What is the best beer for beer batter?
There's no one single choice when it comes to choosing the best beer to mix with your batter-making ingredients - egg, flour, and (optional) spice. Choose a beer that matches the spirit of the meal that you are looking to cook. That's what it is most important.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 4 min read
However, there are a few key things to consider when creating a beer batter recipe or following someone else's: taste, functionality, Ingredients on hand, most importantly, cost.
Gosh, this one seems self-explanatory. We never read Salt Fat Acid Heat, but like salted caramels proved, mixing the sweet with the salty just plain works. If you're whipping up a batch of homemade onion rings, you can go commercial, with an Irish Dry Stout like Guinness. Guinness and Onion Rings are a match made in heaven. We (still) celebrate O.R.F. here at Findmeabrewery - Onion Ring Friday.
Ultra bitter ESBs and super hoppy IPAs might convey some of their defining qualities and characteristics on your rings. A bitter aftertaste on an onion ring or hand-cut fries will kill the meal.
Carbonation plays a role in the beer battering process. Through chemistry we can't understand because we barely graduated high school, the amount of carbonation a beer possesses affects acidity and how light the batter gets on the beer-battered food. In short, carbonated beers help. Science!
You will want to match the meal to the spice to the beer. You will also want to match quality. If you're holding on to some garlic and limes, grab yourself a quality ESB, mix it up with some all-purpose flour, the garlic and limes, and thinly coat some calamari. The ESB will help to layer and lock in a nice golden brown from the deep frying.
If what you're sitting on is three year old garlic powder, a few pinches of dried lemon zest, and a handful PBRs or Old Milwaukee leftover from last Sunday's game, you should just be content with making some fry batter for a few haddock fillets or shrimp. Crispy chicken tenders battered with a hefeweizen and tossed in some buffalo sauce could prove quite delicious. Frank's Red Hot and some melted butter counts.
This is really tied into ingredients. Quality inputs = quality outputs. Some nights call for paper towels, coors light, and a vegetable oil fish fry. Other nights call for good beer. It all generally revolves around tossing hot oil in a deep fryer, pan, or other cooking vessel, but macro lager fried fish gets old after awhile. Sure, you can cook beer battered fish (haddock, cod, halibut, etc) with Pabst Blue Ribbon, but it's a lot cooler to experiment with fresh paprika, feisty cayenne and hand-ground black pepper, and a Newcastle Brown Ale and your favorite mixing bowl.
Well, that's a loaded question. Do you want a golden-brown color? Are you cooking white fish? Are you into malty sweetness? Do you prefer amber ales to pilsners? Here are some of our thoughts.
If you're gonna fry a twinkie, consider an Imperial Porter, maybe Barrel House Z's Campfire King. Getting some rich, caramel goodness sounds fun.
If you want to cook in a more British-style,a Samuel Smith organic lager will get you Fish & Chips'd up.
Want to be daring and fry up some pickles? Combine an egg, flour, a dash of baking powder, and Martin House Brewing's Best Maid Pickle Beer.
Considering a German Sour Potato dish? Your inclination might be to go with a German-style beer like a Hefeweizen, but a sour could be a better answer, like one from Flying Dreams Brewing's Kettle Sour series. Speaking of German pub grub, imagine beer battering a beer brat?
Now we're talking. The beer that you drink while making food is perhaps the most important beer of them all. We suppose this depends heavily on your location due to craft beer distro laws. If you're on the West Coast, maybe a Deschutes, Widmer, or Ballast Point. Maybe a Half Acre for Chicago. Tree House in New England. DC Brau in D.C. And, any company willing to make a Florida man beer, like Cigar City out of Tampa, FL, should be given free reign over the Sunshine State and its surrounding territories.
Now for the hyperbole ...
Like a pro, how else? Gordon Ramsey isn't an amateur. No, Gordon Ramsey is deep frying onion rings by capturing the angel's share given off by bourbon barrel-aged stouts, like Deschutes' The Abyss, and whispering soothing compliments to the beakers that captured that essence, before mixing it with the gently whipped egg of the strongest hen of the flock, as well as the purest, most unbleached, unbromated, organic flour money can buy. This results in a golden-brown batter that even Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith of Crayola couldn't possibly name, for its majesty and grandeur are far beyond the words available to the English language.
That's what Gordon Ramsey's fish and chips beer batter recipe consists of.
No, that's what the beer you're drinking whilst cooking is for.
It would get awkward real fast otherwise.
If we haven't answered that by now we've done something wrong. Real quick, you can use PBR. You can use hyper local craft beer. You can beer-batter Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in Night Shift Brewing's Phone Home, a Peanut Butter Porter. Dealer's choice.