stout. You’ll feel like your right back at grandma’s house for brunch.