Note: This is the 5th post in a 5-part series called Beer Newbie Missions, a guide on how to like beer.
Beer is food. Have I mentioned that?
Think about what's in bread: grains, yeast, water, spices. Sound familiar? Beer is liquid bread! (Do I hear trumpets?)
So agreeing that beer is food, it's time to use it as an ingredient to enhance a dish. We're going to cook with beer.
Cooking with Beer
It's not that crazy to think of cooking with beer if you consider that wine is very commonly used in recipes. They're both just flavored liquids used to add flavor to a dish. This means you can substitute it for water or wine wherever they're called for. Sauces, marinades, and soups are all good candidates.
Just as there are guidelines for pairing beer and food, there are guidelines for cooking with it. Here are some rules of thumb:
- Look for balance. Don't overwhelm a delicate dish with a strong brew.
- Keep in mind that cooking beer will concentrate the flavors. A hoppy beer will become hoppier.
- Use similarities. A fruit beer goes well with a fruity dessert and a strong Belgian ale goes well with a rich meat dish.
- Don't cook with a beer you wouldn't drink. If you love a beer on its own you'll probably love it in a recipe too.
Tips for how to cook with beer:
- Mix it into a stir-fry.
- Add beer to a steak marinade.
- Use it to steam up veggies, mussels, or even hot dogs.
- Make beer cheese soup.
- Pour it in a batch of chili.
Make Beer Chili
To start off cooking with beer we're going to make something simple and delicious. This beer chili recipe is adapted from the fantastic book, “The Naked Pint” by Christini Perozzi and Hallie Beaune.
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sweet onions, diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 5 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons group cumin
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 x 12 oz. of any craft made pale ale
- 4 cups diced tomatoes with liquid
- 2 cans black beans, drained
- 2 cans kidney beans, drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the beef in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the garlic and onions, and cook until they're translucent.
- Stir in all of the herbs and spices.
- Add the beer, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Add the tomatoes and beans, and simmer for 2 hours.
Beers to Buy
You've reached the end! Congratulations on coming so far. If you've tried all the beer styles up until now you're ahead of 97% of the country with your beer experience. These last brews represent some of the biggest and baddest in existence. If you can handle them you can handle anything.
As we wrap up, keep in mind that there are dozens more styles out there and it was difficult to decide on which few to feature. I urge you to keep trying new styles and the beer epiphanies will keep on coming. You're off to a great start.
- Russian Imperial Stout
- Belgian Quadruple
Leave a comment down below with your thoughts on cooking with beer or any of the styles listed.
Congrats again for completing the beer missions. You are officially beer geeks ; )