Cooking With Beer: Here’s How to Do It Right

While the most common way to enjoy a beer is by cracking open the can or bottle and taking a sip, did you know that you can also cook with beer? Adding beer to recipes can provide distinctive flavor notes that you can’t achieve any other way.

To help you get started experimenting with beer in the kitchen, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite ideas for cooking with beer.

Cooking With Beer: The Basics

If you’ve never cooked with beer before, there are a few basics to keep in mind. As with wine, if you don’t enjoy drinking it, you probably won’t enjoy cooking with it, so only cook with beers you like to drink.

Start by using light beers that have a lower alcohol content; they’re less bitter, and the milder flavors of a pilsner or lighter pale ale are more flexible and forgiving. And while it might be tempting to add beer to your next dish with a heavy hand, too much beer can make a meal bitter and unappetizing. Start adding beer in small amounts and taste as you go whenever possible; you can always add more beer to the recipe later.

Get Creative in the Kitchen With Beer

The easiest way to learn how to cook with beer is to take time and experiment. When a recipe calls for water and you think the flavor of beer might work instead, try it out. Liven up a stir-fry with a splash of Bell’s Oberon at the end. Or, add depth to a hearty stew or chili by adding Guinness to the stock. The best way to learn how beer affects your cooking is to give it a shot and see what happens.

Use Beer to Balance Acidic Foods

Acidic foods are full of flavor, but that signature tang of acid can overwhelm a dish when not balanced correctly. Fortunately, beer is great for balancing out acidity. Adding malty, slightly sweet beer can provide nuanced flavor and make a straightforward sour flavor profile more interesting.

Try it out by adding a splash of New Holland Cabin Fever brown ale to your next batch of pico de gallo. For a more ambitious experiment, marinate peaches in a pale ale like Founders All Day IPA and grill them, then serve on pulled pork alongside sour pickled onions.

Make Melt-in-Your-Mouth Roasts Using Beer Marinades

Beer contains enzymes that break down tough fibers in meat, leaving even the toughest cuts wonderfully tender. Dark beers like stouts and porters go well with beef or venison, and lighter beers like pilsners pair perfectly with pork, chicken, or even seafood.

Next time you’re tempted to throw away a cut of beef you’ve had in the freezer for ages, try using a marinade that includes Founders Breakfast Stout. Got chicken you need to use up? Try a marinade with Budweiser for tender chicken and a subtle beer flavor.

Create a Rich Beer Cheese Dip

When you’re cooking with beer, the biggest risk is that your dish will turn out too bitter. The natural remedies to this bitterness predicament are sugar and fat. Savor the flavors in beer without the bitterness by making a caramelized onion and beer cheese dip. A medley of cheeses alongside beer-caramelized onions and brown sugar make this dish a warm and savory crowd-pleasing treat. We like using Founder’s All Day IPA in our beer cheese dips.

Bake With Beer and Harness the Power of Yeast

One of the essential ingredients in beer is yeast, which makes beer an ideal add-in for homemade bread and other baked treats. Most beer bread recipes call for just four ingredients — self-rising flour, beer, butter, and sugar — but there are a variety of beer bread mixes that are also available at your local store.

A classic brown ale like Smithwick’s adds a satisfying nutty flavor to bread. If you want to try your hand at incorporating beer in your sweet treats, start by baking with dark beers. Replace some of the liquid in a favorite recipe with New Holland’s The Poet oatmeal stout for an extra-fluffy crumb structure and a rich chocolatey flavor.

Enrich Veggie Flavors by Roasting With Beer

Bitter hops and toasty malt are friends to vegetables; they enhance natural flavors and add depth to a simple pan of roasted veggies. Next time you’re preparing vegetables like carrots, parsnips, broccoli, or cauliflower, toss them in a splash of a brown ale like Bellaire Brown from Short’s Brewing Company and then roast as usual. Or, add a splash of ale to the filling of your next pot pie.

Use Stouts to Create Rich Stews

Cooking with beer can be tricky since the longer you cook the beer, the more water you’ll cook off and the more concentrated the beer’s flavor will become. In most cases, it’s best to add the beer toward the end of your cook time to avoid overly bitter notes.

One notable exception to this rule comes when making stews with dark beer. Try adding a heavy pour of New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk to simmer along with rough-cut root vegetables and a chuck roast for a stew you won’t forget.

On Sale This Week in Our Stores: Guinness, Budweiser

Cooking with beer is easy and fun, and we have a great variety of beers on sale this week in our stores. Pick up a pack of Guinness and create a hearty stew, or grab some Budweiser for your very own loaf of beer bread from scratch.