Cooking With Ontario Beer – from Muskoka to Mill Street

Gee I wish I was cooking with some Ontario craft beer right now

Dads like beer and beer and food go together. These days it is not uncommon for discriminating diners to wash down a gourmet meal with their favourite suds, and many dads are finding just as much pleasure cooking with beer as they do drinking it.

Sure, you will want to use a good full-bodied red wine in your beef bourguignon, but there are umpteen ways to use beer in your culinary adventures that wine cannot match.

So this Father’s Day, if you want to encourage the ol’ man to strut his stuff in the kitchen, suggest that he cook with beer. Dads of today aren’t only at home on a barbecue, in case you haven’t noticed, men have evolved in recent years, gaining culinary skills and digging the cooking process. Dad’s no slouch in the kitchen, but even if he is, most beer recipes are fairly straightforward, and many of them are one pot wonders that are hard to mess up. Beef and Guinness pie, beer battered fish and chips, hearty beer bread, all can be made with the incredible selection of Ontario craft beers. Use India Pale Ale in a marinade for jerk chicken, or a hearty stout in a dish of braised short ribs, or try a beer batter featuring lager the next time you make frito misto. Some of our favourite Ontario brewers that you might want to bring into the kitchen are Muskoka Brewery, Mill Street Organic, Beau’s Beer and Creemore Springs.

If you are looking for something delicious and easy you might want to wet your appetite for a maritime feast of mussels or clams. Father’s Day is June 8th and the weather has been so lovely that it is a perfect occasion for a big feed of Beer Boiled Clams or Beer Steamed Mussels.

throw a little fried bacon in the clams or mussels to jazz them up even more

With a prep time of about fifteen minutes each and a short cooking time, this recipe for clams, courtesy of Robert Irvine of Dinner: Impossible is super easy and will let Dad show his stuff without having to spend all day in the kitchen. Irvine calls for Manila clams, but if these are unavailable Littleneck clams work just as well, although they do take a little longer to steam open, and they come out tender and delicious.

Michael Smith’s of Chef at Home shows us his Beer Steamed Mussels, also incredibly easy, featuring the world’s best mussels from Prince Edward Island.

Whether Dad opts for mussels or clams, make sure the bread is crusty and the beer is ice cold.

Robert Irvine’s Clams in Garlic and Beer

Serves eight


1 cup olive oil

cloves garlic, minced fine

2 red onions, chopped fine

8 dozen small Manila (or Littleneck) clams, well-scrubbed

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves

2 cans beer (your choice)


  • Heat oil in a large stock pot. Gently saute garlic and onions until light golden brown, being careful not to burn them.
  • Place clams in pot and season with salt and pepper. Add fresh basil and pour in beer. Cover pot and bring to boil over medium heat, cooking until clams open.
  • Remove clams to platter or large serving bowl, discarding any that do not open.
  • Pour broth into a serving bowl for dipping with crusty bread.

Michael Smith’s Beer Steamed Mussels

Serves eight


10 pounds mussels

2 bottles of your favourite beer

1/2 cup of butter

2 baguettes, cut into 1-inch slices

Olive oil

Salt and pepper



  • Preheat your grill to high.
  • Drizzle the baguette slices with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill until crispy and golden.
  • Meanwhile toss the mussels, beer and butter into a large pot. Cover and steam over high heat until the mussels open, about 7-8 minutes.
  • Serve with the beer broth and the grilled bread for dipping.


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