The rich depth of beer batter can transform many foods into crispy, golden delights that melt in the mouth. Think stomach-warming crispy fish and chips, crunchy onion rings, and flaky fried zucchini, still warm from being cooked -- yum.
A basic beer batter recipe requires only four essential ingredients: all-purpose flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt, and, of course, the star ingredient of beer. But not just any beer will do. The choice of beer can lend subtle undertones or robust flavors to your batter, playing an essential role in the final taste of your fried masterpiece.
And, remember, once you've whipped up your beer batter of choice, you can use it immediately or store it in a sealed container for a few days. However, know that a stint in the fridge can cause your beer batter to thicken. No worries, though -- just thin it out with a bit of water or perhaps more beer. Let's find out which beers make the cut.
Carta Blanca: For Fish Tacos
From the buzzy streets of Baja California to upscale eateries worldwide, fish tacos have cemented their place as one of our favorite easy-to-make, easy-to-grab comfort foods. Their allure lies in that lip-smacking blend of flaky fish, tangy slaw, and creamy sauces. But any taco lover will tell you that the batter is what transforms a fish taco from good to unforgettable.
Carta Blanca, originating in Monterrey, Mexico, is a beer perfect for the fish tacos we know and love. Its clean, crisp taste with subtle malty undertones is reminiscent of a sunny afternoon spent by the sea on the Mexican coast. When infused into a batter, Carta Blanca imparts a lightness that results in a golden, crunchy exterior that cocoons the fish inside.
The beauty of Carta Blanca is its versatility. It complements both the delicate nature of white fish and the robust flavors of richer types. The beer's effervescence ensures the batter is airy and light, while its subtle flavor weaves its magic into the fish. Try this beer-battered fish tacos recipe with Carta Blanca, and you won't regret it.
Harpoon IPA: For Fried Potatoes
When you think of crafting the ideal batter for frying, IPAs might not be your first choice. Traditionally, the cooking process can destroy these beers' intricate floral hop flavors, leaving only their bitterness behind. And yet, this seemingly challenging quality can be used as an asset, especially when paired with the right ingredients.
Case in point: Harpoon IPA with fried potatoes. It's bitter, no doubt, but strikes a nice balance without overwhelming the palate. Similarly, its maltiness is pronounced but doesn't overshadow the dish's main component. This makes it an unexpectedly perfect companion for fried potatoes.
When you drench your potato slices in a Harpoon IPA-infused beer batter, something special happens. The beer's inherent bitterness counteracts the starchy sweetness of the potatoes. And the mild maltiness lends depth to the crispy exterior, ensuring every bite is rich and fulfilling. As well as potatoes, the Harpoon IPA's balanced profile complements chicken and pickles, too.
Guinness: For Fish And Chips
When you can't tuck into a hearty plate of beer-battered fish and chips in a cozy pub in the U.K., wind and rain pattering on the windows, creating your own at home is surely the next best thing. With its iconic crunchy golden-brown batter enveloping tender fish accompanied by chunky chips with a dollop of ketchup and mayo, this dish is the epitome of comfort food.
When creating the perfect beer batter, one tip stands out distinctly: use Guinness. On first thoughts, Guinness, with its rich, dark profile, might seem an unlikely choice. But it's this very quality that makes it a stellar partner for fish and chips.
Hailing from the stout family, Guinness defies the often-heavy stereotypes associated with its kin. It offers a light and crisp flavor, enhanced by a delightfully creamy texture and just the right touch of carbonation. Such attributes make it an exemplary candidate for whipping up a batter that leans towards the thicker, more robust side. Plus, Guinness's widespread availability and affordability worldwide make it a go-to choice for many. However, it's worth noting that its strong character might not be the best match for mild types of fish like cod, and its darker shade could lend an unexpected tint to the dish.
