As one of the oldest alcoholic beverages on earth, beer has evolved into a diverse art form that encompasses dozens of categories with countless variations. Whether you enjoy lagers, stouts, wheat beers, or ales, beers are a key part of drinking cultures. However, their flavor and consistency are also the perfect addition to a cozy bowl of soup or stew.
Most beer consists of malted grain, yeast, and hops, offering a bitter-sweet, bread-like flavor and carbonated foundation along with the distinct flavors of the grain and any additional ingredients like citrus, coffee, or chocolate. Beer's complexity and rich mouthfeel will add depth of flavor and heartiness to any soup you plan on making.
Plus, there's no trick or special technique to adding beer to soup; it's just a matter of cracking open a bottle and pouring a portion of it into your soup foundation, then stirring in your cream, broth, or other cooking liquid, and simmering. As beer heats and blends with the simmering pot of soup, it'll lose its carbonation and alcohol content, concentrating its rich flavor notes and thickening your soup.
Just as most chefs recommend using a wine you would drink alone in a recipe that calls for wine, the same rule of thumb applies to adding beer to soup. Plus, if you don't use an entire bottle of beer in your soup, you can enjoy the bonus of drinking the leftovers while you cook.
The Best Type Of Beer For Different Types Of Soups
Whether you're a beer connoisseur or not, anyone can recognize the vast range of flavors different types of beers contain. Consequently, certain types of beer are best suited for certain types of soup. For example, nut brown ales have a nutty and earthy flavor to elevate cream and cheese-based soups, from corn chowders to broccoli and cheese soup.
A bitter, hoppy pilsner with malty, yeasty sweetness is another great choice for cheese-based soups, like this beer-cheddar soup recipe from Tasting Table recipe creator Alexis Deboschnek. You could also use a pilsner in a French onion soup, adding a complementary bitter finish to the sweet caramelized flavor of onions and the richness of melted cheese.
For ground beef or bean-based chilies, a hearty, thick porter or stout would enhance the meaty umami flavor and add heft. Porters and stouts would also work well in beef, lamb, or mushroom stews, and birria. Lighter, milder, and sweeter wheat beers would spruce up a chicken or fish soup, from Sicilian fish soup, Brazilian moqueca, or a chicken tortilla soup. To maximize the flavorful benefits of beer, add it to sauteed vegetables and reduce for a minute or two before adding other cooking liquids. If you're making a roux-based soup, add the beer to the flour, butter, and spices before adding cream, milk, and cheese.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.