Cooking with beer adds a deep, earthy flavor to savory dishes such as chili, soup, and stew; and a nutty, caramelized flavor to baked goods. It’s great for just about every cooking technique, too: baking, braising, deglazing, battering, sauces, marinating, and simmering.
Here’s how it works: The hops used in brewing beer make it bitter by nature. However, the malt found in beer provides just enough natural sweetness to balance the flavor perfectly. In addition, foods high in sugars — vegetables such as carrots, corn, and onions (think caramelized onions) — are balanced by the bitterness. The bitter edge also helps balance very rich and creamy foods.
Go with something dark and rich, such as a porter, when making chili.
Just like white and red wine, light and dark beers have distinctive flavor profiles. Often a recipe calls for beer without giving you an idea of where to begin. Here are some general guidelines for how to cook with beer:
If you’re still overwhelmed with all of the choices, pale ale is a versatile choice: it’s hoppy, rich and fruity, without being overpowering. But, look out for the India Pale Ales (IPA’s): they might be great to drink, but are often too bitter to cook with.
Just like cooking with wine, what you put in is what you get out. So, while choosing the right beer to cook with don’t pick the bottom of the barrel. Use something you would enjoy drinking, because as you cook, the flavors will reduce and intensify!
Afraid that serving your kids some cupcakes or stew made with beer might get them, well, a little buzzed? Fear not. Beer does not have much alcohol to begin with (it’s mostly water), and as soon as you cook or bake with it, the alcohol evaporates quickly.
This classic Belgian beef stew is known for its sweet-sour combination of caramelized onions and beer. Any dark Belgian-style ale would be a good choice here. As with most stews, the dish will taste even better a day or two after it’s made.
The carbonnade can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.
Source: https://www.foodandwine.com; https://www.allrecipes.com
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