100 Ways to Use Beer in Food and Drinks

Editor’s Note: New contributor snebbu joins ES to bring us a very epic, very ES series.

I caught the brew bug.  Yes, I’m addicted to brewing beer. With this comes a snooty attitude towards “big beer” and using my “well-earned money” to purchase craft beer. So after a few brews, my fridge is rapidly filling up with bottles of my homebrew, along with craft beer and of course, there’s always a case of Pennsylvania’s pride — Yuengling. The problem is, the other day I opened the fridge door and realized my collection of beer was overfilling its allotted space, and without some good use, would spoil in time. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was drinking it all in one grand night of sitting on my couch and watching sports until reaching a drunken stupor. Then I figured I could use this in food, while drinking beer!

My mind began to wander — what foods could I put beer in? Is it limited to food, or can I mix it with some tasty drinks? In my opinion, beer can make any situation better, provided you choose the right make and variety. I couldn’t get this wonderful idea of complementing dishes and drinks with beer out of my mind. Fortunately, I’m taking a graduate level class on diversity and had the resources (three hours worth of hearing “you’re blind to your blindness”) to put together a list. This list begins my journey to attempt to make each and every one of the following 100 food and drink items better…with beer.

Check out the list, and let us know what other items you’d like to see cooked with beer. Then bookmark this page and return to see the results of our attempts to cook all 100 items on this list…with beer! Of course, feel free to play along yourself, and report back with your results.

The Ground Rules:

*I noted my disgust for big beer — the only rule I am enforcing is to use either homebrew or a favorite craft brew. Drink Craft Beer.

**It is assumed that while cooking/concocting these creations, you will be drinking beer.

The List – 100 Ways to Use Beer in Food and Drinks:

