We love beer. Some might say our passion for it borders on obsession. Luckily beer has some surprising benefits (assuming it's consumed in moderation). For one, it has nutrients – yes, you read that right. And some studies have shown that it may potentially improve cholesterol levels and boost cognitive health, among other perks.

In the name of health, and summertime, we've come up with the following recipes, which might just convince you that beer is good for more than just drinking. It's fun to cook with and it adds flavor, too. A few of these recipes can be made on the grill, and all of them can be taken on the road – not a bad way to spend a summer afternoon.

Damn Good Beer Bread

3 ways to cook with beer

Cheese, onions and beer – a combination just about anyone can appreciate.

Makes 1 (8 1/2-inch) loaf

Ingredients
-2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

-1 tbsp baking powder

-1 tsp salt

-12 oz Sierra Nevada Summerfest beer

-1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

-1 medium onion, diced and sauteed

-2 tbsp melted butter

3 ways to cook with beer

Mix it up. Photo: Erin McGrady

Directions

-Heat oven to 375° F.

-Grease loaf pan with butter or oil.

-Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.

-Pour in the beer and onions and stir until thoroughly mixed.

-Gently fold in ¾ cup of cheddar cheese.

-Pour batter into pan.

-Drizzle the melted butter on top of the batter.

3 ways to cook with beer

Pack this up and take it with you. Photo: Erin McGrady

-Bake for about 30 minutes then sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.

-Test to make sure the bread is cooked in the center by sticking a knife in the center. It should come out clean.

-Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Great served warm or toasted.

Curry Beer Chicken

3 ways to cook with beer

Nothing says summer like the sizzle of a grill. Photo: Erin McGrady

Ingredients:

-1 cup beer (we used Amstel Light)

-2 lbs chicken (we used bone-in thighs with the skin)

-1/2 cup olive oil

-1 1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-1 tsp curry powder

-1/2 tsp cumin

-1 tsp dried oregano

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-3 tbsp onion, chopped fine

-1/4 cup fresh thyme

-1 lemon squeezed

3 ways to cook with beer

This marinade just got a little better. Photo: Erin McGrady

Directions:

-Add all of the ingredients to a 1 gallon resealable bag.

-Squeeze out as much air as possible and close bag.

-Knead the bag so that all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

-Put the bag on a plate or pan and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

-Remove from refrigerator and turn the bag over a few more times to evenly disperse the marinade.

3 ways to cook with beer

Curry and beer come together to create some of the best barbecued chicken. Photo: Erin McGrady

-Turn your grill to medium heat.

-Sear the chicken for ten minutes on one side; flip to sear for ten minutes on the other side.

-Change heat to low and move chicken to the upper rack to cook for ten more minutes or until chicken is cooked through the center. If you don't have an upper rack on your grill, put chicken in a pan and tent loosely with foil for ten minutes to finish cooking.

Kickin' Beer Queso

3 ways to cook with beer

Forget what you bought at the store, and make it fresh. Photo: Erin McGrady

Ingredients:

-12 oz beer (we used Miller Lite)

-8 oz low fat cream cheese

-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

-1 medium tomato

-2 garlic cloves, minced

Garlic is almost always the star of any good dip. Photo: Erin McGrady

Directions:

-Put beer, garlic and cubed cream cheese in a pot on low heat.

-Whisk or stir until the cream cheese is melted and smooth. Make sure the mixture does not boil or the cream cheese will curdle.

-Add shredded cheese a handful at a time and stir until melted.

3 ways to cook with beer

Docks and dip. Photo: Erin McGrady

-Add diced tomato and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes until the dip thickens. Check this by coating a spoon and letting the dip cool (It should be creamy but not soupy.)

-Pour in a bowl and eat with corn chips, pretzels, veggies, crostini, or anything dip-worthy.

Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are based in Asheville, North Carolina, but are currently traveling the country in their van. You can follow along with their adventures at Authentic Asheville.

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