It is often thought of as a myth that adding beer to chili is a normal thing to do, but it is! Adding beer to a chili can spice up your usual recipe and enhance the flavors of your chili.
If you are intrigued by adding beer to chili and want to know what kind of beer enhances what flavors, we have all the information that you need.
There are so many beers in the world that it can sometimes be difficult to choose one to sip on a warm summer’s day, so how do you decide what one to add to chili.
You might have a certain type of beer that you are considering using in chili, but how do you know if it is a suitable beer to add to your beloved recipe?
This article will help you to understand the different types of beer that you can add to your chili and how they will enhance the flavors.
Find out more about the best beers to add to your chili recipe here!
Are Beer And Chili A Good Combination?
They seem like an unlikely combination, but maybe you enjoy sipping on a certain beer while tucking into a beautifully made chili.
However, this article is about adding beer into chili, something that you might find quite odd at the moment.
Adding beer to chili helps to enhance the flavor profile of the recipe, but how?
When you add water to chili, it thins the chili instead of making it thicker, and we know that there is nothing worse than a watery chili.
When you add beer to the pan, it ends up reducing the chili and making it thicker.
As it makes the chili thicker, it adds a lot of flavor to the dish that you cannot get by just adding water.
Does Adding Beer To Chili Make It Taste Better?
If you have been struggling to thicken your chili, adding beer will drastically improve your recipe as the chili will taste full of flavor and richness.
The beer is simply used in the recipe to enhance the taste of the ingredients that have already been added, not to overpower or take away from their presence.
How To Choose The Right Beer
As there are so many varieties of beer to choose from, you may be uncertain about where to begin, especially if you have never added beer to chili before.
The main way that you choose a beer to add to your chili is based on what kind of peppers you have used in your recipe.
The most common peppers that are used in chili recipes are jalapeños, ghost peppers, habaneros peppers, and bell peppers.
The reason that you choose the beer based on the peppers that you are using is that you need to make sure that the beer complements the chili, not overpowers the flavors.
Once you have chosen the peppers that you are using in your chili, you will know how spicy your chili is going to be when it’s done.
If the chili is going to be spicy, you need to use a darker beer in the recipe. If you are using milder peppers, you will need to use a lighter beer.
Beers To Use In Chili
If you want to start adding beer to your chili recipe but are unsure which beer is best, take a look below to see what beers are most popular to use and how they enhance the flavors.
Find out more about which beer you should use in your chili recipe below and add it to your shopping list!
IPA beers are known for gaining their flavor profiles from hops used during the brewing process, so they often come in a wide variety of flavors.
You can have IPA beers that are flavored with citrus, tropical fruits, floral notes, or earthy notes.
You may not have realized it, but IPA beers are great to add to chili as they are packed full of flavors that can really enhance the ingredients in your chili.
If you are using mild peppers in your chili, IPA beer will work extremely well.
If the chili is too spicy, the IPA beer will not enhance the flavor as the spiciness will not mix well with the flavors from the hops.
Light lagers are very crisp and refreshing, which makes them perfect to have chilled on a warm day.
The freshness of a light lager actually complements the flavors in a chili very well as the last of the lager will not overpower the chili.
As the lager is light and crisp, it won’t add a lot of flavor to your chili as it doesn’t have an overpowering taste.
However, the flavor of the light lager will enhance the ingredients in the chili and bring out all the delicious flavors that are already in the chili.
The beer won’t change the flavor of the chili by adding the light lager, but if you are looking to solely enhance the flavors that are already in the chili, then this beer is perfect.
English Pale Ale
English pale ales have very earthy notes that are often characterized as very bitter beers.
If you are a fan of bitters, an English pale ale will be perfect for your taste buds, but don’t let the bitterness of the beer put you off using it in the chili recipe.
If you are making a chili that isn’t very spicy, an English pale ale will work perfectly, especially if you are using bell peppers in your recipe.
As bell peppers are sweet, the bitter pale ale nicely balances the chili so neither the sweetness nor the bitterness is too overpowering.
You may find that you want to add a small sprinkling of sugar into the chili if you are still unsure about the bitterness of the English pale ale.
Keep testing the chili to make sure that you have perfectly balanced the sweetness and bitterness for your preferences.
American Pale Ale
American pale ales taste differently from English pale ales as most of their flavor comes from the hops that are used during their brewing process.
The flavors of the American pale ale are light and have undertones of citrus and earthiness.
As American pale ales are light beers, they are great for enhancing the flavors in a chili recipe.
If you are using mild peppers in your chili, using this beer will help to bring out the flavors of the ingredients and thicken the chili to make sure that it is the perfect consistency after cooking.
Due to the lightness of the beer, this beer works best in milder chili, so it won’t compliment a spicy chili the same way as it complements a mild chili.
Stout beers are very dark and rich, making them very popular to use in cooking.
The rich flavors of stout are over distinctive and have undertones of chocolate and coffee, both strong flavors themselves.
The reason that stout is so popular to use in chili is due to the darkness of the beer, so it is a perfect addition to spicy chili.
