There it is, your front door. You’ve been waiting for this moment since you left for work this morning and finally it’s here! Time to change into some comfy clothes, find your handy-dandy Craft Beer Club bottle opener and let all the stress of the day fall away when you hear the sweet, sweet “TSST” sound of CO2 escaping from your freshly opened craft beer. Sit back, relax and sip on your heavenly brew while doing whatever it is you do to wind-down. You don’t need anything else in the world right now - it’s just you and your beer.
But what about dinner?
That sounds pretty nice right about now, and you tell yourself you should probably get up and make something. It is after, all the “responsible” adult thing to do, plus you're hungry. Then add on your spouse, however many kids you have, the dog, the cat...but you get it. The whole 2 minutes of relaxing time is up and you're back to it.
Here’s where most people get stuck. You’ve had your beer delivered, now what do you pair with it? We’ve got you covered! Follow our guide for 7 days - yes a full weeks worth of beer-inspired meals to cook that will not only enhance your beer, but the food too. See our post on The Do’s and Don’ts for Cooking With Beer for simple guidelines to follow when cooking with beer.
Day 1: Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches
It’s your first day of this week-long adventure! Congrats, you’ve made it to the first step. We’re making it easy on you and starting off with pulled pork sandwiches featuring a slow-cooker. Pop all the ingredients in before work and voilá! Mouthwatering aromas of spices, brown sugar, garlic and onions will meet you in your driveway and welcome you home with open arms.
Pro Tip: Substitute half of the chicken broth with any of the beer styles listed below to add an extra oomph!
Pair with an India Pale Ale, Amber Ale, or Bavarian-style Lager
Day 2: Beer Steamed Mussels with Bacon
Here’s another beer-inspired way to sneak in some added flavor to your classic steamed mussels. Plus, this recipe calls for bacon! Beer, Bacon and Mussels, what more could you ask for? Not only is this another easy recipe, you can use almost any light beer to do the steaming. Crack open a bottle of craft beer and bask in your exceptional cooking abilities. You might want to make some veggies or a salad as a side.
Pair with a Belgian Witbier or American Blonde Ale
Day 3: IPA Marinated Steak with Grilled Veggies
Today, you’ll have to put in a bit more effort to get this recipe on the table than the previous two nights. But don’t worry, you can do it. The trick to this one is to create the marinade the night before or in the morning so the steaks can soak up all the tasty flavors of garlic, onion, red pepper, jalapeños and of course, an IPA. All you’ll need to do when you get home is unseal your ziplock bag and cook what’s inside. Not too bad right? Better yet, you’ll get a tender and juicy steak with minimal effort.
Pair with an IPA, Pilsner or even an English Brown Ale
Day 4: Cajun Chicken Pasta
Oooh… you heard right! We’re gonna spice up your night tonight with some Cajun Chicken Pasta. Easy to make but so much better to eat and everyone will be thanking you for bringing this amazingness into their lives. Packing in all the seasonings, including Cajun seasoning, basil, lemon pepper, garlic, and more, not to mention the bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Pile your plate high because it looks as though you’ll have the perfect no-fuss, and ever-indulgent evening.
Pro Tip: Try marinating your chicken in beer before cooking, or add some to your pan along with the butter while cooking.
Pair with a Winter Warmer, Munich Helles Lager or a Red Ale
Day 5: Milk Stout Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ok, we know this shouldn’t qualify as a “meal” but we can’t forget dessert! It’s day 5 and you've been working hard in the kitchen all week - you deserve some beer cookies. Take a break from cooking, maybe order from your favorite restaurant and prepare yourself for baking. These little morsels of heaven from your childhood have upped their game by turning 21 and are back, better than ever.
Pair it with a Milk/Sweet Stout, Porter or Brown Ale
Day 6: Baked Mustard-Crusted Salmon with Asparagus
Leaning towards something a bit more healthy because, believe it or not, good craft beer goes with good food, period. From the mustard crust to the perfectly pink salmon and a side of crunchy asparagus, the only thing missing is a nice cold craft beer. Taking a total time of 45 minutes to make, you’ll be sitting down to a superb meal fit for a king/queen in no time.
Pro Tip: Mix a bit of beer to your mustard before spreading it on your salmon. While this adds flavor, you may need to add more panko breadcrumbs to compensate for the extra liquid and ensure you get a nice crust.
Pair with a dry Irish Stout or an Altbier
Day 7: Beer-Marinated Chicken Street Tacos
Hooray! You’ve made it to the final night of beer-inspired recipes. Congratulations are in order and we’re celebrating with some Beer-Marinated Chicken Street Tacos. Simple to make, tasty to eat and as an added bonus, you’re allowed to eat with your hands. End your week on a high note and splurge with a nice helping of guacamole and grab a cold bottle of craft beer to top it all off.
Pair with an American Dark Wheat Ale or a Saison/Farmhouse Ale
There you have it, a week’s worth of top-notch recipes that are bound to make your beer and tastebuds happy. Now that your un-inspired, half-flavored, beer-infusion-lacking days are over, it’s time to experiment! If only it were that easy, right? All of you who can actually cook amazing meals on your own, try adding some beer to your recipes for some extra pizazz. And for those of you who need some extra help in this department, look no further than our Featured Recipes page! All recipes are beer-friendly and may even call for some as an ingredient.
PS. Each shipment of our Craft Beer Club comes with newsletters with details about the featured craft beers, brewery and recipes to pair with them! Craft beer + recipes each month = best package ever.