Because beer is such a satisfying, cooling beverage, many people forget that it is also one of the world's greatest seasoning agents. Used properly, beer turns the most ordinary foods into exceptional party fare, adding an indefinite, subtle quality to a surprising number of desires. In meat cookery, for example, beer is a classic ingredient. Used in place of water as the simmering liquid, it brings out all the richness of the meat and vegetables. The alcohol evaporates in the cooking, leaving only the delicate flavors to intrigue the diner. 

As a marinade for meat, fish or seafood, it penetrates and tenderizes. In roasting, baking or broiling, beer is used to baste the foods or as an ingredient in the basting sauce to impart a rich, dark color and highlight the gravy. 

Beer and cheese are perfect companions. The famous Welsh Rarebit is actually nothing more than melted cheese thinned with beer. In modern dips based on cheese or a combination of cheeses, a little beer in the mixture makes them truly outstanding. 

As a baking liquid, beer is unsurpassed. It adds a lightness and buoyancy to biscuits, pancakes, cakes, and a variety of homemade breads. Experiment with beer as all or part of the liquid in packaged mixes to reconstitute instant or freeze-dried foods.