Morning Wood Funky Buddha Brewery: For Fried Twinkies
Sometimes, the most unconventional food pairings are the most memorable -- and delicious. For example, combining a rich, indulgent Imperial Porter like the Morning Wood from the Funky Buddha Brewery with the nostalgia-laden treat, the fried Twinkie. It's a pairing that might initially raise eyebrows but offers a delightful blend of flavors and textures.
Morning Wood isn't your everyday beer. It brings forth a cascade of flavors, including coffee and maple syrup, mixed with the smoothness of bourbon. Each sip is akin to a type of lavish morning breakfast. It's rich, potent, and unashamedly bold.
Now, imagine this beer lending its flavor to the batter of a fried Twinkie. The coffee notes in the beer underline the golden-fried exterior, while the hints of maple saturate the creamy center of the Twinkie. This pairing is all about contrasts -- deep flavors with light textures, sweet with bitter, and tradition with innovation. For those looking to up their dessert game to a whole new level, try this unexpected duo.
Bud Light: For Fried Pickles
Take the classic full-sour dill pickle with its tantalizing tang and crisp bite. Now, reimagine this beloved snack in a light, bubbly beer batter made with none other than America's favorite light lager: Bud Light. Believe it or not, but Bud Light, often sipped in chilled mugs and tall glasses, can be the unsung hero behind fried pickles.
With its subtle malt undertones and refreshingly crisp finish, an IPA like Bud Light provides the ideal counterbalance to the vibrant sourness of dill pickles. When mixed into the batter, the beer's vivacity ensures that each pickle slice is encased in an airy, light coating.
The pickles provide a balance of zing and crunch that's wonderful on its own. However, when paired with a condiment like honey Dijon mustard, sweetness, tang, and creaminess converge. Enjoy these fried delights as a snack, or consider tucking them into your favorite hot dog for an explosion of contrasting textures and flavors.
Samuel Adams Boston Lager: For Onion Rings
When it comes to bar snacks and comfort foods, you can't go wrong with the loveable onion ring. But the difference between a good onion ring and a truly exceptional one often lies in the batter. And when it comes to creating a delicious beer batter, Samuel Adams Boston Lager is an excellent brew of choice. With its rich malt complexity and a subtle hint of bitterness, the Samuel Adams Boston Lager adds a depth of flavor to the batter. Its character not only enhances the taste but also ensures an exquisitely crispy texture.
If you want to try your hand at making beer-battered onion rings yourself, don't worry, as it isn't as difficult as many assume. Sweet onions are often recommended for their flavor. Their natural sweetness pairs impeccably with the maltiness of the lager, producing a taste that's complex yet balanced. But even if sweet onions aren't available, almost any onion will do.
If by some miracle you're left with extras, storing these crispy treats is a breeze. Simply pop them into an airtight container and refrigerate. When the craving strikes again, we recommend giving them a quick two to three-minute whirl in the air fryer for optimal crunch and warmth.
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier: For Crispy Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders hold a cherished spot in many hearts. Hailing from the world's oldest brewery, the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier wheat beer is known for its hints of banana and clove. It offers an unexpected elegant twist to beer batter for chicken tenders that are flavorful, juicy, and exquisitely crispy. Weihenstephaner creates an airy and light batter, allowing the tender chicken to shine through. Its delicate notes, combined with the savory profile of the tenders, strike a pleasant balance.
Serve your beer-battered chicken tenders as appetizers at your next dinner party, and you'll surely delight your guests. And don't forget the condiments, either. The classic creaminess of ranch dressing, the smokiness of barbecue sauce, or the sharpness of sweet and sour sauce are all great choices that complement the tenders.
If you want to make your chicken tenders the centerpiece of your meal, complement them with hearty carbs like velvety mashed potatoes, golden fries, or fluffy rice. Include a fresh salad or a side of green vegetables for a delicious and well-rounded meal.
Pabst Blue Ribbon: For A Fish Fry
While Pabst Blue Ribbon is known as a cheap, mass-produced beer, it provides the right amount of carbonation necessary for an airy fish fry batter without overwhelming flavor. This allows the fish's natural taste to stand out for a fry that focuses on simplicity, taste, and texture.
