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Beer takes center stage

Quick look: With recipes like Saison and Clementine Cornish Game Hens with Roasted Vegetables and Dunkel-Braised Lamb Shanks, this craft brew lovers’ cooking companion confirms there’s much more to beer food than traditional bar food.

What’s inside: Beer for breakfast. Beer for small bites, lunch and dinner. Even beer for dessert. This well-organized collection revolves around the premise that’s articulated in the third sentence of the introduction: “I firmly believe that beer pairs better than wine with food.” Recipes – from Bourbon Sweet Potato Tarts with Imperial Stout Sauce to Hopocalypse Ceviche, Cocoa-Crusted Pork Tenderloin and Duck Chiles Rellenos – go for big flavor. The book includes barbecue, burgers, regional specialties, sides, soups, salads, sauces, spreads and beery twists on dishes like macaroni and cheese, paella and pumpkin pie. Recipes include brewery profiles. Many also feature a list of recommended beer pairings. Beer isn’t a key ingredient in every recipe. But it shows up in some unexpected places: Beer-mosas for brunch and He’Brew Origin Pomegranate Cheesecake, Pale Ale Pineapple Brown Sugar Cupcakes and Beer Sorbet for dessert. Suggested brewery-peppered road trips – the closest is Portland – are included at the back of the book.

What’s not: While there are 155 recipes from brewpubs and breweries throughout the United States – including four Washington breweries and two Idaho breweries – no breweries from the Inland Northwest are featured in the cookbook. If you want to cook with locally brewed craft beer, you’ll have to substitute. Similarly, the list of beer festivals at the back of the book doesn’t include regional favorites likes Spokane’s Inland NW Beer Festival or Yakima’s Fresh Hop Ale Festival.

A recipe for Cheddar Ale Soup is on page C5.