Beer-battered fish is a fan favorite. In this article, we explore some of the most popular best beer for fish batter as well as a batter recipe.
When it comes to the type of beer that you use in your fish batter, the options are diverse. Beer adds a bit of flavor to your batter and makes a light and crispy coating. Not all beer styles are ideal for beer-battered fish.
Each beer style can give your fish batter a different texture and style. So selecting the right beer to match your fish is important. Whether you are making crispy fish tacos, fish & chips, or homemade fish sticks, the best beer for battered fish will vary.
Follow along with us as we delve into the beers that work best for a fish batter. We will give you insights into how to select a beer, some beer options to consider, and even our favorite beer batter recipe for fish.
What To Look For In The Best Beer For Fish Batter
Now, you can use a lot of beers in your fish batter recipe. However, there are some factors that you need to think about when selecting a proper beer for your fried fish batter.
Not all beers will work for beer-battered fish. The beer that you select should add a flavor that will complement the fish you are frying. Whitefish is the most popular type of fish for frying.
The goal when selecting a beer is that the flavor of the beer you select should not overpower the flavor of your fish. You also need to consider other foods you may be frying in your beer batter. If you are going to coat your onion rings in the same batter, you will want to find a beer style that works well for both fish and onions.
The amount of carbonation is a really important factor in how your fish batter turns out. Beers with more carbonation add air pockets to the batter. These pockets of air allow you to create a light and crispy coating for your fish.
Heavier beers with less carbonation are nice for traditional fish & chips. These beers create a dense, almost bready type of batter.
Besides helping to create a particular texture in your batter, air pockets created by carbonation also protect your fish from hot oil and overcooking. A good fish batter will be crispy on the outside but leave the fish moist and flaky.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great beer for fried fish. Most of the time, we think that if a product is more expensive, it is better. But in the case of deep fry batter and fish batter, an inexpensive beer can be a great option.
While price is a consideration when you are making a good beer batter for fried fish, it really isn’t the most important feature. You might also be interested in our round-up of the best beer for beer batter.
How To Pick The Best Beer For Your Fish Batter
When selecting the best beer for your fish batter, you will need to ponder three things; first, you will want to consider the type of fish you are going to be frying. Second, you will need to think about how you are enjoying your fish. Third, you need to know how you are frying your fish.
Let’s start with the type of fish; whitefish is usually the best option for frying, but there are a number of fish types that are just as good. Some of our favorites are cod, halibut, haddock, and tilapia. These fish are mild and work nicely for a variety of recipes.
Now that you’ve selected your fish, you need to know how you are enjoying it. Are you pairing it with French fries for fish & chips, or will you be enjoying some fish tacos? These questions help you narrow down the type of beer you want.
Finally, how are you cooking your fish? You will use a different beer for your air fryer than you will need for a deep fryer.
Best Fish Batter Recipe
Crispy Beer Battered Fish Recipe
- Two pounds of firm whitefish filets (cod, halibut, haddock, tilapia, etc.)
- One cup of all-purpose flour
- One tablespoon of garlic powder
- One tablespoon of paprika
- Half a teaspoon of black pepper
- Two teaspoons of seasoned salt
- Salt to taste
- One and one-third cups of beer
- One large egg (lightly beaten)
- Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Step 1: Prepare The Oil
Add two to three inches of oil to a large pot or deep fryer. Heat the oil to 373°F, checking the temperature with a candy thermometer.
Step 2: Prepare The Fish
While the oil is heating, wash the fish filets and pat them dry with a paper towel. Before you dredge the fish filets in batter, cut them into desired sizes, then season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Make The Batter
Stir the all-purpose flour, garlic powder, paprika, and seasonable salt together in a large bowl. Then, gently add the beaten egg to the flour mixture.
Gradually mix in the beer. Whisk gently until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
If you want a fluffier fish batter, consider adding a bit of baking powder. Baking powder is a leavening agent, so it will create a softer coating.
Step 4: Cook The Fish
Dredge each piece of fish into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off. Carefully place battered fish into the hot oil.
