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Tasty to the core
Non-alcoholic apple beer, a '60s favorite, is making a tangy comeback

Refreshing as root beer -- yet slightly sour.

Faster than a free-range pullet.Tastier than Tang,

Livelier than the locomotion . . . .

Able to keep young children from the lost and found.

Look . . . it's good with pie or just plain.

IT'S APPLE BEER!

A dear friend from the '60s is popping up all over the West. Thankfully, another retro refurbishing has brought Apple Beer "back to the future."

If you missed sipping Apple Beer in the '60s heyday, here's a second chance. The re-emergence of this Utah "invention" is a timely match -- a non-alcoholic carbonated drink that stands on its own flavor and enhances food.

The closely guarded formula for Apple Beer was developed nearly a century ago in Germany, when an essence company combined small Sicilian apples with a mix of herbs and spices. The inventors dubbed their beverage "Fassbrause." Their product was stored and delivered in wooden barrels and served on tap. Fassbrause soon became a popular draught.

Decades later, two young missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in Berlin tasted the unique apple liquid and loved it. They wondered if the soft drink might be equally popular in the United States.

After their return to America, one of the missionaries, a Utah native who prefers to remain anonymous (honest!), contacted the producer of Fassbrause. An agreement was negotiated and in 1964 the two men introduced their Bavarian "discovery" to the United States. A name change Americanized the beverage. Apple Beer is still owned and operated by Utahns.

Since 1964, the 12-ounce Apple Beer cans have undergone several changes. Eight months ago, Apple Beer was introduced in a long-necked glass bottle. Since that time, company sales have doubled. And like the original dispensing of Fassbrause, Apple Beer is on tap in various locales.

No alcohol. No caffeine. No artificial flavors. A triple whammy that few beverages can claim.

Apple Beer is made with all-natural flavors. Nutritionally, a 12-ounce serving of Apple Beer has 140 calories. No protein, no fat, 20 mg sodium and 34g carbs. Since the beverage is sweetened with fructose, only 15g of sugar are in one bottle or can. Another bonus is the 100 percent daily value of vitamin C.

Apple Beer, named for its German heritage, is called "The soft drink with a head," because of its foamy nature (like root beer).

OK, so what about the taste? In the overly saturated-sweetened-drink category, Apple Beer is a real standout. The flavor's not too sweet -- actually, it tastes like a green apple without the screaming sour aftertaste.

We've been doing gallons of food-editor research on Apple Beer. And we love the stuff.

But there's a minor roadblock -- the wooden barrels won't fit in our test kitchen fridge.

APPLE BEER PORK CHOPS

4 pork chops

2 (12-ounce) bottles Apple Beer (divided)

1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For Gravy:

1 Golden Delicious apple

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

2 tablespoons beef bouillon

1 cup (approximately) ice water

2 to 3 tablespoons flour

Trim fat from pork chops and place in shallow glass baking pan. Pour 12 ounces of Apple Beer over top; cover with plastic wrap; marinate 8 to 10 hours. Remove pork chops; discard Apple Beer marinade. In electric frying pan, heat oil and brown pork chops; remove and set aside; keep warm.

In same frying pan, pour remaining 12 ounces of Apple Beer. Stir; scraping pan drippings into liquid. Cut apple into small bite-size pieces; add to pan. Mix in bouillon and ginger root; simmer on medium heat (325 degrees F.) for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft. In separate container with lid, combine ice water and flour. Shake until well-mixed. Slowly add to pan mixture, a portion at a time and stir continually until gravy thickens. Adjust seasonings. Pour over warm pork chops. Serves 4.

Each serving contains 371 calories, 44g protein, 15g fat, 16g carb, 59mg sodium, 110mg cholesterol. From Apple Beer.

APPLE BEER FLOAT

3 scoops vanilla ice cream

12 ounces Apple Beer

Scoop. Pour. Swig. Repeat. Serves 1.

Each serving contains 278 calories, 5g protein,17g fat, 29g carb, 78mg sodium, 117mg cholesterol. From Apple Beer.

APPLE CHICKEN ORIENTAL

6 chicken breast halves, skinned and boned

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

11/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

11/2 cups Apple Beer

11/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup frozen peas

Cut chicken into thin strips. Place in a bowl. Stir in soy sauce and water. Cover and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat vegetable oil and sesame oil. Stir fry chicken for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, rice. onion, and celery seed. Stir fry 2 minutes more. Add Apple Beer and chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Simmer 10 minutes more or until rice is tender. Add peas and heat through. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains 328 calories, 33g protein, 9g fat, 28g carb, 800mg sodium, 74mg cholesterol. From Apple Beer.

APPLE BEER LINGUINE WITH ARTICHOKES

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 stick butter

1 teaspoon flour

1 cup Apple Beer

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 can drained and halved artichoke hearts

2 tablespoons freshly ground Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon capers, drained

1 pound linguine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly ground Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon soft butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

In large heavy saucepan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat. Add 1/2 stick butter; melt. Add flour. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Stir in Apple Beer, increase heat to moderately high and cook 1 minute. Add crushed garlic clove, lemon juice, parsley flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring for 5 minutes. Add artichokes, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and capers. Cook sauce, covered, for 8 minutes. Cook linguine in water approximately 10 minutes until tender. Drain. Set aside in colander.

In linguine kettle, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, soft butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Return drained linguine to kettle and toss. Pour artichoke mixture over pasta; mix together and serve with extra Parmesan to sprinkle on top. Sauce may be prepared in advance. Serves 6.

Each serving contains 453 calories, 11g protein, 25g fat, 49g carb, 499mg sodium, 95mg cholesterol. From Apple Beer.