Cooking with Beer

Much like pairing with cheese, cooking with beer is often overlooked in place of wine. But this is a delicious way to explore the range of beer and often is used in a similar way to cooking with wine. Because of the savory yeast and malt flavors, beer is not that often used in desserts and when it is, it is usually a sweeter more malty beer that people reach for, or a fruit beer like a lambic. However, as a braising liquid or sauce ingredient, any beer you like or matches your meal will work. And hey, who am I to tell you not to put an IPA in your cupcakes if you want to? So next time you are looking to braise a pot roast or you are thinking of adding wine to your pot of stew, try a beer instead.

Welsh Rarebit

Since it originates in the UK, an English style beer is where my mind goes first. But really most beers will work. I wouldn’t reach for something too mild as you wouldn’t really taste it. My preference is for a Nut Brown Ale or a Porter.

3 c aged Cheddar, grated

1 Tbsp butter

1 c beer

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp dry mustard

⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water. Bring to boil over high heat. Place large metal bowl on top for a double boiler. Add butter. When it melts, pour in beer. When beer is warm, whisk in cheese, adding about a quarter cup at a time.

When all the cheese has melted, slowly add beaten egg, whisking constantly. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt, paprika, mustard, and red pepper flakes. Continue to whisk, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, about one minute.

Quick and Easy Spicy IPA BBQ Sauce

This sauce would be equally good with other beers, but since IPA’s pair so well with BBQ, spice and big flavors, it seems like a great choice to me.

2-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp BBQ rub (you can use any you like, my favorite can be found following this recipe)

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 t hot sauce, more if desired

1 C Ketchup

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T Brown Sugar

1 T Molasses

1 T Mustard

½ C IPA, reduced by half

Sauté the garlic in a little oil until fragrant. Add the spices and toast briefly before combining the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick and dark, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings

Chocolate Stout Muffins

Usually “chocolate stout” is followed by “cake” or “cupcakes”. However, I really love the way the savory yeasty malt flavor plays with the chocolate in these not as sweet muffins. A slightly healthier way to have beer for breakfast perhaps?

4oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

4oz (1 stick) butter or 1/2 cup oil

6 oz (~3/4 cup) sugar

4oz (2 large) eggs
4 oz (1/2 cup) sour cream

4oz (1/2 cup) stout
8 oz (~1.5 cup) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375.

Melt the butter and chocolate together and then, off the heat, stir in the sugar. While the butter is cooling, whisk the dry ingredients together, including any spices you may be using. Mix together the butter mixture and the egg. Add the sour cream and beer and whisk until uniform. Add all at once to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Grease a muffin tin and pour the batter in evenly. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotate and bake for another 10 minutes or until the muffin springs back when poked. Allow to cool completely before topping with Lambic Whipped Cream Cheese (recipe follows).

Lambic Whipped Cream Cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2Tbsp sugar

1 cup lambic, any flavor you like, reduced by half

In the bowl of your mixer, whip the cream cheese, sugar and lambic with the whisk attachment until it starts to soften. Add the cream and vanilla and continue mixing until soft peaks just begin to form. Be careful you don’t over beat.