When it comes to frying fish, success lies in achieving the right batter consistency. Picture heavy cream that's not too runny to drip off your fish easily but not so dense that it forms a pancake-like texture around it. This ratio ensures that delightful crunch while making sure you savor the fish more than its batter.
Choosing the right fish is crucial, too. Avoid the likes of oily salmon or expensive tunas, which can result in gummy or wastefully luxurious outcomes. Instead, gravitate towards the flaky goodness of cod or haddock. Flounder, perch, and bass also offer robust choices for frying, whether you're looking at fillets or the whole fish. The leaner and milder the fish, the better the frying results.
Widmer Brothers' Drop Top Amber Ale: For Fried Zucchini
Characterized by their relative sweetness, Amber ales might raise eyebrows for those unfamiliar with culinary beer-battering. You may wonder if such sweetness overpowers or conflicts with the dish's flavors.
However, this ale tastes exactly right in the context of fried zucchini. The Widmer Brothers' Drop Top Amber Ale is a beer that beautifully complements the earthiness of zucchini. The malt-forward sweetness of the Drop Top Amber Ale binds with the zucchini's natural flavors, and the caramel undertones and hints of toasted malt in this ale amplify the golden-brown crispiness achieved in frying.
Pair these golden treats with complementary dips like a spicy aioli or a zesty marinara. And once plated, a squeeze of fresh lemon can add a citrus kick, cutting through the richness and balancing the palate. Remember, beer-battered zucchini can be rich, so consider enjoying them with a light salad or sparkling water to cleanse the palate between bites.
Newcastle Brown Ale: For Fritto Misto
The Newcastle Brown Ale is known for its balanced flavors, and one of its hallmark traits is a subtle touch of caramel sweetness. The allure of Newcastle Brown Ale goes beyond just its rich English heritage. Its flavor profile, characterized by subtle malty undertones, lends itself beautifully to the intricacies of fritto misto. Whether you're frying up delicate seafood or an assortment of veggies, this ale ensures that each element retains its distinct taste, complemented by the added depth and richness of the beer.
Crafting the perfect beer-battered fritto misto with Newcastle Brown Ale requires attention to ingredient selection and preparation. Begin by choosing a diverse mix of ingredients. Shrimp, squid rings, and bite-sized pieces of white fish like cod or monkfish are ideal for the seafood. If you choose to include vegetables, consider zucchini, bell pepper rings, and artichoke hearts. And remember, fritto misto's essence lies in its freshness, so serve immediately after frying. A tangy dip or a simple lemon squeeze can enhance its flavors.
Asahi Super Dry: For Calamari
With its crisp and elegant notes, Asahi Super Dry is a brew that subtly infuses batter with a distinct richness that's sensed mid-palate. This Japanese beer, renowned for its clear, refreshing flavors, becomes the secret ingredient that brings out calamari's taste. The beer gives calamari a golden, crispy exterior that gives way to tender, succulent rings of squid inside.
But remember, when making and serving calamari, temperature is key. This isn't an appetizer (or main meal if you wish) to be left out and enjoyed lukewarm. To experience calamari at its best, serve it piping hot.
As your calamari emerges from the fryer, gleaming and golden, sprinkle them with freshly chopped parsley for a touch of color and a burst of earthy flavor. Then, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon over the top, letting its citrusy zest meld with the flavors. Ready to take a bite? Dip your calamari into a classic marinara sauce, or if you're feeling more adventurous, try tzatziki or spicy mayo.
Miller Lite: For Fried Oreos
Indulgence finds a new meaning when the classic Oreo is plunged into a batter spiked with the light, crisp character of Miller Lite. While most wouldn't think of pairing this easy-drinking beer with a sweet treat, its subtle malt profile can balance the richness of fried Oreos, allowing the iconic cookie's flavor to shine. The golden bubbles in the beer lend a surprising lightness to the batter, ensuring that each bite is a fusion of crunchiness, creaminess, and just the right hint of malty goodness.
