Beer Mustard (& polka)

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve got to say it.

Homemade Beer Mustard

Disneyland is not the happiest place on Earth.

Oh, no. Not even close

The happiest place on Earth is any bar, brewery, or beer hall where there is live polka. Where revelers are clad in lederhosen, hoisting their glasses in the air – shouts of “Prost!” all around.

Because, here’s the thing – it’s impossible to be unhappy when polka is playing.

Homemade Beer Mustard

Just ask the woman I saw at work last night. She came in with the sourest look on her face – all pinched and pouting, looking annoyingly aggravated. But then. Then! Tuba Dan started to play.

The rhythmic “bump, bump, bump,” of his song circled the room. It came up through the floor, vibrating the old wooden boards. It moved into toes, knees, and legs, impossibly infectious. Customers swayed on their barstools, following the rhythm, singing the lyrics they’d known for years. These songs are well-known, well-loved; a staple at every church picnic, Oktoberfest, and wedding reception from here to Waupaca.

Homemade Beer Mustard

I watched this woman – this angry woman – watched her shift from one foot to the other, her eyes scanning the menu. I watched her face soften, her head move back and forth. I watched her lips spread into a smile, her shoulders bounce up and down. She ordered her beer, sat down and enjoyed the end of the song.

“…Roll out the barrel, for the gang’s all here!”

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Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake

When people say “beauty is on the inside,” I think they’re talking about cake.

Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake | via Midwest Nice Blog

Because this cake isn’t the most gorgeous from the outside. Pretty simple, pretty unassuming. But on the inside! Oh, on the inside! Three layers of the delicious chocolate cake sandwiching thick layers of beer chocolate sauce and covered in coffee frosting.

Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake | via Midwest Nice Blog

I don’t need to tell you about it, I can just show you.

Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake | via Midwest Nice Blog

LOOK AT IT.

Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake | via Midwest Nice Blog

I’ve been making some variation of a chocolate stout cake since I was in college. Because the most exciting thing about finally being of legal drinking age was buying booze to bake with. (My desires are very simple.) It’s only taken 4 years, but by golly, I’ve finally nailed it!

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Beer Chocolate Syrup + Hot Chocolate

My baby seester and I will be getting in the car soon to go to Chicago.

beer hot chocolate | www.midwestniceblog.com

I know, I know, after the ordeal I went through to get to Wisconsin, why on Earth would I be going back to Chicago?

Well, for one, it’s one of the greatest cities ever. Of all time. So there’s that.

For two, it’s Squirt’s (little seester’s) birthday week so she gets to pick activities.

For three, a day in Chicago means dinner at Hot Chocolate. As requested by the birthday girl and as provided by me. Trust me, I am more than happy to oblige.

beer hot chocolate | www.midwestniceblog.com

No, not the hot chocolate pictured here, we’ll get to that in a moment.

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Beer-Braised Pot Roast

Are we doing real meals again yet?

Because I’m out of leftovers. And this roast is easy peasy for a Monday dinner. Very little hands on time, and a low and slow cook in the oven, what could be better? Plus, leaving the oven on makes the house extra toasty. I’ve got plenty of experience with that.

The heat in my college apartment was controlled by the building super and didn’t come on until early November. In Chicago. To say it was chilly was an understatement. Since it gets cold well before November I had to get creative with how I kept my place warm. That meant plastic on the windows, space heaters, and turning on the broiler of the ancient oven and sitting in front of it in the morning wrapped in blankets. It was like a damn Dickens’s novel.

I loved it.

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