We like to think everything tastes better with beer… now science brings us another step closer to understanding why beer-battered fried food tingles our taste buds so.
Beer makes a great base for batter because it simultaneously adds three ingredients—carbon dioxide, foaming agents and alcohol—each of which brings to bear different aspects of physics and chemistry to make the crust on your fish and chips so light and crisp.
I’ll let Scientific American explain it:
Beer is saturated with CO2. Unlike most solids, like salt and sugar, which dissolve better in hot liquids than they do in cold, gases dissolve more readily at low temperatures. Put beer into a batter mix, and when the batter hits the hot oil, the solubility of the CO2 plummets, and bubbles froth up, expanding the batter mix and lending it a lacy, crisp texture.
They go on to say that beer foam makes a good thermal insulator and that because alcohol evaporates faster than water or milk that you might use in a batter, you don’t have to cook the food as long… or something like that.
Thanks science; and thanks beer… is there anything you don’t make better?