Denis Kilcommons: The dark arts of Black Beer
BLACK beer (right), the speciality drink that is much loved by the older generation of West and South Yorkshire, is not just used as a mixer, I have been told.
Add lemonade to it and it becomes a shandy that is apparently known as Sheffield Stout. Mixed with milk, it has been a favourite of pregnant ladies, although expectant mums might take medical advice first because it is, after all, a strong beer at 8.5% and, legend says, it can produce twins.
An original rum and black was made with black beer rather than blackcurrant. This could have originated with sailors who were used to swigging black beer as a health drink from the days of Captain Cook.
But Jean Brierley tells me she uses it in cooking.
“I have a recipe that has been handed down from my grandma in which you put it in Christmas Cakes. Needless to say, it makes them very tasty. All my family tell me they are wonderful.”
After a little research I discovered it can also be used when making Christmas pudding, steak pie or treacle toffee. As an ingredient, I mean, not as a thirst quencher in a hot kitchen. Oh, go on then. Pass the Sheffield stout.