In this article, we will explore some of the best beer for beer bread and provide a few suggestions and advice on how to pick the right beer for beer bread.
A common misconception with bakers is that you can make beer bread with any style of beer. That, however, is wrong. To make a good-tasting, light, and easy-to-enjoy beer bread, you need the right beer.
Beer bread is a traditional quick bread, meaning it’s made without yeast and doesn’t need time to rise before baking. The type of beer you use in beer bread influences not only the taste of the bread but the texture as well. So, picking the right beer for beer bread is important.
In this article, we will guide you through how to select the right beer for your beer bread recipe. We will give you some hints for what to look for, and we will end with our picks for the best beer for beer bread.
What To Look For In Best Beer For Beer Bread
The key to a good beer for beer bread is low alcohol and high starch. Traditionally, the beers used in bread were light beers like pilsners, light lagers, and light ales. There are even some kinds of beer bread that use British-style IPAs because they are lower in alcohol.
What makes a beer a nice complement to bread is starch. The extra starch keeps beer bread fluffy.
Beers that have higher starch content are those that have a malty or toasty flavor. These beers start with grains that have been roasted so that their starches are easily removed when heated.
How To Pick The Best Beer For Beer Bread
When you are thinking about making beer bread, the decision about what beer to use can be daunting, but it does not have to be. There are a few good “rules” to follow:
- Don’t use American or New Zealand-style IPAs. They are just too bitter, and they won’t improve the taste of your bread.
- Lighter-bodied brown, red, or amber ales have plenty of starches to make a light loaf of bread with lots of flavors.
- Try substituting water in seasonal bread with complimentary beers. For example, add a bit of pumpkin beer to a loaf of pumpkin bread.
- If you want to use a darker beer, use whole wheat or whole grain flour. This will create a hearty bread that is dense and pairs nicely with winter foods.
- Don’t be afraid of beers with sweeter flavor profiles. These can make a regular loaf of bread a fantastic addition to your breakfast table.
Guinness Draught stout is considered one of the best beers for cooking in general. When it comes to bread, Guinness is both flavorful and light, so it won’t bog down your bread.
The darker malt profile used in brewing Guinness adds extra starches to your dough. Your resulting bread is light and flavorful. The dark color of Guinness will give your bread a nice caramel color.
- A perfect beer for hearty wheat bread
- Gives bread a smooth texture and a toasty flavor
- Inexpensive and easy to find
- Not great for light or sweet bread
- Dark color can make white bread look strange
Bocks are another great beer for cooking. When used in bread, a bock will add a malty and sweet flavor. Bocks are not bitter and have a lighter color, so they won’t create a strange bred color.
Shiner Bock is our preference for dense wheat bread. The sweetness of this beer makes a bread that pairs nicely with steak and pork.
- Lighter color works well with a lighter flour
- Gives bread a slightly sweet flavor
- Enough starch to keep bread fluffy
- You can only buy this beer in the US
Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier
We like to make beer bread when the temperatures get cooler, and it isn’t so miserable to run the oven. Oktoberfest-style beers are a great seasonal beer for beer bread.
Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier is brewed in Germany and has a balanced flavor profile of malt, nuts, and toast with just a hint of sweetness. This beer works perfectly with light bread for sandwiches or breakfast toast.
- Is a great traditional beer for German-style beer bread
- Adds a bit of sweetness to a light-style bread
- An easy-to-find beer
- Typically only available between September and November
- Does have a slight amount of bitterness
- May not be easy to find in smaller markets
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Yes. We have included Pabst Blue Ribbon in our list of the best beers for beer bread. Lovingly referred to as PBR, this beer is not to be taken lightly when it comes to baking.
It is a perfect American lager with a robust malt profile and a bready, nutty flavor. While we wouldn’t drink PBR on a regular basis, it is a favorite for making bread. It really gives a depth of flavor to light bread but is mild enough that you won’t know that there is beer in the mix.
- You can find this beer just about anywhere
- Really affordable
- Strong enough to give the bread a perfect malty flavor
- This is not a fancy beer
- Doesn’t pair well with heavier bread
Lupulin Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter
We wouldn’t use this beer for most bread recipes, but it is a fun addition to sweet bread and holiday treats. This rich and thick peanut butter porter is a great beer for darker bread and desserts or breakfast bread. Lupulin Chocolate Peanut Butter porter is a surprisingly fun addition to your typical banana bread.
- Perfect beer for sweet or dessert bread
- Has a bold flavor that doesn’t dissipate during cooking
- Not bitter
- Makes your bread smell like peanut butter
- Can make your bread denser
- Only available seasonally
- A more expensive craft beer
Yuengling Light Lager
If you just can’t bring yourself to use Pabst Blue Ribbon, Yuengling is another flavorful light-lager option. This beer has a bold malt profile with flavors of caramel and toast.
There is a bit of sweetness that comes out during baking that isn’t as noticeable in the beer on its own. There is a slight amount of bitterness to this beer, but it doesn’t have a big impact on the flavor of your bread.
- Works well with light-style bread
- Gives bread a little sweet flavor
- Light color will not add or change the color of your dough
- Doesn’t add much flavor to your bread
- More expensive than other options
Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale
English-style nut brown ales are a popular beer style for cooking in general. Samuel Smith’s nut brown ale pairs well with light wheat bread or fruit bread. The sweet and nutty flavor works well in banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread. This is also a nice beer for adding a bit of sweetness to breakfast breads.
- Has subtle flavors of almond, walnut, and beech nut
- Has a slight amount of sweetness
- Rich brown color pairs well with darker bread
- Can be hard to find
To find the best beers for beer bread we altered our favorite bread recipes to include beer as the liquid instead of water. We made numerous loaves of bread and tried them with our favorite spreads, including butter, Nutella, jam, and honey. The beers we’ve selected made bread that was flavorful, light in texture, and paired well with at least one of our preferred toppings.
Why You Can Trust Me
Beer and food are two of our favorite things. In our free time, we love to hunt down new beers, restaurants we’ve never tried, and new and interesting recipes. You might also like our guides on the most popular Irish beers and Belgian beers.