Most American, English and German beers are considered kosher. However, some stouts and flavored beers do require certification. Beers fall into three different categories: lagers, ales (the difference between them is the type of yeast used in fermentation) and specialty beers. The four main ingredients for most beers are water, malted barley (or wheat), hops and yeast. Ales are usually higher in alcohol content and have a more complex flavor. Lagers are usually lighter in color and can be somewhat drier than ale. In specialty beers, just about everything but the kitchen sink goes. I’ve seen brewer’s use chocolate, pumpkin, fruit juices, candy and just about anything else you can think of.
Beer can be used in marinades to tenderize meat as well as with sweeter vegetables like onions, carrots and corn. It gives them an earthier flavor but you may need to add just a touch of sugar or honey to the vegetable dish to counteract the bitter component of the beer. The yeast in beers is also terrific when used as a leavening agent in baking or in batters.
NOTE: For those of you who don’t imbibe alcohol, you can utilize the non-alcoholic types of beers and get pretty much the same results.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.