Beer Essentials

There’s nothing like a long, cool beer for quenching the thirst during summer. But beer can also be eaten. It’s a great flavour enhancer for many dishes including marinades, stews, breads and even desserts.

Beer was first brewed from a variety of cereals such as wheat, oats, rice, millet and sorghum. It was used for braising and poaching as well as a leavener and flavour for breads and cakes.

Some recipes that incorporate wine can also be prepared with a beer. The flavour will be more malty and toastier. Just choose a beer that you enjoy — as with cooking with wine, you should never use a beer that you wouldn't drink. 

Ale is an English classic with its earthy, fruity flavours that marry well with cheeses and fish and chips. Bitter is a buffer for rich fatty meats and a little is perfect for slow-roasting pork for tacos.
Stout is black and dry with an almost coffee-chocolate flavour — perfect for chocolate cakes and desserts. Porter is like a combo of stout and pale ale — great for casseroling beef. 
Resist the temptation to use more beer than the recipe states — it’s an enhancement. And you don't have to worry about getting drunk — the alcohol evaporates during cooking.


Beer adds deliciousness to the dough. 

Beer Dough Base: 3 cups high grade flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup ale
2 1/4 teaspoons all-purpose active yeast 
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
Prawn Pizza Topping: 4 tablespoons tomato paste or onion marmalade 
1 cup diced green capsicum or (thawed) peas
2 cups shredded tasty cheese
7-8 small-medium tomatoes, sliced
24 cooked shelled prawns
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
3 teaspoons dried oregano
drizzle olive oil

Place the flour, salt and sugar in an electric food mixer. Stir until well combined. 

Warm the beer slightly then stir in the yeast. Stand in a warm place for 5 minutes.

Pour into the flour mixture and mix using a dough hook until it forms a dough ball.

Tip onto a lightly floured bench. Knead until smooth and not sticky. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover with film. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight to rise.

Punch the dough down and allow to rise until doubled in size. Divide the dough in half. (One half can be returned to the fridge overnight, if required.)

Pat or roll into two 30cm rounds and place in two lightly oiled pizza pans.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. (The dough will rise a little while preparing the topping.)

Spread the bases with the tomato paste or onion marmalade then top with remaining ingredients in the order listed.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is golden and the base is cooked. Serves 6-8.


Great for beef, lamb, chicken and pork.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup malty beer
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon each: dry mustard, dried basil, oregano, thyme

To prepare the marinade, whisk together the oil, beer and vinegar. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. 

Pour over the meat and marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Makes about 3/4 cup, enough for marinating 750g meat.


A twist on Tiramisu. I used a coffee and oatmeal stout but any dark beer would work. Delicious! Great served topped with blueberries or other seasonal fruit.

1/2 cup mascarpone, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
120g trifle sponge
1/2 cup stout
cocoa powder to garnish
Combine the mascarpone and sugar in a bowl and stir to dissolve. Whip the cream until stiff. Fold into the mascarpone.

Cut the sponge cake into fingers or cubes. 

Pour the stout into a shallow bowl. Dip the sponge into the beer, coating all sides. 

Divide evenly between six serving dishes or glasses, pressing lightly onto the base. Top with the mascarpone. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight.

Dust with the cocoa powder. Serve berries on top or on the side. Serves 6.


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