Cooking With Beer – A Chef’s Guide

What is the best way to cook with beer? Beer can be used to marinate or tenderize meats, bringing flavor to bread and also adding a unique flavor to desserts. Beer can help moisten food and also helps bakeries rise as it’s a yeast-based ingredient. It’s possible to use any kind of beer for cooking but it is important to select the correct beer for the recipe you are making.

Beer is among the oldest alcoholic drinks and is among the most well-known of all alcoholic beverages consumed to this day. Over hundreds and hundreds of years and, more specifically, since the advent of modern technology in the production of beer There are thousands of varieties of beers.

Beer has surpassed all expectations and, even if you’re not the greatest beer lover we can promise you there will be plenty on the market that you’ll enjoy.

Have you thought of making your own beer-based dishes? What is the process and what effect does it have on your food? How can you integrate it into your diet? What beers do you prefer to use to accomplish what?

There’s an inexplicably large number of questions about beer, but there are very few concise guides to cooking specifically with beer.

This guide can serve as your go-to source for anything information you may require. Without further due, The Chef’s Guide To Cooking With Beer.

How Is Beer Made?

We won’t be taking an in-depth look into the making of beers, and the various types they are, since that’s an entire book by itself. We will, however, provide a description of how it functions in order to be aware of how each element will impact your food and the final taste.

Beer is made using four basic ingredients:

The most basic idea (and goal for brewers) is to extract the sugars from the grains to convert them into alcohol and carbon dioxide (CO2) to ultimately create beer.

Step 1: Malting

The process of malting is where the grains germinate by moving them until they attain a moisture content of about 45 percent. After that, the grains are dried and then roasted.

Step 2: Mash and then lauter

The grains are again stepped to activate the enzymes in starch that cause the grains to release sugars. The water is then drained leaving the liquid sweet and syrupy. Lautering is used to get rid of any extra grains left.

Step 3: Adding hops

Other spices and hops are included in the liquid to give it flavor. This is how the majority of beers obtain their distinct aromas and flavors.

Hops are the reason for their bitterness in the mix i.e. the higher the number of hops, the greater the bitterness of the drink. There are over 150 hop varieties each with its own distinctive flavor.

Step 4: Fermentation

This is among the steps that are required before the bottling stage and involves yeast being added to the mix in order to ferment (break into) to break down sugars.

As the different types of hops can alter the taste, the type of yeast used will also have a major impact.

Every step of the process, from the harvesting until the final bottling (storing) will affect the final result in terms of appearance, aroma, taste, and mouth-feel. All of these aspects are to be considered when making use of food products.

Like wines, which are served with food, so too are beers, and it’s equally important to be aware of the right flavor combination.

Different Types Of Beer

Beers are classified into two major types: ales and Lagers.


Ales are produced at higher temperatures and can be ready for drinking in about 3 weeks.

Ales is a larger class of beers than the lagers and includes a variety of sub-categories (too numerous to mention all of them).

Here are some of the significant categories that you need to know and will likely be utilized in your recipes:

  • Porter
  • Stout
  • Brown Ales
  • Amber/Red Ales
  • Pale Ales


Lagers are fermented at lower temperatures than ales and are then stored for weeks or months at temperatures that are close to freezing.

There are five main kinds of Lagers. Each one also has different sub-categories. Each kind of lager is unique in its characteristics and tastes. There’s no beer that tastes exactly the same as the other, which is what makes it so thrilling.

Park LagerAmber LagerBockDark LagerSpeciality Lager
American Light LagerMarzen/OktoberfestTraditional BockMunich DunkelWinter warmers / holiday beers
PilsnerVienna LagerHelles BockSchwarzbierHerb & Spice
Munich HellesDoppelbockSmoke

How Can Beer Be Used In Cooking?

As you can see from the concise description of how beers are produced and the types of beers they are you can imagine the number of varieties each subcategory comes with and more.

Each step in the process of making from the initial harvesting to the final bottling techniques will affect the result in terms of flavor, and quality.

That means that there is an infinity of textures, flavors, and attributes, which leads to a wide range of applications. Each beer (not just one category, but the type of beer it is made from and the year in which the beer was produced) will affect the final taste that the dish you pair it with.

Beers are often used in soups, stews, casseroles, and other types of braised dishes and recipes.

They can be used to make stunning sauces and marinades that be served with other meals and add an extra taste.

Beers are commonly employed to help lighten batters to cook crunchy fish or onion rings and virtually every other food item that is deep-fried – sure, even chicken.

It’s another well-known cooking method that utilizes an opened beer can which is put inside a chicken or turkey cavity in order for its liquid (beer) to evaporate in the cavity. This results in a delicious and moist roast chicken.

