Beginner’s Guide to Cooking with Beer

Beer is around 7000 years old and has probably been used in cooking for just as long. Over time, wine has (unjustly!) become a more popular choice in the kitchen.

It’s difficult to say how or why this happened, as beer is fantastic to cook with. On top of that, it is more versatile than wine and can prepare a wider array of dishes.

If you’re interested in cooking some dishes with beer, then wait till you see what I’ve got in store for you today. I’ll take you through the basics and then show you some beginner-friendly recipes!

Sounds like fun? Let’s get to it!

Lager — what is it suitable for?

If you expected the answer to be “Absolutely nothing!” you’re dead wrong!

The lagers’ subtle flavor does wonders in adding depth to certain dishes. It is used to brine meats or veggies before cooking, or you can boil stuff in it. As someone who loves to boil lobster tail and again (in beer), I strongly advise you to try it out!

Another excellent use for lagers is to add it to doughs. It brings them together so well, without altering the flavor too much. Making pizza dough with a few squirts of your favorite beer is a great idea.

Pale ales

If you’d like to try cooking with something a bit more flavorful than lagers, pale ales are the way to go. The hoppiness found in styles like IPA, APA, or any “PA” for that matter, adds a flavorful punch to any dish you put it in.

Some chefs suggest cooking Indian-type curries with pale ales, especially those with citrusy notes. When done correctly, the beer will add character and freshness to the dish. The vital thing to know here is that the ale should be added only towards the end of the cooking. If you add it earlier, you’ll get too much bitterness out of it – not what we want here.

These hoppy refreshments have found another use in baking. Add them to a dough and see what kind of flavors you’ll have!

Stouts and sweets

What are the flavors that we associate with stouts? Chocolate, coffee, oats. Stouts work great with cookies, cakes, pancakes, and anything chocolatey. You could even add them to your favorite pudding.

However, it would be unfair to limit this style to sweets only. It’s also widely utilized in the preparation of glazed meats, stews, and gravies. Check out my stout and bacon recipe below!

The Bottom Line

All that I’ve presented above are guidelines that ought to give you an idea of which style of beer works with what kind of food. In essence, there are no explicit culinary rules on how you should and shouldn’t cook with beer. The only absolute limits here are your taste and imagination.

Recipes with Beer For Beginners

I don’t know about you, but all that talk made me hungry! Let’s take a look at some simple recipes that involve beer.

Swiss Beer and Cheese Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces of Jarlsberg cheese
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 ½  tablespoons sugar
  • 12 ounces of Lager beer
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½  teaspoon pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to between 350 and 370 F

2. Shred the cheese.

3. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except cheese. Mix well to break up any lumps that may form.

4. Stir in the melted butter.

5. Slowly add the beer while mixing.

6. Add the shredded cheese.

7. Transfer the mix to a greased pan (8 x 4 inches).

8. Bake for around 60 minutes.

Tip: Stick a toothpick into the bread towards the end of baking. If it comes out clean, then the bread is done.

Drunk Sweet Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of bacon strips
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of stout

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to around 400 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar and beer. Whisk until the mixture becomes like a thin syrup.

3. Take a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Put a wire rack on top of the baking sheet, and place the bacon strips on the rack. If possible, don’t let the bacon overlap.

4. Cook the bacon for 10-12 minutes and remove it from the oven.

5. Take the beer syrup and brush the bacon with it on both sides.

6. Place the bacon back in the oven and let it cook for another 10 minutes.

7. Repeat this process two times. The result should be crispy and darkened bacon with a sugary glaze.

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