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Chew on This

The taste of craft beer is now in a jelly

The taste of craft beer is everywhere these days, even at the breakfast table.

Potlicker Kitchen, a Vermont-based artisanal food purveyor, has created beer jelly with the flavor of brew favorites like oatmeal stout, Hefeweizen and bitter IPA. The spread is made from fruit, spices and locally brewed beer.

“After jamming all the fruit in my house I began to make jelly out of wine, which is an old technique. But I really liked the taste of beer so I developed a recipe that used only beer.”

- Nancy Warner, founder of Potlicker Kitchen

Like many food mashups, the idea was inspired out of necessity.

“I just ran out of fruit!  It was the middle of winter in Vermont and I had developed a serious canning addiction,” says Nancy Warner, a former archeologist turned founder of Potlicker Kitchen. “After jamming all the fruit in my house I began to make jelly out of wine, which is an old technique. But I really liked the taste of beer so I developed a recipe that used only beer.”

Jam is crushed fruit while jelly is made with juice. Warner substituted what she calls “adult juice” --or beer-- for the traditional grape or apple used in many jelly recipes.

Local brews include Long Trail, Otter Creek, Harpoon, Otter Creek, Magic Hat and more.  The jelly we tried was made out of Harpoon and tasted like orange marmalade with a distinct beer smell.

If you’re worried getting a morning buzz from your toast spread, don’t. Each jelly contains less than .5 percent of alcohol due to the repeated boiling during the jelly making process.

Potlicker, which started in 2011, is now found in over a 100 stores in 18 states, including California.

Warner says she owes a lot of her success to social media.

“I really spend a little on advertising. Social media has done a lot for us,” Warner says. “From day one, just start promoting your product online. I would definitely recommend the social media path to most people to just about anybody starting a small business.”

And Warner means small.

The entire operation consists of just three people: Warner, her husband Walter and a shipping assistant. They currently produce over 1,000 jars a week.

And although beer jelly might sound strange to some, Warner says she gets a lot of positive feedback on her product from people who say they weren’t particularly fond of beer or jelly until trying her spread. 

She recommends trying the product with cheese or charcuterie, or to glaze grilled meat.

Check out their blog for inventive recipes for this versatile spread.