Give your Oreos the crowning touch: a generous dusting of powdered sugar. This snowy sprinkle not only makes them look even more delectable but also introduces an added layer of sweetness, amping the indulgence factor.
If you're hosting a gathering or just feeling extravagant, arrange the fried Oreos on a dessert platter surrounded by an array of other sweet treats, such as brownies or cupcakes. However, know that these treats are best savored immediately. While a quick refry can revive your Oreos, nothing matches the magic of that first, fresh-out-of-the-fryer bite. And should you somehow resist devouring them all once, they'll keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
Blue Moon Belgian White: For Pancake Batter
When it comes to a comforting Sunday morning breakfast, fluffy, freshly-made pancakes often top the list. But what if we were to tell you that introducing beer to the batter can take your pancake mix up a notch? While adding beer to pancake batter may sound a bit wrong for a wholesome morning meal, this beloved breakfast dish owes its pillowy texture primarily to baking soda, which introduces airiness by acting as a leavening agent. However, this isn't the only ingredient with the power to puff up your pancakes. Beer, especially the carbonated kind like Blue Moon Belgian White, plays a similar role.
The beer's carbonation mirrors baking soda's effects, acting as another leavening agent. This means when beer meets batter, it introduces tiny air bubbles, ensuring your pancakes rise to perfection. Blue Moon, known for its citrusy undertones and slightly creamy finish, adds a subtle depth and "funk" to the flavor of pancakes for an intriguing yet delightful taste.
So, doubling down on leavening agents is the way to go if you're after the fluffiest pancakes ever. Let Blue Moon Belgian White cascade into your batter and transform ordinary pancakes into a breakfast masterpiece.
Smithwick's Red Ale: For Irish Beer Bread
Ah, beer bread. A traditional favorite that stirs the soul and fills the room with its rich, hearty aromas. When it comes to authentic Irish beer bread, Smithwick's Red Ale or Guinness are excellent choices and two very popular Irish beer brands.
Widely available and popular in the U.S., Smithwick' has its roots deeply embedded in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Since the 1700s, Smithwick's has been brewing beer, and today, this legacy continues, with Smithwick's beers being brewed at the iconic St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin.
Originally, Smithwick's ventured into brewing its red ale, drawing inspiration from the much-loved English Pale Ale. However, unlike its English counterpart, Smithwick's Red places a pronounced emphasis on malt over hops. The result is a medium-bodied beer, offering a crisp and invigorating taste without skimping on flavor.
The ale's kilned malt and roasted barley composition ensures a complexity of flavors and aromas. Meanwhile, the subtle hop bitterness acts as the perfect counterpoint for a more balanced taste. With this ale, you can create an Irish beer bread that's authentic, rich, and deliciously memorable.
Brooklyn Lager: For Apple Fritters
With its deep amber hue and aromatic blend of floral hops and sweet malt, Brooklyn Lager is far more than just a staple beverage for those exploring the New York craft beer scene. It also works wonders when it comes to elevating a traditional sweet treat: apple fritters.
Apple fritters perfectly blend the sweetness of ripe apples with a crispy, golden batter, and they find a harmonious partner in Brooklyn Lager. Originating from Brooklyn Brewery, this lager has garnered a reputation not only for its distinct taste but also for its ability to complement and enhance a variety of dishes.
When introduced into the apple fritter batter, Brooklyn Lager's malt undertones highlight the apples' natural sugars. The subtle bitterness from the hops, on the other hand, provides a counterpoint to the sweetness, giving the fritters a surprising depth and complexity. Moreover, the carbonation in the lager introduces an additional lightness to the fritter's batter. This results in flavor-packed beer-battered apple fritters with a crisp exterior and a tender, airy inside.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.