Best Type of Beer to Cook With

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Chefs and families alike have been cooking with wine since what seems like the dawn of time. But what if you prefer the taste of beer over the red and white stuff? Thankfully, beer flavor is just as diverse, if not more diverse, than wine. It can add tremendous flavor to your dishes – if you know what you’re doing. That’s what we’re here for.

Today, we’re going to walk you through the best type of beer to cook with, based on beer flavor and the dish you want to cook with.

Different Types of Beer for Different Types of Meals

Chances are you’ve seen a recipe that includes beer. But most of the time, these recipes don’t really specify which type of beer you should use. Grabbing any old beer from your fridge probably won’t do anything for your dish. But if you know your beer, it can really enhance your meal.

The trick is to choose a beer that compliments the flavors of the dish. Generally, wheat beers, pale ales and lambics taste best with lighter dishes, like seafood and chicken. Heavier ales, like porters and stouts, pair best with rich meals, like stew, pork, and beef.

If you’re a dessert lover and a beer lover, you’re in luck! Sweet beers, like stouts and lambics, can taste great in desserts. Just don’t try baking with beer, unless you’re in the mood to deep clean your oven.

Let’s take a deeper dive into cooking with beer with Berghoff Beer!

Straight-Up Hefeweizen with Light Meals

Wheat beers, like hefs, have fruity, spicy, wheaty, and crisp flavors that work incredibly well in light dishes, like the following:

  • Salads
  • Fish
  • Red meat
  • Chicken

Hop-Forward Pilsner with Spicy and Oily Food

The crisp and bitter pilsner can bite through strong and bold flavors, making them a great addition to the following types of food:

  • BBQ
  • Spicy Asian or Indian dishes
  • Oily fish

Rockin’ Bock with Sweet Desserts and Lighter Dishes

With surprisingly sweet notes of fruit and caramel alongside a nice kick of spice, the richness of bock flavor works well with desserts and light meat dishes.

  • Caramel or chocolate desserts
  • Flavorful cheeses
  • Root vegetables
  • Light seafood dishes

Winter Ale with Hearty Meats and Desserts

Big, strong, dark and sweet ales simply taste great with rich dishes, like the following:

  • Glazed ham
  • Rib roasts
  • Gingerbread
  • Pumpkin or pecan pie

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Carla Lauter was the founder of The Beer Babe and has been a beer blogger and expert for several decades. She's been interviewed in beer publications and podcasts about her favorite brews and the craft brewing scene. While she's ceased her involvement with The Beer Babe, her legacy remains in the various reviews and articles she has written.