Surprisingly enough, there are numerous beers that are suitable for the preparation of meals with seafood. Jamaican beers are great for barbecued fish that is smoky.

Are you thinking of the addition of beer to the cake batter? It’s a good idea to test it!

Beer is made up of naturally-occurring yeast which allows the beer to function as a flavoring agent, a consistency adjuster, as well as a rising agent in bakes and cakes.

In the end, you can use beers to make the most delicious bread you’ve ever had. Similar to cakes, they function as a flavoring agent and raising agent. The beer will provide excellent and distinctive flavor and texture to numerous bread.

What Beers Are Good For Cooking?

This is all about the flavor pairings. Wine, as you’ve probably guessed, is often served with food that complements it best. These pairings can be made by making use of wine for drinking as well as using it in the food as a whole.

There aren’t any better or worse beers to be used in food preparation. You must consider the food items you intend to put the beer for (marinades cakes, bread, etc.)) and what taste profile you want to achieve (smokey sweet, yeasty, spicy light, etc. ).

The bottom line is that it’s completely up to you and your own personal preferences. You will need to conduct lots of experiments to find the right taste.

Here’s a short illustration of food and beer pairings. This will assist you in choosing (flavor-wise in any case) what kind of beer to pair with specific food items or ingredients.

Don’t forget, it doesn’t mean that all beverages in this category work well. You’ll need to test with various brands, etc.

This is a good beginning point to help guide you.

ComponentExamples of ingredientsExamples of beer types
GrainsFarro Quinoa Arborio rice Wild rice PolentaAmerican Amber Ale
Protector Organic American Amber Ale
Societe The Heiress Pilsner
Beans & LegumesGreen beans Butter beans Lentils Chickpeas Fava beans Split peasBrown Ale
Modern Times Black House Coffee Ale
Garage Imperial Oatmeal Brown Ale
ShellfishLobster Shrimp Crab ClamsSaison
Allagash Saison Violette
Enegren Schoner Tag
Rich meatsLamb Beef loin Beef rib-eyeAmerican Brett
Belgian-style Flanders
Crooked Stave Wild Brett

PorkVirtually any pork cutIndian Pale Ale
Belgian-style Dubbel
AleSmith for Hope Hazy IPA

PoultryChicken TurkeyPale LagerBlack Plague Acid Drop Light Lager
Game birdsDuck Guinea fowl QuailAmerican Pale Ale
American Brown Ale
Cooperage Captain Curt Pale Ale
Grilled vegetablesVirtually any grilled vegetableDry Stout
German-style Schwarzbier
AleSmith Speedway Stout

Does Beer Lose Alcohol When It’s Cooked?

As with any alcohol-based wine beer, beer, liquors, etc. The alcohol itself is vaporized during the cooking process.

In the event of stirring beer into hot liquid, such as soup, it instantly loses about 15 percent of the ABV (alcohol per volume) content.

If you simmer the liquid for about 15 mins and you decide that you are making mulled wine this percentage could increase to 20 20%.

If you use alcohol to prepare curries or stews that require one hour to simmer around 75 percent of the alcohol will evaporate over the course of that time.

To cook for a longer time, for example, roasts that require cooking for approximately 2 1/2 hours(2 hours and 30 minutes) most of the alcohol will be evaporated and 95% of it will be specific.

It is unlikely that you will be able to completely evaporate all of the alcohol, so it’s best to use it in moderate amounts.

Is Cooking With Beer Healthy?

Would you be amazed when we tell you the cooking process using beer could actually be healthier!

A typical 12-ounce beer bottle has around 150 calories. Most beers aren’t loaded with cholesterol or any other fat.

It’s also extremely poor in sodium (salt) and is surprisingly abundant in many minerals and vitamins like B-type vitamins, magnesium selenium, potassium, as well as mineral phosphorus.

Naturally drinking beer as it is, excessive quantities of alcohol will not be good for any body part. Alcohol consumption that is excessive can trigger numerous issues with your digestive system, liver and brain function, heart issues, and motor functions.

When cooking with beer, as the alcohol is evaporated and thus calories are reduced could be reduced, it’s an ideal way to flavor your food and is a great alternative to other methods or the addition of other ingredients.

Another advantage is that when you cook with beer, the vitamins and minerals stay in their original form and don’t get diluted by the alcohol. This means that you have an added nutritional benefit when you use beer in place of liquids like broth or water.

Dos And Don’ts When Cooking With Beer

While drinking beer and cooking doesn’t have to be a science-fiction endeavor There are a few rules and guidelines you need to be aware of.


