Cooking with beer is not a new idea. We’ve been doing it for years- have you ever made a stew without a “splash” of stout. But things in the beer world have changed dramatically over the last decade or so. We now have a variety of beer, at least here in the states, that we may never have had before. So, if you’re a beer lover, or you know a beer lover, who also likes to spend time in the kitchen, craft beer cooking is something you need to look into. You’ll find many dishes, including stews, soups and yes, even sweets, can be flavored with beer- you’ll find the potential is limitless.
You may have read in an earlier post that at one point I had a small brew pub. It made sense for me to include the beer we brewed and the grain we used into our recipes as much as possible. To start, and get comfortable with craft beer cooking I purchased the two books below. Both are great and full of wonderful recipes. As a matter of fact, even many I wouldn’t use as they were, I tweaked into something that worked great. My “Irish” Onion Soup- made with a dry Irish Stout couldn’t be made fast enough. The Vanilla Porter cake, sold out as soon as we opened. So why cook with beer? Beer, like wine, adds a variety of rich, wonderful flavors to your dishes. There are so many flavors in beer now you can certainly find one for almost any dish.
You could even have tasting parties like you would with wine. Or set up a great tasting party by pairing beers and food, a useful chart at Craftbeer.com for pairing beers and foods.
While some recipes call specifically for beer, many recipes that call for wine can be prepared with a beer. Beer is the new wine. I say this for wine and beer- if you wouldn’t drink it-don’t cook with it. Bad flavor is bad flavor, it won’t improve with cooking.
Different Beers, Different Flavors
Different beers pair well with different foods, so it’s important to learn the taste differences before you hit the kitchen. Look at the chart I linked to earlier. If they pair well for a tasting, they will pair well in a recipe. You can find beer recipes for every meal of the day, whether you’re cooking for one or an entire party.
the two following books are a great introductions to cooking with beer. Great gift ideas for the beer lover you know.
The Craft Beer Bites Cookbook takes your favorite brewpub grub and kicks it up a notch. From Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip to Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Stout Cream Cheese Frosting, each recipe captures the complex flavors of a perfectly balanced brew, allowing you to savor the nutty notes in an American brown ale or the zesty bite of an IPA.
The Craft Beer Cookbook doesn’t think you need to wait until five o’clock to pop the cap off of a quality beer. From tender pork chops marinated in a bold and citrusy IPA to apple fritters drizzled with an amber ale caramel sauce, the recipes in this book are not only delicious, but they also capture the complex notes and flavors of a perfectly balanced brew.