“There is no such thing as a bad beer. It’s that some taste better than others.”
I work for a company that owns two award-winning breweries. Inevitably I get to cook with some awesome beers and to drink the odd pint as well. Any time you want to send some promos over to taste guys* . We are are going all out beer, what is beer? How to cook with beer and I’m going to post links to great recipes made with beer. You might have tried classic beer-battered fish and chips, the nation’s favourite dish. What about trying mussels steamed with beer or beer and cheese soup?
Click on the picture for a direct recipe link
*Other great ales are available like Adnams, Gales and Timothy Taylors. Remember if you are happy to drink it you can cook with it.
What is beer?
Beer has been brewed for thousands of years and it is the oldest recorded recipe. The Egyptians recorded making beer in 5,000 B.C. It was made with pomegranates, dates and herbs it would be quite different to today’s brews. Modern beer is made from grains and water fermented with yeast. Hops are added for flavour and as a preservative. There are lots of different styles from light ales to dark chocolatey coloured porters and stouts. Beer is third highest consumed liquid in the world after water and tea.
Cooking with beer
Now you don’t have to be afraid to cook with beer. In Belgium, they have made an art of using beer much as the French would use wine an many American recipes include beer. Especially as they have undergone a renaissance in brewing with many new craft and artisan breweries.
As a marinade for meat, fish or seafood, beer penetrates, flavours and tenderizes. As an ingredient beer is less acidic than wine so the food can be left in the marinade longer increasing the flavour. In roasting or braising beer used to baste the foods. As an ingredient in a basting beer imparts a rich, dark colour as the sugar caramelise.
“He was a wise man who invented beer.”
Matching beer and food
Beer is often thought of as a poor relation to wine but is a complex drink including many additional aromatics. There are around one hundred and thirty different styles of beer available to cook with and match with food. So how do you pair food and beer? As with choosing a suitable wine, you should try to complement with, contrast or cut through the food flavours. Complementing matches similar flavours. For instance the slightly sour, dark crust of a pizza can be complemented by the traditional toasted malt flavours of a Pilsner style lager. Pilsners also complement spicier foods and drink well with Mexican style salsas.
Porters are dark brown in colour, sometimes almost black in the heavier roasted versions. Their depth of rich flavour, medium body and lower level of bitterness mean they are a perfect match for grilled and barbecued food. For example, burgers, steaks, chicken, any kebabs or even seafood, will pair perfectly with a porter. The roasted notes in the beer really match up with any charred and caramelised flavours produced when cooking. Try contrasting the food and beer flavours try a really good quality dark chocolate with a glass of Belgium cherry or raspberry Kriek. These are lambic beers originally brewed by monks.
“Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!”