Whether people beg you to cook for their parties and cookouts, or you’re clueless in the kitchen, the following recipes are your new best friends. You’ll continue to be the coolest kid in school - and even cooler because you’re adding alcohol to the mix - or you’ll surprise everyone at your next gathering and suddenly more invites will arrive in your inbox.
Here’s how it works: Step 1: Get Beer. Step 2: Choose Your Recipe(s). Step 3: Everyone Loves You.
Cooking With Beer: An UpdateWe’ve previously written about cooking with beer, but that time was focused on the summer. Since it’s not yet summer, here’s an update, with a few fresh tips to get started:
- Beer is an excellent tenderizer, so adding it to all types of marinades is a “yes, please”
- Salad dressings can be enhanced by beer, so you can please all types of tastes - even gluten-free or vegan guests
- Hops add bitterness
- Malt adds sweetness
- Beer doesn’t just go well with burgers, it pairs excellently with fish and chicken, too
- Adding beer may require bigger bowls - beer foams up, so you’ll need to keep this in mind when mixing in order to avoid a kitchen foam party
- Beer isn't always gluten-free and vegan - for the sake of people's dietary needs and limitations, Google the beers you're using to double check their nutritional makeup
Apparently, asparagus is everyone’s favorite spring vegetable. We always liked asparagus, but didn’t know this, so obviously we’re jazzed to throw some beer on it and call it a day. Also, asparagus will be in farmers’ markets...so why not take the fresh veggie and deep fry it? How’s that for a conversation starter?
If you’re like us, you love stews, because they’re simple to make, fit all seasons (OK, maybe not summer, but early spring and late fall work along with winter so three out of four ain’t bad), and they actually get better as they age in the fridge, allowing maximum mealage out of one session in the kitchen. This recipe is simple, and involves the tried and true meat and potatoes combo, with a healthy dose of Guinness. We’d also suggest adding some fresh carrots, maybe some kale, and a bit of red pepper to add some extra spice to this recipe.
Hummus is probably the greatest appetizer dip in the entire world. It’s healthy, easy to make, tasty, and this one has beer in it. You just need a handful of ingredients and a blender/food processor to get this one done. Add a punchy IPA like a Sierra Nevada Torpedo and you’ll consider leaving it at home rather than bringing it to the party so you can eat the whole thing yourself.
Do we really even need to explain this one? Beer. Candy. Bacon. Perhaps it’s not really all that “springy,” but in this case we’re making an exception. In fact, we’d recommend dipping these delicious bacon “candies” in the hopped out hummus to get take it to another level.
Alright, since the last “dessert” was actually bacon and not really a dessert, we’re going to hook you up with an undeniable beer dessert here. There’s obviously no definition for “beer dessert” in the dictionary, but if there were...OK, you don’t care about that stupid saying. Let’s get down to it. Guinness gets its second appearance on this list thanks to its unbelieveable partnership with chocolate. Guinness even looks chocolatey, so it should come as no surprise that the thick Dublin-created beverage is a perfect complement to chocolate, and some foamy mousse on top adds to the perfection. This is easier to prepare than you’d think, too.
Why is fruitcake a “spring recipe,” you may ask? Because fresh fruit is a spring as it gets. With apples, apricots, and dates (incredibly underrated), this cake gets the job done - and that’s before you add in some delicious suds. We especially love the combo of brown sugar and beer. We might even suggest taking this combo to the max by choosing Lagunitas’ Brown Shugga’ as your beer ingredient.
Nothing says spring quite like the mixing of verdant greens, ripe tomatoes, salty nuts, tasty honey, and - you guessed it - beer. We suggest trying Honey Brown beer, even though the recipe calls for generic “light beer.” Double the honey, double the praise from everyone who thought that he or she should have a smattering of salad just because it’s “healthy” to do so before eating 349,865 pounds of beef.
Since paella is a highly-recommended spring entertaining dish, we thought we’d take it to another level. That means beer-battered paella. “Beer-battered” might not really be the right term, but it sounds cool so we’re sticking with it. Anyway, paella is a great centerpiece of a meal for any time of the year, but in the spring you can take fresh veggies from your garden (or the store) and add a seasonal flourish. Don’t get caught up on following this recipe to the T either, feel free to add extra vegetables and seasoning as you see fit. Might we suggest some Estrella Damm as your Spanish beer for the battering here?
The Beeroness really has one here. The chocolate porter strawberry shortcake is enough to make your mouth water, but when she adds the beer whipped cream to the top, your daily caloric intake will need to be sextupled, and that’s OK.
While technically not a shortcake (we’re sure you knew this, right?), we’re going to forgive this trip-up with language. Here’s the breakdown from The Beeroness herself:
“Although not a traditional ‘shortcake,’ I hope once I top it with drunken whipped cream and fresh berries you’ll forgive the misstep in terminology.”
Yep, that works for us.
Some fresh lamb leg from a spring slaughter sauced with dark beer (they suggest Guinness but since we’ve gone to that well twice already we’ll implore you to try an oatmeal stout instead) is our final recipe, and perhaps the most filling. The honey and thyme combo together with the aforementioned stout will leave your guests asking for more - even though they probably will have already eaten past the point where it hurts to take another bite. Give this one a shot and feel free to skip the dessert because no one will be able to make room.
Showing up to a party with a beer-infused dish is cool, but imagine using beer that you brewed in the process? You'd be like The Fonz of beer. Check out our spring selection of handcrafted home brewing kits here.