Cooking with Beer Basics

Contributed by Roger Mittag

Beer has a vast range of properties, making it a great partner in the kitchen. It can be applied like other liquids used for cooking but a few considerations should be kept in mind. Try to match the intensity of the beer to the fare you are serving. Generally speaking, beers of low-bitterness are best for cooking. Beer should not be reduced, as even a marginally bitter beer may become too bitter in the final product. Small amounts of bitterness can be balanced by a hint of acidity, salt or sweetness. Like the good rule of thumb says, taste (and take a sip) as you go!

Suggestions to incorporate beer into your cooking:

  • Bake with it! Using beer in baking helps to add moisture, flavour and the carbonation acts as a leavening agent, fluffing up the mix.
  • Use as a batter for fish. A good rule is the lighter the fish, the lighter the beer. Beer’s carbonation will create a fluffy batter.
  • You can use it to braise in the oven or on a grill with the lid closed. Beer can be a covering liquid and cook at very low temperatures for a long time.
  • Deglaze with it after you have caramelized onions in a frying pan, add a small amount of beer to help to remove scrapings from the bottom of the pan and add more flavour!
  • Macerate fruit by soaking it in beer. Fresh fruit bathed in your favourite strong or fruit beer will become saturated with the beer’s flavours.
  • Marinate meat! Beer is a great marinade because its carbonation and enzymes help to break down proteins in meat, tenderizing and flavouring it at the same time.
  • Poach fish using beer over low heat, adding a small amount of beer for the fish to rest in. Beer will moisturize the fish and add flavour.
  • Simmer your meal at a lower heat and add a little beer for flavour being careful not to boil the beer away to its bitter ingredients.
  • Spritz beer to add moisture to the outside of your favourite BBQ meat. It will keep the meat moist while adding flavour.

How do you like to cook with beer? Tell us using the hashtag #CheersCanada.