  1. Pizza Sauce: Pizza and beer go great together, why not have a pizza with beer in it?
  2. Bread: Beer + cheese + bread = delicious cheese bread.
  3. Corn Bread: Put some berries in your wheat ale and some ale in the bread.
  4. Pork: Slow cook pork loin in an IPA.
  5. Chocolate Milkshake: A shot of chocolate milk stout in the shake.
  6. Chicken Carbonara: This is one of my favorite dishes, but it could be improved with beer.
  7. Ketchup: Vinegar is a main ingredient, substitute some of it with beer, and maybe your ketchup will help get you drunk.
  8. Garlic: People let garlic sit in water. Let it sit in beer, it will be happier.
  9. Pesto: Basil pesto is good, yes. But is it great? With beer.
  10. Lemonade: It worked with margaritas, why can’t a half-lemonade, half-lager work? Instead of the Arnold Palmer, maybe the Charlie Sheen? Or just #winning…
  11. Soft Pretzels: Got to make from scratch again, but I’m thinking with the right kind of malty beer, there would be a great sweet and salty thing going on.
  12. Steak: Any kind of steak, any kind of beer.
  13. Cupcakes: Ever heard of Guinness cupcakes with Bailey’s icing?
  14. Cake: Maple Walnut Stout Cake – sweeet.
  15. Soup: How about Dogfish Head’s brand spankin’ new Clam Chowda?
  16. Chili: add a KICK to your chili with some…BEER.
  17. Bacon: What isn’t good with bacon? Soak your bacon in a coffee stout before putting it on the griddle Sunday morning (yes – this is an excuse to start your morning with beer).
  18. Margarita: Mix lager with your favorite margarita on a sunny day. A restaurant in Albany, NY had the same idea and even though I was drunk, it was wonderful.
  19. Burger: Throw stout into ground beef before cooking.
  20. Chicken: Heard of beer can chicken?
  21. Brats: As a native of Wisconsin, I must make them proud by pitching a beer-soaked brat with the next Lambeau game. GO PACK GO!
  22. Cheese Fondue/Sauce: Melting Pot does it with lager, but I’m pretty sure any kind of beer paired with the right cheese will make the next fondue night that much better.
  23. Coffee: You can put a shot of Bailey’s in coffee…what would a shot of a vanilla bourbon stout taste like?
  24. Steamers (clams): Why use water to open up those damn clams? Replace with Irish red.
  25. Fish and Chips: Beer batter. Enough said.
  26. Sauerkraut: I keep thinking someone must’ve tried this by now. Again – why use water?
  27. Pizza Dough: Beer pizza just keeps sounding better and better.
  28. French Onion Soup: Instead of using all broth, throw in a beer and let it sit in that crock pot.
  29. Salmon: My family’s always put pineapple on top of salmon on the grill — before you put the pineapple on the salmon, soak it in beer.
  30. Mushrooms and Onions: Steak and beer is always good with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Sauté them in beer next time.
  31. French Fries: Beer batter.
  32. Waffles and Ice Cream: I’ve drunkenly made waffles and ice cream once or twice…why not add some beer to the waffle batter?
  33. Wings: Soak those wings in any kind of beer and I guarantee it will taste better. OR add it to the sauce.
  34. Fried Chicken: Beer batter has come up a lot, hasn’t it?
  35. Deep-Fried Turkey: Next Thanksgiving, leave the turkey in beer overnight, THEN deep fry that bird.
  36. Hot Fudge: Vanilla Bourbon Stout with the hot fudge, then on top of vanilla been or coffee ice cream.
  37. Shot of Whiskey: Ever hear of a boilermaker?
  38. Onion Rings: Maybe just have a tub of beer batter ready for any occasion…
  39. Stew: Whatever you throw in your stew, add a lager or light pale ale to your next one.
  40. Mustard: Homemade mustard, of course. If you like spicy mustard, add a hoppy pale ale. Of you like sweet, add a lager.
  41. Tomatoes: People can and do stew their tomatoes all the time, why not do it in beer?
  42. Pot Roast: Next time you have some beef and don’t know what to do with it, put it in a deep pot and fill with beer. I’m thinking a stout or Irish red would be interesting.
  43. Corn: Soaking corn in water while husked, and then grilled is delicious. Again, replace water with beer…maybe a light lager?
  44. Sausage and Peppers: That beer you’re drinking while cooking it, pour some on.
  45. Gravy: For those Italian jerks that think you put this on pasta — I’m not talking to you. A beef gravy would probably go great with a stout. It would go great on that deep fried beer turkey too!
  46. Polenta: Why not?
  47. Watermelon: People put liquor in it all of the time, but a wheat beer would make it taste better.
  48. Pork BBQ: Either in the sauce, in the pork, or both!
  49. Sloppy Joe: You’re just throwing a bunch of crap into a pan anyway, why not make it better with a quality brew?
  50. Meatloaf:” Ma, Meatloaf!
  51. Hamburger Soup: Just had this the other day and now I’m wondering why I didn’t do it then…
  52. Bacon Jam: The Farmer’s Cabinet had it featured on their burger during restaurant week in Philadelphia. However, I don’t think it had beer in it. Why wouldn’t it be better with beer in it?
  53. Ham Steak: Growing up, whenever I heard we were having ham steak for dinner, I was disappointed. If only it had beer in it…
  54. French Onion Dip: When watching the game with a beer in one hand and a chip w/dip in the other — shouldn’t both hands be holding beer?
  55. Swedish Meatballs: I’m beginning to think that anything cooked in a crock pot would be good with beer.
  56. Mahi Mahi: Known as a “meaty” fish, I feel it’s only right to honor it with a cold one.
  57. Calamari: Soaked in beer, or coated with beer batter — you choose.
  58. Hot Dogs: The only place I’ve ever truly had a great dog is at the ballpark. However, if it was soaked in beer, it would most definitely be better.
  59. Cocktail Franks: Does anyone know what that crap is that they are coated in? I know what it should be: beer.
  60. Pierogies: Polish people like beer, don’t they?
  61. Halushki: Yeah, they do.
  62. Mashed Potatoes: I’ve heard that some people actually put mayo in their mashed potatoes. To you I say: stop cooking. The rest of you: add some beer.
  63. Potato Salad: Instead of buying that crap that’s drowning in mayo and water from the supermarket, make your own. Go moderate on the mayo and (maybe) the beer. Even if people don’t like it, they’ll be getting drunk anyway.
  64. Coleslaw: Same premise as the potato salad. Even if you don’t want to try this…stop buying it from the super market!
  65. Corned Beef and Cabbage: If you eat this anyway, you’re Celtic, so why the hell haven’t you been doing this to begin with?
  66. Reuben: Soak the corned beef in a brew, then make me a sammich!
  67. Lamb: Most people stuff it with so much crap to give it a taste anyway, why not give it the taste of a carbonated amber beverage?
  68. Kabobs: Steak, chicken, veggie (for those of you saving the world) — whatever your fancy.
  69. Pot Stickers: I love pot stickers. I’m in love with pot stickers that are filled with beer-doused meat.
  70. Pork Chops: Pork chops would be so much better if they had flavor, wouldn’t they?
  71. London Broil: We all have to buy the cheap steak at least once in a while, why not make that steak happy with a beverage?
  72. Mozzarella Sticks: I’m torn on whether I’d soak the mozzarella in lager, or use that tub of beer batter that I wish was in my fridge.
  73. Salsa: Do you like spicy salsa or sweet salsa? Spicy: hoppy IPA. Sweet: wheat.
  74. Slurpee: It worked with a margarita. I’m going to try it. Choose your favorite flavor…unless you’re one of the mixers of the world that uses every damn flavor.
  75. Italian Ice: Again, the frozen drink concept can’t benefit only margaritas.
  76. Breakfast Sausage: Kegs and Eggs…for real though.
  77. Home Fries: Why? Why not?
  78. Steak and Eggs: I’d put the beer in the steak, then the steak in the eggs. But extra points for putting the beer in the eggs.
  79. Brisket: the fat needs to soak something up…maybe it should be beer. Pick your favorite.
  80. Scalloped Potatoes: Cheese, potatoes, beer — which of those doesn’t go together? Answer: none.
  81. Dill Mayonnaise: For those of you that think you’re good at making mayonnaise (which you probably aren’t), make it better with beer.
  82. Grilled Cheese: Grill the toast in beer or soak the cheese in beer. Or both.
  83. Iced Tea: The other side of the Arnold Palmer is iced tea. Maybe use a wheat beer and toss a lemon wedge in there…if your name’s Nancy.
  84. Baby Back Ribs: “I want my baby back baby back baby back…”
  85. Prime Rib: Before throwing it on the rotisserie, pour some stout on it and let it soak.
  86. Spare Ribs: Stout, lager, pale ale, whatever.
  87. Barbecue Sauce: Jack Daniels in it is great…but isn’t this where beer belongs?
  88. Aioli Sauce: I forget where, but someone made a truffle aioli and it was great. If you can put truffle there, you can definitely put beer there too.
  89. Baked Brie: My uncle makes the best baked brie with raspberries. I’m going to suggest adding a wheat beer to the raspberries first. He’s going to laugh at me. It’s not a joke…
  90. Chocolate Lava Cake: The lava should be made of chocolate goodness and chocolate stout.
  91. Tarts: Who likes tarts?  Who likes tarts with fruit soaked in a wheat beer? That’s what I thought.
  92. Mac and Cheese: From a box or homemade, doesn’t matter. Beer will make it better.
  93. Shoofly Pie: Personally, I hate shoofly pie. But if you’re going to use that much molasses, why not add a molasses porter to the filling?
  94. Portobello Mushrooms: If you make a “mushroom parm” instead of chicken parm, use beer in the sauce.
  95. Crab Cakes: So many options here…
  96. Cod: Cod is a fish for beginning fish eaters. Nobody else really goes to cod…until it was drenched in beer before put on the grill.
  97. Chocolate Covered Pretzels: Put some stout in the chocolate first. If it’s feasible…
  98. Cheese Steak: Hmm…in the steak? In the cheese? In the onions? All of the above?
  99. Chocolate frosting: Made from scratch of course, whichever beer you want.
  100. Chocolate Covered Strawberries: I think this would work best if you soaked the strawberries in wheat beer briefly. Then dip.