  • Substitute the entire liquid that the recipe calls for (the stock or water) by drinking beer. Beer adds more flavor and is more nutritious than the other ingredients used in the recipe.
  • Take note of the flavors of the food you’re creating and the beverage you’re using. There aren’t any beers that go well with every food the same way wine does.
  • Consider the amount of moisture. When you marinate meat in beer prior to cooking it lets the meat absorb the entire moisture and create a soft and juicy product.


  • Avoid using large quantities of alcohol regardless of how low its alcohol percentage is while cooking meals. The alcohol’s flavor can overwhelm the taste of the primary ingredients and also cause and increase the flavor of strange foods.
  • Alcohol is not able to completely evaporate when cooking. Therefore, ensure you are able to consume alcohol safely by your guests and you don’t make use of excessive amounts.
  • Avoid the flames! There will always be alcohol left over after cooking, unless you’re skilled to master the art of flame, you should not keep food near the flame.

If you’re cooking by a fire that is open be cautious and make sure you have blankets or fire extinguishers nearby.

What Does Cooking Meat In Beer Do?

There are many ways to make use of beer during the process of cooking meat.

If you are you marinate your cut of meat in beer the beer will soften the meat as well as add tons of flavors. Beer is also a great source of nutrients, as we’ve discussed previously.

Beer is loaded with enzymes that can help break down any fibrous fibers the meat piece has and, in essence, soften it. This makes the meat more tender and tasty.

The majority of recipes that use beer help meat become tender – particularly in more prolonged cooking techniques.

Beer also adds lots of flavors. This is incredible because the taste and style of the beer you choose to drink will be infused with the meat you’re marinating.

Beer is a great choice as a flavoring ingredient during grilling or roasting. Beer will give a dark and deep color to the sauce that is used for basting. It is infused into the meat piece while cooking.

If beer is utilized as an alternative to water (so that it does not get diluted) it will improve the flavor of the ingredients and meats in a stew. The alcohol is evaporated leaving the flavor that the beverage has to perform its job.

How To Pair Meat And Beer

The use of beer to cook meat is a common method. However, there are a few suggestions and tricks that we can offer to help select the right beer for your particular meat.

Choose flavors that are similar to yours

For instance, light beers (such as pale lager) can be enjoyed with light meals (such as a basic Chicken sandwich).

If you’re planning to cook a dish using lemons, consider the beer that has lemon flavor (or comparable flavors) like that of the Robinsons Trooper ale (Iron Maiden beer).

Use contrasting flavors

We’ve all heard what we’ve mentioned about matching flavors, but if you’re wanting to be adventurous, consider using opposite food and drink tastes(that are still compatible).

As an example, you can mix the sweet taste of barbecued food items such as barbecue pork ribs and bitter-tasting beer, such as the Sunriver Vicious Mosquito IPA.

Utilize subtle flavorings

It is impossible to be wrong when it comes to pairing when you choose lighter beer with subtle flavor. These flavors won’t dominate your food or drink in any manner.

Its Duck Foot Logger Export Lager is a fantastic example of a delicious taste light beer.

Flavors for cleansing

When you prepare food items that are fried, fat or spicy meals it is crucial to select refreshing beverages like a light, fresh beer. Look into the Almanac Vibes Hoppy Pilsner.

ItemTypes of beerTry this
Turkey (roasted)Dark malts
Amber ales
Ground Breaker Dark Ale
Protector Organic American Amber Ale
Beefsteak (grilled)Red ale

Evans Joaquin Dead Mexican Red Ale
Porterhouse steak (grilled)PortersLeft Hand Hard Wired NITRO Coffee Porter
Second Chance Tabula Rasa Toasted Porter
Rare steak and raw beef (steak tartare)StoutBelching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout
Black Plaque Medusa Imperial Milk Stout
Pulled pork (make sure the base flavor matches the type of beer)Pale Ales

AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale .394
Pulled pork (for spicy pulled pork dishes)Honey Ale 

Pizza Port California Honey Ale
Beef burgers (high-fat content)Pale AleDuck Foot Old Bro Hazy Pale Ale
Beef burgers (lean)PilsnerFremont Golden Pilsner
Vegetarian burgers (grilled vegetables)Wheat beersMaui Pineapple Mana Wheat
Chicken Wings (spicy buffalo)Pale Ales
Indian Pale Ales
Temescal Patio Pale Ale
Abnormal Boss Pour IPA
Chicken Wings (spiced dry rub)Brown AleBig Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale
Chicken Wings (grilled barbeque)PortersBarrel Brothers Dark Sarcasm Porter
Roast Chicken Amber Ales
German-style Lagers
Bell’s Amber Ale
Enegren Rasenmaher-Bier Lager

Can You Bake With Beer?

