2.) The aforementioned brats turned out even better than expected. I simmered them for six hours on low, then turned the crockpot up to high for the last hour. I then transferred brats and broth to a ceramic bowl, and let it chill overnight. When we were ready for dinner last night, it was an easy thing to remove the layer of congealed fat at the top of the bowl and get rid of it entirely. I then took the brats out and warmed them up in the microwave; David fixed an accompaniment of chopped spinach with parmesan cheese, horseradish, pepper, and Miracle Whip, which is an old family recipe created by my dear mother.
I was going to steam and mash cauliflower, lace it with a little butter and perhaps some truffle oil, then use it as a bed for the brats. Then, I intended to simmer a cup of the beer broth long enough for it to reduce. While making the reduction, I planned to caramelize some onions, then top the brats and the cauliflower with them, then pour the reduction over the whole thing and serve. I just didn't have time last night; the spinach was quicker, but I still think it sounds good. Maybe I'll try that the next time I make it.
Either way, the brats were tender, flavorful, and about as low in fat as they could be. This was one of the easiest recipes I've ever made; definitely a great home-cooked meal that we'll have again in the future.
Note: I'm trying to write this while being interrupted by 15 different things. It's not going to be my smoothest flow ever.
9:52 pm: I posted the recipe here.