If you thought drinking beer was awesome, wait until you taste some of the delicious foods you can make with it! Below is a recipe for beer bread that calls for beer in place of yeast! And, bread’s even better when paired with flavorful sides and entrees. So, we’ll walk you through additional recipes for beer cheese dip, beer chili, and beer can chicken that will complement your beer bread, too.
Before you get started, remember that we’ll be using the oven, the oven will heat up the kitchen, and a great way to beat the heat is to crack a refreshing “cooking brew” before you begin. We recommend a light, crisp Lager. A few of our favorites include Heater Allen’s Pils, Wilmington’s SUP Bräu, and Chuckanut’s Vienna Lager.
Beer Bread: We like this recipe from Food.com. However, it is missing a crucial detail — which beer to use!
The yeast in the beer adequately replaces the need for any dry yeast to make the bread rise, but the style of beer you use has a significant impact on the bread’s flavor.
We recommend starting with a Mexican Lager for your first loaf (pFriem Family Brewers makes an excellent one). After some testing, we’ve found that low ABV brews tend to work well, while anything above 6 or 7 percent can leave a strong boozy flavor in the bread, which can be quite polarizing. It also can prevent the bread from pairing well with many foods, and that mucks up the beauty of bread: it should go well with practically everything!
Another reason to use a Mexican Lager or any other light quencher is, they aren’t heavy on flavor, and the notes they do evoke are grain-like, so they complement the bread’s character seamlessly.
We experimented with a Coffee Porter, and not only did the flavors clash, the alcohol taste was much too harsh. However, if you find that a Mexican Lager is too lackluster, a Dark Lager like the one from Spiteful Brewing will add some delicate nutty, malty notes without overpowering the bread’s natural sweetness.
Beer Cheese Dip: TidyMom has a tasty recipe for a “pub style” beer cheese dip — and they even include a video! After some experimenting with their recipe, they suggest using pale or lighter beer for subtle flavor and a darker ale to enjoy the robust and bitterness of the beer.
For more dynamic character, we’d go with a low ABV or Session IPA like Resident Culture’s Sphere Eversion. The hops add a kiss of fruity complexity to the cheese, and this brew has an extremely mild bitterness, so it shouldn’t be a distraction. Or, if you’d really like to spice things up, Beaver Brewing’s habanero-infused I.Pepper.A will add a real kick!
Beer Chili: We love All Recipe’s Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili, and there's a ton of flexibility for which beer style to choose. We’ve found chili is more forgiving than bread when it comes to adding flavorful beer to it. You can even be a little more liberal with the ABV if you’d like. A Brown Ale offers a saporous middle ground without going over the top. The Duck-Rabbit Brown Ale delivers chocolate malt notes that give the spiced chili a semisweet mole effect.
The cinnamon is pretty potent in this recipe, so if you aren’t a big fan of that type of spice, feel free to cut down or cut it out completely.
Beer Can Chicken: There’s no denying that the beer can is an effective ingredient/method that works well for keeping BBQ chicken extra moist. So, we’re sharing this recipe from Epicurious because it delivers juicy results.
The most popular beer style for the job is Light Lager. It is a safe move but if you’re feeling adventurous or you’re a fan of Fruited Sour Ales or fruity flavor in general, we invite you to think outside the bird a little bit.
The acidity of a fruited beer plays well with the chicken. Often, it’s the cure for a dish that already has enough salt and still tastes bland. A little burst of acidity cuts through the fat of the chicken, and really makes the bird’s natural flavors pop.
We recommend using a citrus-forward Fruited Sour specifically, as the acid content is generally high, and the flavors will taste balanced with the chicken. Black Project’s Apex Sour Ale is an excellent choice for a couple of reasons. One — the brewers are Fruited Sour Ale specialists; it’s the only style they make, and they do it very well. Two — Apex packs a bright orange tanginess, slightly sweetened with a sprinkling of cinnamon that really complements the chicken.
Whether you go with a Lager or Sour Ale — no matter where your taste buds take these recipes — always remember the first rule of beer cooking (hint: it’s not “nobody talks about beer cooking”). Before you get started, crack open a cold brew to ensure your kitchen-time is a fun time!