Ah, beer. Ever the versatile drinking companion to a host of our favourite dishes but did you know that cooking with beer, extends far beyond beer battered fries and onion rings?
Most beers as it turns out are on average 99.9% sugar free and completely preservative free like Hahn Super Dry or James Boags Premium. A bottle of XXXX Gold is just 109 calories while a Hahn SuperDry 3.5 is only 78 calories. So with that in mind were pretty keen to give cooking with beer a shot!
Currently Head-Chef at Beer Deluxe (an empire of beer appreciation) Jake Furst is a master of cooking with all kinds of brews. From wheat beers to stouts and using beer in dessert we joined Jake in the kitchen, to learn the basics of cooking with beer.
Tell us a little about your background as a Chef? Where did you start out?
I started cooking with my parents when I was ten years old, with their catering company. After I had finished school, I decided I wanted to make something out of it and so I moved out to Melbourne to start my apprenticeship at Toofeys in Carlton. After two and a half years, I moved to The Point in Albert Park and worked at a few other restaurants in Melbourne.
How did you end up at Beer Deluxe?
I ended up with Beer Deluxe after a beer with the old owner and initially I was only meant to stay to get things started. After five years I’m still here and have seen this place grow from one venue in Melbourne to multiple Australia wide.
Why chose to cook with beer?
I find it interesting! There are so many styles and outcomes when cooking with beer. Its always exciting. There is also a huge range of beer. There are so many different options both to drink and to cook with, and you find you learn something different every time.
Do you feel like beer and food, can sometimes be overlooked?
Definitely. We are all used to cooking with wine and having wine with a meal, but all too often no one thinks about cooking with beer.
Hops, malt, yeast and water are the foundations of beer how does that compliment cooking?
Beer can be a natural meat tenderizer, the residual yeast in beer complements bread it is also great in pancakes!
What beers can we cook with?
Nearly all Beers! Sours for desserts, stouts for braising, wheat beer for seafood… The list can go on forever! I sometimes find the more creative craft beers can be a challenge. They certainly taste good but can be a struggle to cook with.
When it comes to beer, no other beverage can match the sheer variety on offer. Lagers, pilsners, brown ales, pale ales, Indian pale ales, porters, stouts, wheat beers, fruit beers and more. And when you factor in the many varieties that fall under each of those categories, then youve barely even scratched the surface. This incredible diversity makes it easier than you might imagine to pair beer with any type of food you can think of. Pairing beer with food enhances the flavours of the dish and showcases the complex elements of a well-brewed beer.
So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!
You can catch Jake cooking weekly at Beer Deluxe in Melbourne’s Federation Square. Book early to avoid disappointment.