Ways to Waste Beer this Winter

Words: Rob Heyns│Photos: League of Beers

Food & Wine

While I was mulling over how much I've enjoyed my beer this summer, my thoughts wondered to the different uses for craft beer. Now, there are weird and wild ideas out there, like using it to trap bugs, washing your hair with it or using it as plant food, but then I stumbled upon these little gems that encompass my two favourite things: beer and food. More to the point, beer IN food.



So without further ado, here’s my list of ways to waste beer in food:

Use beer as a marinade for your meat. Apparently (yes, I haven’t wasted my beer this way yet) the acid in the beer makes the meat really tender. As the enzymes work in cooked or uncooked meat, you may even get away with giving your braai a sprinkling post-cooking. A typical beer marinade would include olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, a dark beer like BrewDog Tokyo and as many other herbs and interesting spices as you can find.


Add beer to the water you cook your rice in. The beer is supposed to give it a nutty, aromatic flavour. I guess no one likes dull rice. The liquid that the rice is cooked in should be about half water, half beer. If you’re going to give this a shot, try a nut-brown ale like Citizen Alliance and let me know how it goes.


Beer batter. So this one I have actually done. I’m thinking fried fish or onion rings. Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery says it’s the carbonation and sugar in the beer that makes the batter lighter and helps it brown better. Amen to that. I would suggest the CBC Amber Weiss. This Weiss is brewed by the master of Weiss in South Africa, Wolfgang Koedel. It is well carbonated to add to the lightness that Garret is referring to and has a good complementary flavour for hake.


Hearty winter stew. Use a good dark winter beer like the Darling Black Mist instead of chicken or beef stock. If you’re going to give this a try, think twice before adding more than 250 ml as you still want it to be a stew, not a beer-centered punch. Anyway, Boteler, a gourmet chef, says you can use beer for any meal where the liquid is reduced. In that case, I’d like a beer soup please.


Beer bread. Trust the Irish to come up with a bread that uses beer. Ironically, you’re not supposed to use Guinness, but rather a light lager like Darling Slow Beer. Beer bread is definitely something I'd like to taste, but I definitely don't have the wherewithal or motivation to make it. It’s supposed to be dense, moist and chewy. Sounds like a good bar snack. Feel free to try out the recipe and send me a slice.


Beer ice cream. Wait, what? Let’s just leave that idea right there and step away quietly. It is now time to avert your eyes to the next paragraph. Be quick about it before the beer ice-cream notices.


Boteler says you can even use beer in sauces. If you overdo it, the bitterness of the hops might overpower the rest of the food so don’t use more than about 120 ml of beer in a sauce. That being said, Boteler quite happily adds beer to spaghetti sauce, chilli con carne and even a cheese soup. Hang on. Who ever heard of cheese soup? As far as I’m concerned, if you are eating cheese soup, you can add whatever you like to it.


Steaming mussels in beer instead of white wine. Okay, I can see the connection. You’ll want to use a light beer, like Devils Peak First Light. In my opinion spicy steamed mussels and Devils Peak First light were dreamt of at the same time and are destined to be together forever. This sounds really simple: add butter, beer and onions to a double boiler and then steam the mussels for ten minutes. Even I can do that. Serve the mussels with a stout to create a good balance of flavours.


Beer Lollies. Ok, they've finally got me. This is something I am going to try as soon as the sun peaks out from behind grey clouds. Buy a popsicle (ice lolly) maker from your nearest grocery store and use different beers instead of juice or ice cream. This sounds awesome. Imagine having a Jack Black ice lolly after your beef and beer stew or a triggerfish popsicle when you get home from work today.


I’m quite impressed by all that craft beer can accomplish with a dash of elbow grease and imagination. So, wish me luck with my beer lollies and braai marinade!



About craft beer


What is a craft beer?

A craft brewer is smaller, independent, traditional and creative.
The beers are made in smaller batches in micro-breweries, which are not owned by public companies. Pure and traditional ingredients of malt, hops, barley and water are used in great variety, although other ingredients can be added to enhance flavour - they are never added to diminish flavour or cost.


Top craft beers around the world

The below beers are a combination of regular winners from the World Beer Awards; consistent high rankers on Rate Beer, Beer Advocate and MyBeer; best sellers; and my own favourites.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA; Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; Devils Peak Block House IPA; Pliney the Elder IPA from Russian River; Gouden Carolus Classic; Rogue Dead Guy Ale; Deschutes Red Chair NWPA; Weihenstephaner Vitus; Samuel Adams Boston Lager; and Duvel.


Did you know?

• Craft beer is the fastest growing category of beer worldwide.
• Craft beer tends to contain good quality carbohydrates and B vitamins.
• Craft beer pairs well with a multitude of food dishes in a way that wine cannot. This is due in
part to the fact that there are infinitely more potential varieties of craft beer that can be brewed
whereas wine is dependent on the type of grapes.


Craft beer events

• We Love Real Beer - Cape Town: 27 September (TBC)
• The Cape Town Festival of Beer - Green Point: 22-24 November
• The Clarens Beer Festival - Clarens: February 2014


Brew Bread


For those of you who would tell me that beer is bread in a can, I say HA! Now I offer you beer in a loaf!


As I was scouting around online for the best-looking beer bread recipe (yes, there are many) I discovered this 'Buttery Honey Beer Bread'. As a self-proclaimed man’s man, I am renaming it 'Brew Bread for the Bru’s' (also a fun tongue twister.) This recipe looked simple and foolproof.


Brew Bread for the Bru's


Recipe for 1 loaf
Preparation time: 5 minutes (Just before I start to lose interest. I like.)
Cooking time: 1 hour (Just enough time for two episodes of Top Gear while boiling a batch of pale ale.



• 1 tablespoon of castor sugar (I wouldn’t want to buy a
whole packet, so I’d try blitz some normal white sugar
in my coffee grinder.
• 1 cup of bread flour.
• 2 cups of normal flour (Cake flour I think it’s called)
• 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
• 1 teaspoon of salt (apparently a teaspoon is 5 ml and a
tablespoon is 15 ml).
• 1 bottle of beer (Supposedly any beer will do, but I
don’t see any yeast in this recipe, so I would add a
bottle of conditioned beer like the Namaqua
Blonde from Quills, which is light, but full of flavour and
goes well with honey).
• 3 tablespoons of honey.
• 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (Melted and cooled).



1) Set the oven to 180˚C.
2) Grease your loaf pan - you’re looking at a 12 x 23 cm
pan. I would just Spray ‘n Cook at this point.
3) Mix together the two flours, sugar, baking powder and
salt - all the dry ingredients.
4) Add the beer and honey and mix again.
5) Place batter into the greased loaf tin and then trickle
the melted butter over the batter – this is supposed to
give it a good crust. Then plonk it into the oven.
6) Bake until a knife or skewer comes out clean - check
after 50 minutes and then every five minutes or so until
it’s done.
7) Allow to cool and then slice it up like there’s no


Also have a look at using beer in stew. In fact, you could make stew and then make some bread to go with it. Then drink a beer while you’re eating. That means the satisfaction of three beers, but you can still drive to go get some ice-cream from McD’s, unless, of course, you are keen to make beer ice cream!


Here’s to embracing winter with beer-inspired comfort food!