If you are using spicy peppers in your recipe, adding stout to the ingredients will help to balance the flavor of the chili and add to the richness of the ingredients that are already present in the dish.
If you are using milder peppers, stout will overpower the flavors, so it is always recommended that you use lighter beers.
The richness of the stout perfectly complements the spiciness of the chili, so it is important to use the right richness in your chili.
Sours are very popular beers across the world, but how do they work when they are added to a chili recipe?
The ingredients used in sours are what the beer tastes like, so the taste of the fruit that is used during the brewing process is present in the final product.
The best chili to add sours to is a chili that isn’t too mild or too spicy, somewhere in the middle of these two levels.
If your chili has some sweetness present in the recipe, from either bell peppers or onions, the sours will complement these flavors and help to enhance both the sweetness and spiciness of the chili.
If you are using bell peppers in your recipe, you can use sours if you are also including other elements of spice, either from other peppers or spices used to season the chili. The sours best complement medium-level spice chili, so not too mild or too spicy.
American wheat beers are extremely versatile as they are often made with different flavor profiles depending on the brand that has brewed the beer.
The beer is pale and can be brewed to include undertones of berries, other types of fruits, and sometimes even chili to complement the taste of the beer.
The best level of spice for a chili to have when using American wheat in the chili recipe is a medium-spice level.
If you are using bell peppers in the chili, season the chili with cumin to further enhance the use of the American wheat as this will greatly complement the other flavors that are present in the chili.
You can use both bell peppers and other spicy peppers in the chili to create the medium-spiced chili, but you can also get some spice from the cumin that is used to season the chili.
Make sure that the chili isn’t too spicy as this beer will not complement the recipe the same as it does a medium-spiced chili.
You might be familiar with barleywine beers as they are very strong, so how would they complement a chili instead of overpowering it?
There isn’t a set taste for barleywine beers as they can sometimes taste bitter or fruity depending on how they are brewed.
As barleywine beer is very strong, it is the perfect addition to spicy chili. You need a strong beer to influence the high-spice level, and this is the perfect one!
The beer is able to bring out the flavors of the chili without being overpowered by the level of spice, something that a milder beer would be unable to do.
You need to make sure that you only add a small amount of barleywine to the chili as you do not want to overpower the chili with the beer.
You can start off by adding a small amount of beer into the pan and gradually increasing the amount as you keep tasting it to make sure that you do not add too much to the chili and ruin the flavor.
American Brown Ale
American brown ales are dark beers that also have hints of sweetness, so they are very complementary to the strong flavors in chili.
The beer has sweet flavors that are similar to caramel or chocolate, providing you with a rich and sweet-tasting beer that works very well when added to chili.
This beer mostly complements chili that is medium-spiced or very spicy as the sweetness of the ale works perfectly with these flavors.
The sweetness of the ale is perfect for complementing the spiciness of the chili without overpowering the other flavors in the recipe.
You should gradually add the beer to make sure that you don’t add too much to the recipe.
It is advised that you keep tasting the chili when adding the beer to make sure that you are happy with how much you have added in and to check if you need to add a bit more to the pan.
Hefeweizen beers have an incredibly unique flavor profile as they have undertones of banana and spices like cloves that are present in the taste. The beer is very well balanced, making it a very good addition to cooking, especially to a chili recipe.
The beer perfectly complements spicy chili as it is able to bring out the flavors of the chili without being too overpowering. If you are using habanero chilies in your recipe, this beer will complement the spiciness whilst also adding some more flavor to the dish.
This beer works best in spicy chili as there is the possibility that the flavor of the chili could become overpowered by the beer when you use it in a milder chili.
This is why it is recommended that you use hefeweizens in recipes that are medium-spiced or even spicier, to make sure that none of the flavors are overpowered.
Porters are very popular beers as they have a very intense flavor profile.
There isn’t just one flavor of these beers as they can sometimes taste very rich with undertones of coffee and chocolate, or they can have subtle tastes of citrus from the hops that are used during their brewing process.
As porters are very dark beers, they are only suitable to use in spicy chili as they have very strong flavors that will overpower milder chili.
If you are using spicy chilies like ghost peppers and you are worried that the beer won’t come through, don’t worry! P
orters will be able to complement the flavor of the chili without being overpowered or overpowering the ingredients.
As porters are very strong and bold, it is important to make sure that you do not add too much to the dish.
You can start off by adding some of the beer to the dish but make sure that you keep testing to make sure that you are happy with both the spice and beer level in the chili as you don’t want to be overpowered by too many different flavors.
To conclude, there are lots of different beers that you can add to chili, but you need to make sure that you choose a beer that will complement the ingredients you are using, not overpower them.
There is usually the rule that you should use light beers for mild chili and dark beers for spicy chili as the stronger beers are able to complement the spice levels in the chili, not overpower them.
Using a light beer in a spicy chili will lead to the beer getting lost, and you won’t be able to enhance any of the present flavors of the chili.
This is why a light beer is perfect in a mild chili as it complements the ingredients, whereas a strong beer would overpower the chili.