Your favorite fall foods can be kicked up a notch if you use beer as a substitute for other liquids in a variety of recipes. Beer can stand with the best when used as a braising liquid or marinade, just like wine. Your glazes and batters will ratchet up a few notches on the Favorite Food Scale, and the gravy bowls will be empty before you know it!

Some say the key is to match the beer to the flavors in the recipes, i.e.: sturdy, heavy beers go well with heartier dishes. Your favorite Beer of the Month Club says go with your gut and experiment! If you’re a little insecure, here are a few we’ve tried personally that have worked well for us:

Within minutes, liquid beer is transformed into a lightly glistening glaze that’s perfect for smoked sausages. Our favorite is any Belgium-style wheat because it has the sweet notes for a good base, and the wheat balances the smoke in the meat so well. Don’t limit yourself to sausages — the Belgium wheat is equally good with seared chicken, seafood or pork!

Stouts range from sharply bitter to velvet-like sweetness, and unmatched boldness. They are perfect for marinades and for basting, and knock it out of the ballpark when used in the slow cooker. Their boldness pairs well with beef or lamb, and if there are hints of chocolate and/or coffee, it’s perfect for chili and BBQ sauces.

Planning to batter something, like hush puppies? Your batter will be airy and light if you start with a carbonated light lager. These lagers are good in any dish because they won’t overpower the other tastes.

Low, simmering, slow braising in a broth of beer makes for tender, juicy meat. Use brown ale for added richness and velvet texture to your sauce. Playing with nutty nuances and sweet caramel toffee to rich molasses flavors, a brown ale is a natural for cool-weather beef and chicken dishes.



“My home brew is great, but I can’t seem to pour a good head on the glass. (They call me the Headless Poursman.) Can you help me?”

Try this: Don’t tilt the glass, and pour each glass in two or three pours, not one big one. Pour some, let the head foam and settle, then add more. (This will keep the head intact while releasing some of the carbonation, and will make your brew taste a little smoother if it has any harsh edges.) Play to all the senses. A thick head on a beer feels good on the lips, and the tiny bursting bubbles release great aromas.

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Gale Ford
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