By: Heidi Bruning Sr. Key Account Manager for Anheuser-Busch Holding a spatula in one hand and a beer in the other has long been a practice of backyard burger and brat grill-masters. But why not bring the spatula and the beer inside the kitchen and use it to enhance and compliment all your favorite foods? There is a huge variety of different beer styles and flavor options that you can use in baking, marinating, and seasoning foods. Beer is a natural compliment to food because it is food! Beer is made of natural ingredients that you use in your kitchen, such as barley, hops, water, and yeast. And there are countless variations of fruity, bitter, tart, smoky and refreshing beers, just like food! By understanding a little bit about what beer styles compliment what foods, you can put your creative hat on and build your own recipe. Next time you are at your local Festival store, do a lap around the beer department to get some ideas of beers that you might want to use in your favorite recipes. Or, if you are a first timer to cooking with beer, try my recommended recipe below to get started. It is fun to experiment in the kitchen and (of course) sample different kinds of beers. When cooking, I always recommend leaving a bottle or two of beer aside to drink while you are preparing your culinary masterpiece! Here are a few key beer style pairing ideas to keep in mind when creating your recipe: Classic American Lagers (like Budweiser) which are lightly hopped, crisp, and balanced pair well with most foods because they cut through spices and do not dominate the flavors. Use Budweiser in your smoked BBQ brisket, or pairing it with fajitas and pico de gallo. European Style Pilsners (like Stella Artois) which have aromas of floral hops and toasted malts pair well with steak or a tomato and mozzarella salad. Make a marinade for your steak using Stella Artois. American Style Indian Pale Ales (like Shock Top Wheat IPA) which are bold and hoppy pair well with strong spicy foods and desserts like carrot cake. Try using half a cup of Shock Top Wheat IPA it in your rice and curry recipe. Belgian White Ales (like Hoegaarden) which are light bodied with a citrusy finish pair well with lighter foods like salads, seafood, and pork. You can make a citrus salad dressing or pork marinade using Hoegaarden. Below is one of my favorite recipes to get you started. It is a simple salad perfect for spring! Wild Blue Spring Mix and Raspberry Salad By Executive Chef Sam Niemann Serves 4 Vinaigrette: ¼ C. Olive Oil ½ C. Raspberry Vinegar 1 Tbsp. sugar ½ Tsp. Kosher salt ½ Tsp. ground black pepper ½ C. Wild Blue Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Salad: 6oz spring mix lettuce 4oz feta cheese ½ C. pine nuts (toasted) 1 C. Raspberries Divide Spring Mix lettuce evenly among the plates. Garnish each plate with the feta, pine nuts, and raspberries. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and serve. Spring is the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen with beer! Have some fun and experiment with your own recipes. Enjoy a cold one as you plan your new culinary delights.
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