Why cook with beer?
Because it makes meals taste better.
Pretty simple, huh?
Just like wine, beer can really enhance a recipe.
Chefs have known this for years, and more and more are catching on. Beer’s advantage is that it can provide almost any flavor – floral, nutty, sweet, bitter, coffee, roasted, honey, and the list goes on and on.
Wine can’t even come close to this variety. On top of that, beer is much cheaper, a benefit for the home cook and the restaurant chef.
Beer and Food Recipes:
Some basic guidelines:
- Never cook with a beer you wouldn’t drink. If you don’t like it in your glass, you’re not going to like it in your meal.
- Match intensities. The beer and food should be in harmony. Don’t cover up the flavor of the food with an intense beer, and vice-versa. That defeats the purpose of using the beer. Try to strike a balance with flavors, and it’s OK to just have the beer as a background flavor, as long as it enhances the rest of the dish.
- Take advantage of similarities. If the meal has a citrusy flavor, such as a Mexican dish that uses limes, use a beer with a citrusy flavor. A West Coast IPA would work well in this situation because of the citrusy hops that they use. Making a chocolate pudding? A porter or stout would bring it to life with their roasted chocolate notes.
- Be careful with bitterness. It’s easy to spoil a dish with a bitter beer. Remember that when you cook beer it concentrates the flavors, so a bitter beer will become even more bitter when cooked. Pale Ales and IPAs can work wonderfully, but err on the side of caution and don’t go overboard.
- Don’t just add beer for the sake of adding it. Really think about what it brings to the table. Maybe it’s not right for what you’re making?