Cook each piece of fish until golden brown. This should take three to four minutes. Then place the fish on a wire rack or paper towels to drain.
Best Beer For Fish Batter
Fuller’s ESB is perfect for traditional British-style fried fish. British-style ESBs are not bitter. They are, however, malty and flavorful.
It makes a full-flavored breading and pairs well with tartar sauce and malt vinegar. This beer is not as carbonated, so it gives you a thicker batter than other beer options.
- Amber beer results in a perfect golden brown batter
- A perfect British-style beer
- Malty flavor without excessive bitterness
- Flavor can seem floral
- Not available everywhere
Newcastle Brown Ale
Newcastle Brown Ale is affordable, and it’s fairly easy to find English brown ale. Lighter and more carbonated than Fuller’s ESB, this beer is perfect for creating a golden brown, crispy coating when deep frying.
This beer gives a bready flavor to the batter and is the best beer for other fried foods like onion rings, French fries, and even fried vegetables. You might also be interested in our guide on the best beer for beer cheese.
- Flavorful, malty beer
- No bitterness
- Brown color results in a light golden batter
- Can taste sweet
Guinness is a great beer if you like cooking with beer. Though this beer is a stout, it isn’t as heavy as some others.
Its flavor is light and crisp, with a creamy texture and moderate carbonation. This beer is great if you are making traditional fish & chips and want a thicker coating. The darker color of this drink gives your batter a nice golden brown after frying.
- Great for more flavorful fish
- Batter is creamy and malty
- Affordable and easy to find
- Doesn’t work with mild fish
- Can give an off color to foods
Dos Equis Amber
It may seem surprising, but Mexican beers are great for fish batter. We really like Dos Equis Amber for fish taco batter. This well-carbonated, malty beer with a lovely amber color is ideal for creating a light and crisp coating.
The flavor of this beer is just enough to give your batter a nice flavor, but it won’t overpower the mild whitefish typically used in fish tacos.
- Best beer for fish tacos
- Versatile beer, great for most fried foods
- Flavor doesn’t overpower light fish
- Not available everywhere
- Pricey for a Mexican beer
A lager is a good choice for light and crispy batter. Coors Banquet is a great beer for fish taco batter and homemade fish sticks. This light beer is also a nice option if you are looking for a beer with fewer carbohydrates.
Coors Banquet is surprisingly flavorful for a mass-produced beer. Beer-battered fish get a mild boost of flavor from this beer without crushing the flavor of the fish.
- Available in most places
- Light, malty flavor
- Perfectly carbonated
- Too light for heavier fish
- Doesn’t pair well with heavier batters
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pabst Blue Ribbon is actually a great beer for fish fry batter. Hailing from the Midwest, this beer is a must for frying walleye and other lake fish. This beer is a refreshing lager with a mild flavor. It is perfectly carbonated and is low in alcohol content.
The light, crispy, pale gold breading looks beautiful paired with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, and all of the other Midwest fish fry fixing.
- Very affordable
- Fairly easy to find
- Perfect amount of carbonation
- Not a ton of flavor
- Batter doesn’t fry as golden brown
Morland Old Speckled Hen
Old Speckled Hen is another good option if you are trying traditional British fish & chips. This nitro pale ale is a perfect balance of hoppy bitterness and malty flavors. The balanced profile of a pale ale is a better choice for beer batters than an IPA.
IPAs tend to be too hoppy, while British pale ales are maltier. Morland’s Old Speckled Hen is nitrogenated instead of carbonated, which makes it creamier and results in a smooth beer batter.
- Ideal for British-style fish & chips
- Flavor is well balanced
- Bitterness from hops is noticeable
- Not as easy to find
Fish and chips are really one of our favorite foods. So, it was an easy task to try our favorite batter recipe with a bunch of different beers. The seven beers we selected gave us the best results and offered a variety of flavors, textures, and batter consistency.
Why You Can Trust Me
Cooking with beer is one of my favorite things. I enjoy using beer in everything from the fish batter to bread and stew.
I’ve had a lot of success and a lot of failures cooking with beer. So, I know what works, and I want to help others be successful in cooking with their favorite beers.