Cooking With Craft Beer: Inspired Dishes to Serve in Your Bar


Just like a great meal, craft beer is about an experience…so why not combine the two? Although many craft brews pair well with particular dishes, they fare even better inside of them. Because of the wide array of flavor profiles in craft beer, it makes for a dynamic and versatile ingredient in any recipe.

From ale steamed salmon, to coconut porter cake, there are a variety of dishes you can serve in your bar that are craftily made with craft beer.  Incorporating the frothy beverage into food is also a genius way to promote a new selection. Whether you’re hosting a tasting party, stocking your bar, or adding new dishes to the menu, the following are some tips and recipes to get you started on cooking with craft beer:

Tips for Cooking With Craft Beer:

You may not be the one in the kitchen cooking the dish, but knowing what you can and can’t do with this ingredient, is good for everyone on your team.

1. Think Meat: Although craft beer can be cooked with virtually anything, beer is a natural tenderizer, so meat based recipes are always your best bet. The paramount way to infuse your meats with a fine craft beer, is through marinating or braising it, prior to cooking.
2. Light for White, Dark for Red: This is the number one rule when cooking with beer and protein. Of course there are some exceptions, but in general, when cooking light meat (like chicken or fish) use a lighter style beer, like a blonde ale. Beef tends to pair well with stouts and porters, and is especially tasty in soups and stews.
3. Leavening Preservative: Beer can make anything rise, and can be used to add a slightly higher “puff” to baked goods. The brew also acts as a preservative, which helps everything stay fresher, longer.
4. Light Beers and High Hops: Although adding craft beer to a dish is favorable over any old beer, you should remember that a few flavor profiles, simply don’t mix. If a beer is high in hops, cooking it down will only add to the bitter flavor. The more heat you add to hops, the more bitter it becomes, so if a beer has a lot of the flower, it’s best to skip adding it to food.

The same goes for light beers. Since lighter beers tend to be less flavorful, cooking with them will yield the same result. The bolder the taste of the beer, the deeper the flavor of the dish. And it should go without saying, that the higher quality the craft beer, the better the meal.

Understanding the relationship between craft beer and food, will help you move the product quickly through your doors, and educate your customers on the rich culture of the industry.

A Few Good Recipes

In order to get an idea of what type of dishes you want to incorporate with your craft beer selection, you should try a variety of recipes. The following are some popular dishes, that are sure to showcase your best craft beers:

Ale Steamed Salmon: For a lighter fare, infusing fish and craft beer is a winning choice. A Belgian wheat beer or a blonde ale complements this protein beautifully. The recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, and uses 2 bottles of beer.

Coconut Porter Tres Leche Cake: Not only is this a cake with beer, but it is also dairy and egg free, so it can appeal to a broader range of customers. The cake calls for a coconut porter, and is so far from what people would consider a beer-laden dish, that you may end up making new beer fans altogether. Get the recipe and get to baking.

Honey Hefeweizen Boule: If you don’t want to venture far into the terrain of craft beer and cooking, bread is always a good choice. This recipe calls for 12 oz of wheat beer, a little yeast, and a dash of honey. This is also a good selection for a bar owner who does not have an extensive menu. Serve this on a cutting board, with a slab of butter and a cold Hefeweizen on the side, and you’ll make a fan out of anyone.

Of course, whenever you try something new in your bar, you want to shout it from the rooftops—or maybe just blast it on social media. TapHunter is a great software program for bar owners, that can help you get the word out. Through digital drink menus,  facilitating social media campaigns, and sending push notifications on your latest tap change, they’ve got you covered.

The craft beer industry prides itself on creativity and innovation. There is no better way to showcase your out-of-the-box thinking as a bar owner, than to incorporate your favorite craft beer into an original dish.

Bars and Restaurants – Want to save hours daily, drive thirsty patrons through your door and create an engaging experience for your customers? Learn more about how TapHunter can help your business today!