Home Beer How to: Make chicha at home (spit optional)

How to: Make chicha at home (spit optional)

SHARE
/ 1
CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   Food  

ILLUSTRATION BY JACK HORNADY

Popular myth blames the Europeans for bringing alcohol to the New World. That may be fair where spirits are concerned, but large swaths of the Americas were home to civilizations that co-evolved with fermented drinks. As with barley and wheat, maize was a grass tamed and nurtured over generations to become something more nutritious—and more fermentable.

Chicha, in all its incarnations, ranged from the Andes up to what is now the southwestern United States. The Apache made a traditional corn beer, the prohibition of which was one of Geronimo’s reasons for rebelling against the resettlement regime in the 1880s. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that some Pueblo tribes of modern-day New Mexico, long thought to be teetotalers, were making their own fermented corn drink about 800 years ago. So, arguably, chicha is the original American beer.

There are numerous versions still made in Latin America including some made with cassava (a South American shrub), rice and fruit. Yet chicha owes much of its fame to the image of ancient Andean women chewing the corn jora before tossing it in the brewpot.

What follows is a simple, light-bodied version similar to what is found in some Central American kitchens, adapted from a Costa Rican family recipe. Here the corn adds flavor, while unrefined sugar provides the fermentables. -Joe Stange

Simple Corn Chicha

makes about 2½ gallons

2 pounds fresh corn, cut from ears

2½ gallons water

2 pounds unrefined sugar, such as tapa de dulce or piloncillo

1 ounce freshly grated ginger

1 tablespoon fresh lime zest

In a food processor or mill, coarsely chop the corn. Transfer the corn to a large stockpot and add the water; bring to a boil over medium heat and add the sugar, stirring to dissolve. Cook on a low boil for 30 minutes, then cover and chill to room temperature by setting the pot in an ice water bath. Pour the corn mixture through a strainer or cheesecloth into a large bowl or container; add the ginger and lime zest, and stir. Cover with a cloth and set aside to ferment 1 to 3 days or longer, depending on taste.

3 WAYS TO PLAY AROUND

1. Even those who dislike spices in beer may find chicha bland without them. Other possibilities include cinnamon, coriander, berries and jalapeños. Trust your creativity and the season.

2. Beer or bread yeast added after chilling can provide a quicker fermentation and a cleaner, drier drink. Adding spices at the end of the boil and covering a sanitized vessel with clean aluminum foil are other ways to make a more sanitary (if less interesting) chicha.

3. For a more authentic chicha de muko, hang the shucked corn ears out to dry for a few days, then remove the kernels. Grind the corn with a Corona or other mill to produce a coarse flour. In manageable amounts, chew and moisten the corn with saliva, and form it into small cakes. Dry them in the sun before throwing them in the brewpot.

 


draftmag.com

Why a Miller Lite Was the Best Beer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve worked in craft beer for nearly five years now. I’ve had the fortune to try some truly amazing brews: Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout. Supplication? I’ve got one in my mini-fridge. The reason I’m telling you this is because I want to frame my statements here properly. I’ve had good beer, trust me. The best beer I’ve ever had, though, was a Miller Lite.

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   MIDWEST   Midwest Feature  

allagash
draftmag.com

Allagash Farm to Face

A few years ago a friend of mine sent a text saying they had just tried the best beer ever, a sour ale brewed with peaches called Farm To Face from Allagash Brewing Company. I get beer recommendations all the time, but it is rare that they come with a “favorite beer ever” label, so I made a substantial effort to find a bottle. Unfortunately I came up empty, a limited amount of the beer has

CATEGORIES: Beer   Feature   NORTHEAST   Northeast Breweries  

One Comment

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

204 queries in 2.609 seconds.