Types of Beer
Most beers fit into two basic types: lager (such as pilsner and pale lager, which include most mainstream American beers) and ale (such as pale ale, porter, and stout). Ale is brewed with fast-working yeasts, which yield bold, fruity flavors. Lager, made with slower-working yeasts, is cleaner-tasting and less intense. Both can range from pale to dark in color, and from light to heavy in body (see right). The rise in regional microbreweries has led to a wider variety at the supermarket.
How to Use It
Substituting beer in place of water or broth in your favorite dishes -- pot roast, for instance, or braised short ribs -- gives them a more complex depth and heartiness. Beer is also great when used in a batter for frying; besides adding malty flavor, its carbonation aerates the batter.
What's on Tap
This category includes crisp, effervescent pilsners as well as pale lagers and Belgian-style white ales, perfect for steaming mussels, clams, shrimp, or sausages.
These beers have a deeper flavor than light-bodied brews yet aren't as rich as porter or stout. Try an Anchor Steam or Sam Adams Black Lager in barbecue sauce or to braise pork shoulder.
A traditional ale, such as Guinness Stout, pairs heartiness with a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth quality. Enjoy it in lamb stew, beef potpie, or even in chocolate cake.
Recipes to Try: