Beyond the (Beer) Bottle…

Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat

While many of us are content with downing a cold one (or not-so-cold in my case) with friends, beer as an ingredient is not crazy talk. When one thinks of cooking with beer beer-can chicken, quick bread, and many things battered come to mind for most. All of them are tasty, but once one leaves the American-style lager road, a new range of possibilities open up. Because beers are as different as night and day depending on how the beer is brewed, it’s a versatile ingredient.

NPR’s Kevin Weeks describes the reasons why well in this feature saying: “Beer brings three things to food. The hops add bitterness, which is offset with the sweetness of the malted grain and complemented by the flavor of the yeast. Dark beers also provide a distinct roasted flavor.”

Much as I sometimes cringe about not drinking the Guinness I bought (which makes for tasty cake, I might add), Kechara reminds me: “Unlike with wine, it’s best to cook with beer you want to drink.” She has a point. Some of these recipes won’t work with Bud or Natty Boh (those two aren’t really up my alley unless I’ve already had a few). Below the jump is a recipe for sherbet and one for an entree for the grill.

A sherbet, you say?
Yes, you can do that with beer!

This dessert is one Kechara and Byko made back in Janurary…

White Ale Fresh Berry Sherbet
From Sam Adams Beer/Boston Beer Company

  • 1 cup Sam Adams White Ale
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 ½ cups blackberries
  • 1 ½ cups strawberries
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Puree and strain the berries. Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine White Ale, sugar, cinnamon stick, and lemon zest. Heat slowly, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover and bring to slow boil for one minute, then boil uncovered for three minutes. Remove from heat, strain, and cool to room temperature. Add berries, cream and lemon juice and chill (preferably overnight). Pour into ice cream maker and follow factory directions (usually for about 20-30 minutes).

The pureed berries are below. They still needed straining to get the seeds out.

Pureed Berries

…and here’s the white ale combined with the zest, sugar, and cinnamon. (According to Sam Adams, a Hefeweizen or a Summer Ale can stand in for the White Ale).

White Ale/Cinnamon/Lemon Zest/Sugar Mix

Here’s the finished product: a cool, berrylicious treat. You definitely won’t taste the beer.

This Sherbet Has Beer?!

A closer shot of the sherbet… Yum!

...We Have A Sherbet...With Beer!

Now that we’ve indulged in dessert, here’s a recipe your next cookout: Beer Salmon. Though some of my friends are not fans of Sandra Lee, this recipe comes from “Semi-Homemade”. Lightly sweetened and very moist, this fish is really tasty (The Notorious ETC brought this to a cookout a few summers ago)…

Beer Salmon
From Food Network’s Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee

1 (12-inch) tail piece salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

Directions: Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Using aluminum foil, create an oblong cooking tray (approximately 13 inches by 8 inches by 2 inches) to be placed directly on grill. Place salmon fillet in center of tray. Season first with garlic salt, sprinkle with brown sugar, and then cover with pieces of butter. Top with sliced red onions. Pour beer of choice into tray to just below the highest point of the fillet. Cover tray with aluminum foil to envelope fish completely. Place tray on grill, cover with lid, and grill for approximately 8 minutes or until just cooked through.

Below are shots of the finished product:

Beer Salmon #1

Beer Salmon #2

These are only two examples, but again, the possibilities are endless! Repeat after me:



      do that with beer!


      do that with beer!


    do that with beer!

For more recipes check out Boston Beer Company’s webpage. They have a whole section dedicated to cooking with Sam Adams here (Note: must be 21 or over and must verify age). There are many other recipes using beer out on the interwebs as well…


About A. Random Hapa

Thirty-something. INFP. Librarian. Brain Tumor Survivor. Hobbyist Singer. Amateur Photographer. Foodie. Craft Beer Fan. Unrepentant geek.

Posted on July 13, 2010, in desserts, recipe, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. A potentially stupid question: If you don’t taste the beer in the sherbet, what does it bring to the dish? Is there a background flavor?

    Also, I generally don’t cook with wine that I wouldn’t drink. I wouldn’t think Kechara would either, but I guess I was wrong!

    I don’t taste it so readily anyway… I’d say if anything, the hops in the beer slight sourness/tartness of the white beer balances out the sweetness of the berry puree…

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