Craftily beer-infused recipes? We’ll drink to that.
Beer may date back as many as 18,000 years, according to archaeologists. But it was only recently that the industry took on a crafty new spin: fermenting small, independent brewers all over America and abroad. Bottoms up if you are definitely here for the golden age of beer! (*Empties pint*) New brewmasters are tantalizing our palates with a bevy of interesting craft beers, to which they’re adding unique flavors ranging from cinnamon, coffee and chocolate to citrus zest and berries. Flavor-enhanced beers are opening up new interest … and new cooking possibilities. Of course, not every beer is suited to a plant-based diet. The always helpful barnivore.com lets you know which beers are vegan (as does the app Vegaholic, which uses Barnivore data). And if it’s a bevvie from a small, local brewery, just ask the makers! We’ve developed delicious recipes using some of the most flavorful craft beers on the market. Feel free to experiment with your own favorite pours. Spiking your creations with unique craft beers not only gives your recipe depth, but it also offers the chef an opportunity to quaff what’s left in the bottle while he cooks. (Go for it, bud. No one will be the weiser.)
Choosing the right beer to drink with your meal or for infusing your recipes has become a lot more detailed in this decade of proliferating microbreweries, nanobreweries and brewpubs, all with their own unique brews. Here, we’ve provided a simple chart listing a few basic beers with their individual tasting notes and food pairing suggestions. As the world of beer continues to evolve, so will your options.
|Beer||Taste notes||Food pairings|
|Belgian witbier||unfiltered and light with hints of orange, citrus and coriander||perfect with salad dishes and gentle fruit salad dressings|
|blonde ale||mild malted flavor that balances a medium hop flavor||complements Asian foods, including hot, spicy and some sweet additions, like mango|
|light lager||refreshingly crisp||delicious with flavorful Asian ingredients like lemongrass, cilantro, ginger and garlic|
|hefeweizen||a bit cloudy with a defined yeast overtone and hints of cloves and banana||balances ingredients in recipes with mustard, pickles and horseradish|
|pale ale||spicy and earthy chased with some bitter hops||works well with smoky-flavored foods or strong vegan cheeses|
|IPA (India pale ale)||definite hoppy flavor throughout||great with spiced foods like curries, Moroccan foods and even some desserts, like deep and fudgy rich chocolate cakes|
|amber lager||sweet malted notes with hops balancing throughout||think Italian: delicious with certain reduction sauces like tomato with balsamic, basil and oregano|
|amber ale||smooth caramel notes with a hint of citrus and bitter hops||goes well with anything grilled and spicy|
|brown ale||malted flavors with caramel and toffee and some chocolate notes||consider hearty foods and Indonesian dishes with peanut sauces|
|porter||dark malted beer with chocolate notes and mild roast coffee flavor||sublime with smoked foods; pairs especially well with chocolate/espresso desserts or creamy vegan cheeses|
|stout||dark and heavy; chocolate, coffee and molasses flavors||crave-worthy with caramelized dishes and salty foods|
Okay, we know what you’re thinking: Which beers pair best with these recipes? We got you. Serve the Falagers with a crisp blonde craft lager laced with a little malt and a hint of hops. Serve the Beeramisu with a glass of coffee- and chocolate-flavored stout craft beer or porter that’s not too cold—and make sure there’s plenty of head.