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  • erica April 19, 2012  

    half lemonade half lager is called a Shandy. often the lemonade is sparkling. it’s delicious, and the only way i can be made to consume PBR 🙂

  • randjm April 19, 2012  

    I am sooo with you! My favorite websites for cooking with beer!

  • dan April 19, 2012  

    godspeed on your quest snebbu. I have to say that some of these ideas look amazing, yet others look like disasters waiting to happen, so this should be entertaining.

    I recently did an IPA gravy for a steak that was pretty tasty: http://www.thefoodinmybeard.com/2012/04/ipa-gravy.html

  • Cindy (Martini Doll) April 19, 2012  

    Let’s not dis the Italians because they call pasta sauce gravy because I think beer in pasta sauce sounds DIVINE ! I’m gonna try it !

  • ML April 19, 2012  

    @erica I love a good shandy. Like you said..makes so many beers tolerable. And it feels acceptable to drink it during the day.

  • snebbu April 19, 2012  

    My position is that there is an Italian that’s right and and Italian that’s wrong. You called it sauce yourself!

    As for you Dan – I’m hoping you’re wrong about those disasters!

  • Pingback: The Internet Kitchen: Fry Party! | Macheesmo April 20, 2012  
  • Yes! Finally someone writes about how to beer batter recipe.

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