Budget tip: Cooking with beer

Many recipes, especially mine, call for beer. Often it is best to use heavy imported ales or micro-brews for this purpose due to stronger flavors that don't get washed down while cooking, but they can be expensive. Here's a solution that works well for me.

In the back of most supermarkets is a close out shelf of discontinued or about to expire merchandise. While usually it contains products most people don't buy, quite often I've found beer or wine that is either not going to be carried any more or has been on the shelf a little too long at great discounts. While it may not be optimum for drinking anymore, it still is useful for cooking! For instance, nothing is better as a liquid for a nice beef stew on a chilly fall evening than a robust brown ale, and I was able to get two bottles for the price of one at Safeway yesterday. I have seen some decent wines that would be great for cooking at similar prices on the back shelf of both Safeway and Albertson's. Save yourself some cash and pick them up when you see them. They are a great way to stretch your budget.

Remember, you don't have to like a beer or wine for drinking in order for it to be a great base for an amazing meal.