Beer in food
We often talk about pairing beer and food. But what happens when we add beer to food?
According to scientists, us humans are programmed to eat more than we need. Fat, sugar and salt help release hormones like dopamine and oxytocin which cause the feeling of enjoyment. Knowing this evolutionary fact makes it easier to understand our adoration for burgers, fries, pizzas and all other greasy wonders of the world.
Beer has always been a great partner to food. Bitterness and maltiness just mesh great with salt, grease and sugar we all crave for. So what if we tried to increase the dopamine level by adding beer to food? The main goal here would be to figure out how the hops and malt flavor will complement the dish and help make it even better.
One possible way is to think about beer as a replacement ingredient. Could we replace red wine in a shepherd’s pie with beer? Maybe a rich, dark and malty lager would do a great job here, borrowing some of that rich roasty body to the dish. Red meat simmered in selected spices and Staropramen Dark, topped with mash potato and some asparagus in an oven sounds delicious.
Another possible approach is to view beer as one of the main ingredients. The famous beer can chicken recipe is an interesting example. The brew adds character to the dish but also performs a functional role, helping the meat stay tender and moist during cooking.
The bottom line is that brewing and cooking share the same philosophy. Both are about harmony, balance and figuring out how to make different ingredients taste great together. Creatively using beer in an amateur or pro kitchen will give any dish a special character.