Like wine, beer is a versatile, nuanced cooking ingredient. Dark beers add a layer of complex flavor to stews, sauces, and marinades, while a crisp, fizzy lager does a great job lightening batters for fried treats like onion rings. We’ve rounded up our favorite recipes for cooking with beer.
The carbonation in beer makes for extra light and crispy fried foods. The red snapper in our fish tacos have a mild flour and egg batter, while our beer-battered onion rings are just a little sweet-spicy thanks to honey and paprika. One of our favorite fried appetizers is an elegant dish of zucchini blossoms stuffed with anchovies and fried in a simple lager or seltzer batter.
Beer is also a flavorful braising liquid. For a fruity pulled pork, braise the meat in lager, spices, and canned peaches. It makes a great sandwich with arugula, red onion, and a dijon-peach spread. For a rich brisket, cook the beef in a mixture of stout beer, bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, balsamic, and thyme. A creamy pimento cheese adds brightness.
To wash down these dishes, try a beer cocktail. To make a chavela, mix a Mexican lager with tomato juice and hot sauce. To turn your chavela into a michelada, add lime juice and Tajín, a Mexican seasoning blend of dried chiles, lime, and salt. Famed chef Rick Bayless like to make a michelada-bloody mary hybrid. It’s made with beer, tomato and citrus juices, hot sauce, and a shot of tequila.