Beer can be divided into two main groups: ales and lagers. Ale, the original beer, is brewed in a way that results in earthy and fruity flavors. Lagers tend to be lighter and drier. Each type of beer, and the styles that represent them, has a distinctly different flavor that pairs well with certain foods. Below, check out a breakdown of several common types and some recipes that use each one.
Dressings and marinades: Beer can make a significant addition to marinades when grilled meat or barbecue as well as salad dressings. Acidic beers can be used in place of vinegar in salad dressings. Suggestion for use in cooking: Pale Lagers, low-bitterness beers in dressings. Richer amber or brown ales for steak, pork, or chicken marinades.
Beer batter: Beer will lighten up the batter that you might use to deep-fry main course dishes such as fish or chicken. A lightly hopped Amber Ale or Lager is your best bet.
Deglaze: You can whip up a quick sauce for roasted or sautéed items by using beer to deglaze your frying pan. It is not recommended to reduce beer, as it brings forth too much bitterness. Instead, use a Pale, low bitterness beer that matches the nature of the dish. Find harmonies.
Soups and sauces: The right beer can bring a unique richness to meaty gravy and hearty soups. It’s a sin to make a cheese soup without beer! Look to use a Scotch Ale, Doppelbock, or Sweet Stout.
Poaching or steaming liquid: Making mussels or clams? Try a Witbier, American wheat ale, or other lightly-hopped, delicate brews.
Dessert: Bring your dessert to a higher level! Rich, stronger beers can be substituted for other liquids in pastries and cakes. Utilize a fruit beer to slice in another layer of fruit sauce or compote. Want to make beer the star of the show? Plop a scoop of ice cream into a glass of Russian Imperial Stout. Thank us later!