December 16, 2016
Learn a little bit more about how to cook and pair different foods with beer.
Cooking with Beer
- Experiment with your old recipes, replacing part or all of the recommended liquid with your beer of choice. There are not many cookbooks which include beer as an ingredient, but with a little experimentation you can surely spice up your old favourites with a new twist.
- Replace one quarter part of the liquid base of your soup recipe with your favourite beer to bring out the flavour of spices and vegetables and to tenderize any meat you may have included.
- Use beer instead of marinade or water when steaming, poaching or marinating fish. Beer can also be used as the liquid base in fish or chicken batters, adding an excellent and unique flavour.
- Add extra flavour and life to your bread recipes by replacing all or most of the water required with beer. When baking bread it is best to use a light beer. A lemon or apricot beer adds a nice touch.
- Marinade chicken in a 50/50 mix of beer and your favourite sauce, such as teriyaki or barbecue sauce. Allow the meat to absorb the ingredients in the refrigerator overnight before grilling up the tasty chicken. Apply the marinade and beer to the meat while cooking with a pastry brush for a delicious summer favourite.
Beer and Food Pairing
- The more hops bitterness the beer has, the heartier or livelier the meal needs to be to hold its own. Don’t overwhelm your palate or meal and ruin what the chef was trying to achieve.
- Another general rule is keep sweet with sweet, and tart with tart. Try to keep your beer sweeter or tarter than the sweet or tart food on the plate. There are exceptions, like pairing drier robust beers with sweet chocolates.
- Throw all of the rules out the window and experiment with contrasting and complimentary pairings. Match foods with complimentary flavours, or try contrasting them and create a slew of unique results.
- For those of you who are bound to the wine pairing school of thought, think of ale as red wine and lager as white wine. Hoppy beers can also be used in place of a pairing that calls for an acidic wine.
- Though it honestly doesn’t matter, these tips might help you to convert your taste buds — or those of a friend — over to beer.
- Taste is very subjective and what works for one person might not work for another. If it tastes good to you, then go for it. However, also be open to suggestions, as these tend to come with some knowledge and possible palate enlightenment.
Beer and Cheese Pairing
Prefer your cheese with a heartier drink? Had enough wine for the time being? Beer has as much (if not much, much more) potential for perfect pairings with your favourite cheeses. Sure, it's difficult to generalize, but here are some good things to think about when selecting that perfect pairing.
Balance - Try to avoid a situation where one taste overpowers the other. Many high-gravity or especially bitter beers, such as India Pale Ales are liable to walk all over a more delicate cheese such as a fresh, young Loire Valley chèvre. At the same time, a pungent washed-rind cheese could destroy the delicate, floral nature of a true German Pilsner.
Texture - is another key area to watch your balance. Richer cheeses succeed when paired with more effervescent beers. Conversely, beer with density and substantial mouth-feel might not be the best pair for a triple cream.
Terroir - While there is no guarantee for a winning pair, matching beer with cheese produced in the same locale can yield fascinating combinations. This has long been the sommelier's strategy for putting together wine and cheese, and the idea extends to beer, as complementary tastes really have the potential to elevate your sensory experience.