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Cooking with beer

Posted on Oct 12, 2017

Elena Peña (The Freeman) - October 12, 2017 - 4:00pm


CEBU, Philippines — The popular knowledge of beer is only as a nice drink. Very few people have any idea of other uses for beer. For example, beer is a good hairdressing agent; it adds body to the hair. And the beverage is also a good cooking ingredient.


“It just makes sense to cook with beer,” writes Bryce Eddings at “Beer has more in common with a lot of the food that we eat than does that other popular cooking beverage (wine). Beer contains grain (barley), herbs (hops), water and yeast. Wine contains grapes.” Eddings points out that “adding beer to a recipe can really change the character of the dish. It can enhance particular ingredients, help blend the flavors of the dish, or just add that little zing that your meal might be lacking.”


Those who want to add beer to their cooking may experiment with it. Beer can be used in making batter and as baste in grilling. There’s really good room for creativity when cooking with beer.


A nice start, Eddings suggests, is with a loaf of beer bread. It’s as simple as just replacing some or all of the liquid in a bread recipe with beer. Or, with creativity, other things may be tried such as deglazing with beer, adding beer to stew etc.


There are a few things to remember, though. Eddings cautions that as with any other liquid, when cooking with beer, the amount to put in shall be minimized in order to magnify the flavors. For instance, in making a brown gravy using beer instead of broth or water, one would perhaps prefer something like a sweet stout with little hops bittering than having bitter gravy.

Another thing Eddings warns against is boiling the beer for very long.  It will dissipate the delicate aromas of the beer. “Many beers are prized for the hops in the nose. This aroma results from the oils of the hops cone which quickly dissipate when boiled.”


For the deep rich flavors of a darker beer in a stew, Eddings recommends adding it at the beginning and boiling it with the rest of the ingredients. “The mellow sweet and roasted flavors of the barley will stay with the stew and blend with the flavors of the other ingredients.”


Eddings overall advice: “Never cook with a beer that you wouldn’t drink. If it doesn’t appeal to you as a beverage, chances are it wouldn’t appeal to you in a recipe.”


Here’s a simple beef recipe from for playing around with beer. It’s up to the cook how to put in the beer – safely, but as substitute for part of the liquid ingredients. Again: Experiment, experiment, experiment.


Quick and Easy Beef Stew


2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 package McCormick® Beef Stew Seasoning Mix

3 cups water

5 cups frozen vegetables for stew





1. Coat beef with flour. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add ½ of the beef; brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining beef, adding remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Return all beef to skillet.


2. Stir in Beef Stew Seasoning Mix and water. Add vegetables; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.


This recipe serves eight persons. (FREEMAN)

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