For most people, there’s only one drinking holiday in March. For beer lovers in Michigan, there are two. Shortly after the St. Patrick’s festivities wind down, we celebrate Oberon Day, the day Bell’s releases its seasonal beer that is synonymous with warm summer afternoons. After a rough, isolated year, I’m doing double the celebrating, and drinking my first Oberon of 2021 alongside this Oberon Beer Bread with Honey Orange Butter.
To some people, summer begins the day school gets out, or the day you put your dock in, or the first time you see the Tigers play at Comerica. To me, and many of Michigan’s beer lovers, summer begins the first day you sip on a cold Oberon outside in the hot sun.
The irony is not lost on anyone that more often than not, late March in Michigan is still freezing cold. It’s not unusual to drink your first Oberon of the season during a snowstorm. But that first sip brings with it hope – for warmer and longer days, time outdoors, friends, and bonfires. And this year more than ever, we could all use some of that.
While you’re waiting for the weather to catch up with the beer release, make some Citrusy Oberon Beer Bread. This slightly sweet, orange-and-cardamom-flavored bread is great for breakfast or for dessert. It comes together quickly and doesn’t use too many bowls. Plus, beer bread is a lot easier and more intuitive to make than traditional yeasted bread. If bread baking is intimidating for you, this is a great place to start.
Happy Oberon Day! Let’s raise a glass to a brighter summer – it’s just around the corner.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (about two large oranges)
- ½ cup orange juice (about two large oranges)
- 1 Oberon or other wheat beer
Honey Orange Butter
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt.
In a small bowl, add sugar and orange zest and massage together with your fingers until everything is well-combined and you can really smell the orange. Then add this to the flour mixture.
Finally, add the orange juice and beer and use a rubber spatula to mix everything together until just combined. Pour dough into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes (your total bake time will be 55 minutes but you want to pull it early so you can add the glaze - see next steps).
About 40 minutes into the baking time, make the honey orange butter. Melt the butter and stir in the honey and orange zest. Once the bread has baked for 45 minutes, remove the bread from the oven and brush the honey orange butter over the top of the loaf. You may not end up using all of the butter. You want the loaf to be well-covered with a thick layer of glaze.
Once you’ve added the butter, put the bread back into the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool for 20 minutes in the loaf pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Finish cooling for about an hour, then slice and serve.