This week’s in-depth article on agro-processing looks at how beer is made and ways that beer can be used in cooking. Surprisingly, beer can be used in a variety of dishes from stews to cakes. See the sections below to learn more.

Fried foods

Beer works well when making batter for deep fried food such as onion rings or fish. Like sparkling water that is also often added to batters, beer helps make the batter crisp, light and airy.

Stews and soups

In stews and soups, beer can replace stock to add that hearty flavour. For beef or lamb stew use darker beers such as ale and stout. For lighter dishes such as seafood or chicken, use lighter wheat beers.

Marinades and sauces

Just like wine, beer can also be used in marinades to add flavour and to tenderise meat. It can also impart flavour to sauces such as barbecue sauce or even a cheese sauce.

Cakes and bread

A classic way to use beer in baking is in beer bread. The carbonated beverage, along with baking powder, helps the dough rise. Beer may also be used in baking a chocolate cake. Stout adds a pungent flavour to chocolate cakes.

Cooking with the can

A can of beer can be used to make succulent beer butt chicken on the grill. Half a beer is inserted into the hind legs of a whole chicken. This makes it possible for the chicken to stand on the grill while the beer adds flavour and moisture to the chicken as it boils out of the can. –Ursula Human, Farm fare