The first written records of beer making have been found in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The word beer comes from the Latin word ‘bib ere’ that means to drink. Beer is a fermented beverage that has been consumed for thousands of years, since 7000 B.C. Beer was one of the first agricultural products because it could be stored for longer periods, unlike most other food or drinks.
At the same time as people discovered alcohol, they figured out how to preserve beer by adding hops which prevented spoilage. Hops also add bitterness to improve flavor. In addition, people added spices to beer to make it taste better.
The Egyptians believed that beer was a gift from their gods, which they even wrote about in hieroglyphics. It was also used as compensation for workers at big construction sites or farms, in Egypt and other countries, and in some cases, it became more valuable than money.
The Romans brewed their own beer at home using barley bread by steeping it in water and then squeezing out the malt grains to drink with dinner. The Germanic tribes drank similar concoctions made from wheat, rye, honey, fruit, root and sometimes even hops. So, as you can see, beer has quite the long and colorful history.
Today, people continue consuming this beverage made by fermenting barley or wheat into a dry ale with hops added. Some beers are considered “craft” beverages because small breweries are popping up all over the world making different types and styles, including flavored ones such as pumpkin spice or sour ales that have lemon juice added to them during the fermentation process.
However, there are many uses for beer other than drinking it. We’ve had it in our cooking since humans have been around to make fire! Many professional chefs these days, dressed up in their men’s or women’s chef coats and chef aprons are using this classic beverage in their dishes, which includes savory dishes to appetizers and desserts. Beer is a great addition to food because it adds a nice flavor and changes the taste of food but does not overwhelm it.
What are the various types of beers and what they are typically used for when it comes to cooking?
The various different types of beer can be used to cook with in different ways. Brewers have been using beer as an ingredient for centuries. The yeast left over from the brewing process (and sometimes added during cooking) makes it a great marinade or tenderizer. In addition to using the yeast from the beer, here are some beer styles used in different types of cooking:
Ale is typically used in barbecue sauces, stews that require long simmering, and breads like pretzels and pizza dough.
Lagers are lighter and crisper than ales and are best suited to lemon-based dishes or fish such as salmon, shrimp and whitefish.
Wheat Beer –
Wheat beers lend themselves well to appetizers because they’re light and slightly sweet; you don’t want to overwhelm your guests when it comes time for the first course. Wheat beers also complement pork dishes that have been braised or smoked because the lager helps mellow out the Pork fat.
Cream Ale –
Cream ale is best for baking because it has a lower gluten content than other beers which means there are less calories from carbohydrates that affect your blood sugar levels.
Lagers and Ales are great vessels for cooking because of their unique characteristics. For example, Lagers include an earthy flavor.
What kind of dishes use beer as an ingredient?
Chefs of today use beer in the preparation of many dishes, from marinades and sauces to desserts and glazes. Whether they are making a traditional dish, or something with their very own twist, these professional chefs in their chef coats and aprons have used beer to enhance the flavor and aroma of the dish.
Here are a few dishes that will enhance your cooking by the addition of beer:
- Aroma-Spice Glazed Ribs
- Beer-Braised Pork
- Fiery Fish Tacos
- Wheat Beer Grilled Chicken
Some desserts and glazes include:
- Chess and Chocolate Beersicles
- Beer Pudding
These dishes are a must-try at least once in your lifetime, and they are a very flavorful experience. Even though you might think that beer will add a certain bitterness to the food, this is not the case at all. If you are trying these at home however, make sure you wear a bib apron which covers your entire body, since sauces and other things can tend to splash and stain your clothes.