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Kermit Dogs: Serving up brats with local beer

Jun 4th, 2015 | Category: Food

by Brent Cole

As the local beer culture continues to boom, the natural next step is cooking with local beer, and that has been taken by Kermit Dogs, a bratwurst stand out of Bellingham. Owned and operated by Knut Christianson and Michael Nutt, Kermit Dogs offers beef and pork brats made with local beer (as well as a salmon sausage without) and sides that focus on local beer.

Offerings include beef, pork and salmon brats, and a variety of sides and condiments. COURTESY PHOTOS

Offerings include beef, pork and salmon brats, and a variety of sides and condiments. COURTESY PHOTOS

Christianson, who owns Paella Works and is a well-regarded chef, especially in eastern Whatcom County, initially came up with the idea last year as a means to serve food at Kulshan for their brewer’s night, where he worked as the Director of Sales.

“I wanted to do something that was beer-centric. No one was doing that in town,” he said. “It fit with the whole theme.”

Christianson connected with four establishments he knew made charcuterie – Old World Deli, Carne, The Local, and Spencer Santenello (who was working with the Copper Hog) – utilizing beer for each sausage. It was so successful they kept the beer theme for each brewer’s night. Over the next year, as Christianson juggled Paella Works, as well as his job at Kulshan and doing oyster bars at Slough Foods in Edison, he worked with Carne – the butcher shop in Bellingham – to come up with a few consistent brats for what would become Kermit Dogs.

“I had a series of tastings and meetings with Sean and Chad from Carne,” he said. “We worked on perfecting these beer infused sausages.”

Carne agreed to make them exclusively for Kermit Dogs. “That’s when we decided to do something a little more organized,” Christianson said excitedly.

Beer is the primary flavoring for three of the four sausages, and also a key element in the sides and condiments. “We’re expressly trying to utilize that wonderful product in a culinary context,” he said. “To expand and showcase how these ales could be used to cook and make different foods. That’s a big and growing aspect of the craft beer industry.”

Christianson added, “This whole project is a way to do that and do something casual – this is a way to get a product that is appropriate and fun. To accentuate what we already have going on with breweries that are making these great beers.”

Kermit Dog’s menu includes four sausages – a coriander traditional brat with pale ale, spicy all beef with porter, polish with wheat, as well as a Habanero salmon sausage, which is made by Galley Fare, a Bellingham salmon sausage company. (The salmon sausage doesn’t include beer for obvious taste reasons). kermit dogs serving web

The use of beer, though, doesn’t stop at the sausages, with sides including German potato salad, Porter vegetarian chili and beer pickles. Christianson is also utilizing different condiments, such as kim chi relish with ginger, bacon, beet relish, vinegar cucumbers, smoke gouda, sharp cheddar, fennel sauerkraut, specialty mustard, curry ketchup and cilantro cream cheese. Sausages are offered on their own with individual topping options or as themed meals like the Bellinghamster which includes a traditional coriander Kulshan Pale Ale Bratwurst, bacon, smoked sharp cheddar, fennel sauerkraut, gouda and onions.

While Christianson is in charge of the food, partner Michael Nutt is the mechanical guru, preparing and handling the cart. “I’m the food guy,” Christianson said. “He’s the organizing and cart mechanic.”

Nutt and Christianson are taking their new venture seriously, but not too seriously, hence the name, which came from Christianson’s middle name – Kermit.

“Every time we say it,“ he said. “I smile or chuckle.” He added, “We’re serious about the food and what we do, but what we’re doing is for people’s enjoyment – it’s for fun – and to expand the beer and food culture where we are.”

Visit Kermit Dogs on Wednesdays at K2, Kulshan Brewery’s newly opened second location at 1538 Kentucky Street in Bellingham, and stay tuned for additional locations. For more information, follow the Kermit Dogs Facebook page.

Published in the June 2015 issue of Grow Northwest

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