There is a tonne of ways to bake using beers, both in sweet and savory categories. There are many cakes you can bake as well as muffins, pancakes, and pancakes. biscuits as well as bread.

Beer is a flavoring agent in addition to having various other purposes. Because it contains yeast (and carbonation) within it, it is in a position to be a lettuce agent in certain baked goods and allow the cake to rise in baking and cooking.

However, there are a few rules to be aware of when baking with beer because baked goods are highly technical and require precise quantities and procedures.

How To Choose A Beer For Dessert Items

When baking using beer, it’s crucial to take into consideration the taste profile of the product and beer before making a decision.

For baking cakes and other desserts, always start with the porters or stouts. Due to the way they’re made (brewed using malt that has been roasted) they are infused with some cocoa and coffee in their brews.

The top beers for desserts:

  • Porters are characterized by a chocolate-like taste The flavor profile of chocolate is more distinct and is a much less bitter flavor than Stouts.
  • Stouts will be perfect with coffee-flavored food items since they tend to have a more bitter, intense coffee flavor.
  • Brown Ales also have an excellent flavor profile with hints of nuttiness and caramels. They’re well with sweet sauces.
  • Amber Ale is also a fantastic dessert beer because of its complex yet simple flavor selections.

Tips For Making Desserts With Beer

It is essential to use an unopened beer that has been kept at room temperature. In general, making use of ingredients that are at room temperature for desserts is extremely advantageous and highly advised.

Pour the beer at room temperature and let it rest for five minutes before adding it to the recipe. This allows the foam to disperse and the carbonation that is excessive to evaporate.

Beer pairs well when paired with dairy products with full fat and not the fat-free or low-fat types. It is acidic and could be able to curdle low-fat ingredients.

Desserts made with beer are best prepared and eaten fresh. The taste of beer when opened may change dramatically and can alter the flavor of the dessert.

You can try various beers with different flavors and use this table to select the most appropriate beer for those desserts.

ItemsTypes of beersTry this
New York CheesecakeLambic beers3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze
Tiramisu or Chocolate Chip cookiesBrown AleGarage Imperial Oatmeal Brown Ale
Ice cream (butterscotch)Sour beersPrairie Slush Sour
Carrot cakeIndian Pale Ale
Imperial Red Ale
El Segundo Broken Skull IPA
Creme BruleeBelgium-styled Quad
Indian Pale Ale

Urban Roots Where Our Hearts Truly Lie
Key Lime PieHefeweizenEnegren Schoner Tag
Lemon ShortbreadPilsnerBrouwerij West Popfuji Pilsner
Orange sorbetWitbierAvery Liliko-i Kepolo Passionfruit Witbier
Spice cakeIndian Pale Ale32 North Nelson IPA
Caramel Apple TartBrown AleModern Times Black House Coffee Ale
Pumpkin flanPale AleGround Breaker Inclusion Dry Hopped Pale Ale

The pairings of these flavors are fixed in stone, The only method of knowing which flavors go well together is to test and test your own.

How To Choose A Beer For Making Bread

It’s possible it is possible, and we would strongly recommend that you try baking bread with only beers (no yeast, or any other typical leavening substances).

It is important to select the appropriate beer to make the bread you wish to bake. As with all bread, we suggest you test different kinds of beers at your own discretion to get the best results that you like.

Below are some things to consider when baking bread using beers:

  • Stouts, brown ales and a few porters are most effective when you are making bread. (flavor-wise at the very least).).
    • If you choose to drink a beverage that is too strong of a taste (too heavy) it can create a very bitter loaf. But, if you select one with very little flavor, you’ll not be able to taste beer even a bit.
  • When you are substitution of other liquid ingredients In the recipe for bread (such as buttermilk or milk) make sure you’re eliminating all the fat that bread needs to provide the perfect texture and flavor.
    • It is therefore important to consider how you can incorporate fat in your recipe. This is a trial and error exercise.
  • Always let your beer get to Room temperature to get more outcomes.
    • As with desserts baked in the oven, do not allow the beer to sit open for long. It is important to get the highest amount of carbonation so that the bread can rise in the baking.

Best Beers To Use For Bread Making

As we said that brown ales, stouts, and porters are the most secure choices to make bread.

Here are some alternatives for making bread with beer:

  • Garage Imperial Oatmeal Brown Ale – Barrel Aged
  • Belching Beaver Belching Beaver La Beaver Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout
  • Clown Shoes Hammer of the Loin Imperial Stout
  • Jackie O’s Hell Bettie Imperial Porter
  • Pohjala Ohtu American Porter
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Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.