Last summer, top brass at Wheelhouse Pickles met with the masterminds at Sixpoint, ostensibly to plot a pickle-and-beer tasting event, but the conversation took a fateful turn. “Shane and Jeff asked if I wanted to try making pickles with their beer, wort or brewing byproducts,” remembers Wheelhouse wunderkind Jon Orren. (For those of you who don’t brew for a living, wort is the mixture of malted barley, wheat or other grains from which all beer is born.)
Jon took some home to play with, and remembered that the popular British chutney called “Branston Pickle” (for the brand that dominates the UK market) shines with the bright taste of malt vinegar. It’s a critical ingredient in the classic Ploughman’s Lunch, which features crusty bread slathered with the pickle/chutney,topped with sharp cheddar and served with apple slices, a hard- boiled egg, pickled onions, a green salad and maybe some pâté, “for fancy-pants people,” says Jon.
He set to tinkering with the recipe, substituting wort from Sixpoint’s Brownstone Ale (which uses 11 malt varieties) for the malt vinegar, and the Ploughman’s Pickle came into being. Before listing the ingredients, Jon has to “take deep breath, this list is long.” True enough it’s a mouthful: turnip, carrot, parsnip, cauliflower, leek, onion, apple, dates, Wheelhouse Bread and Butter Pickles, garlic, brown sugar, tomato paste, fennel seed, mustard seed, coriander, allspice, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, chili flakes, lemon juice, Brownstone Ale wort, and corn starch. The concept is Bri’ish and the veggies are Jersey-grown, but the stuff in the jar is Brooklyn through and through.
Plus it was our New Year’s resolution to eat more wort.