In my quieter dorkier moments I have been known to don my Gryffindor scarf and enjoy the magical world of Harry Potter and his tales from his time at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Now if you know anything about the magical little scamp you’ll know that he often escaped through a magical tunnel/caught the school bus to the nearby village of Hogsmead. Like all good teenagers when at Hogsmead he would sneak into the local drinking establishments, namely the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head (the latter of course being a great name for a pub as a hogshead is cask of beer).
At said pub Harry and his little buddies, the ranga and the know-it-all (a thinly veiled depiction of JK Rowling herself) partake in some butterbeer,. It is described as non-alcoholic, although I doubt it is given the shit that goes down in the Hogsmead, including but not limited to talking dogs, illegal trafficking of dragon’s eggs, people disappearing and some pretty racy dating between Harry and Cho Chang.
So with all of this in mind you can imagine my excitement upon finding a recipe on the interwebs (or as I shall be calling it the magical world of Potions, Prophecies and Porn) for Buttered Beer.
Turns out it wasn’t a creation of the over active imagination of Ms Rowling, but rather a thing that people drank back about five hundred odd years ago . You can go here if you want the recipe, but basically it’s warm beer, egg, some spice, sugar and butter.
I tried it with Old Hooky, which is a beer you can find in any Dan Murphy’s. It’s a pretty standard English style brown ale, but any good malty British old style ale would work. The actual process is not that hard, although it does take a fair amount of time so you wouldn’t exactly want to be gagging for a beer, but it’s a reasonable way to spend a cold winter afternoon. Basically it’s a lot of stirring and a bit of whisking.
So what does it taste like? Short answer, like spicy beer with butter in it. I don’t think I got it quite right because the butter was sitting on the top of the beer, so you were always drinking through a layer of butter, which was quite frankly ooky.
It’s not an attractive beer either, sort of a muddy brown colour, with a little bit of the spices and stuff sitting at the bottom of the glass. It wasn’t as sweet as I would have thought, rather it’s the spices that dominate the taste, although with a little bit of the familiar beer bitterness.
I’m not sure it’s really worth the effort. It is warming but it also very, very unusual. I think if I did it again I might cut back on the butter and maybe up the sugar a bit. Then again if you are looking for a warm alcohol drink I would probably choose mulled wine or some of my patented vodka tea before I choose this again.
Then again I am a muggle, so maybe I just don’t get it.