Sunshine Wheat Citrus Caramel

In a lot of ways, it was New Belgium Brewing and a tour of their main facility in Fort Collins, Colorado that got Jess and me into craft beer in the first place.  Sure, we’d drink the occasional six pack of Sierra Nevada or some local brew on a trip to Vino’s for pizza, but it was that tour and the beer we drank on it that really opened our eyes to the possibility that there was a lot more to the world of beer than we had ever realized.  I can still remember when they took us into an upper level room with high wood-beam ceilings and poured us a tasting glass of a reddish-brown beer that smelled of tart cherries – the Lips of Faith La Folie.  That first sip of crisp sour brown is burned into my mind as the first truly astonishing experience I ever had with beer.  My favorite of all the New Belgium brews, though, is the Sunshine Wheat, a citrusy, spicy wheat beer that tastes like everything good about summertime.  And since the Sunshine Wheat goes so well with citrus flavors, we decided to use it as a base for a caramel sauce.  Beer caramel?  Yes, indeed, and this Sunshine Wheat version is the tastiest we’ve made!

Sunshine Wheat Citrus Caramel

  • 1 bottle Sunshine Wheat beer
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • Zest of 1/2 orange, cut into large strips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of gray sea salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the beer, cardamom pods, and orange zest and bring to a boil.  Reduce the beer to about one cup, then add the brown sugar and butter, stirring only if it seems the pan might boil over.  Boil the mixture over medium-high heat for about 20 minutes, or until it gets very syrupy.  You’ll know when the caramel is done when a spoonful dipped into cold water forms a soft ball.  Slowly stir in the cream and keep cooking until the sauce thickens again – about five minutes.  Stir in the vanilla and salt and remove the orange zest and cardamom pods.  Once the caramel has cooled slightly, transfer it to a jar and refrigerate.  This is a rich, creamy sauce that is perfect on ice cream, drizzled on cake – and I’ll bet you eat more than a little of it right off the spoon.  Happy Cooking!

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3 thoughts on “Sunshine Wheat Citrus Caramel

  1. Good gosh this looks great. Nice thoughts on that first “eye opening” beer experience. I think we all have had one! I’ve had La Folie and it is wonderful – in fact I have a few aging in the cellar!

    • We went to New Belgium and Odell Brewing that day – we started really paying attention to the beer we drank after that. The La Folie really showed us what was possible out there with beer (along with some of Russian River’s sours), which led to saisons – and saisons were like the beer geek nirvana for us. This sauce is remarkably good – I drizzled some on some fried plantains last night and we’re going to make a caramel swirl cheesecake with the rest. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Pingback: Caramel Cheesecake Bars | Arkansas Foodies

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