Fried Beer Exists. Here's What We Know About It

Says one Instagram reviewer, "Imagine skunky warm beer inside a pizza roll. Absolutely gross!!!!" Says another Instagram review (titled State Fair Horror Story 2), "One bite and the escaping beer serves as a dipping sauce." Mark Zable, who introduced the phenomenon at the 2010 Texas State Fair, would disagree. He describes the experience of eating the small, deep-fried, ravioli-shaped phenomenons as akin to eating a pretzel with a beer (via NPR). The plate won 2010 year's "most creative category" at the  Texas State Fair (via Atlas Obscura), so there might be something to it. 

We're talking about fried beer, of course. Yes, it's kind of like deep-fried Coca-Cola, except for the facts that fried beer isn't PG-13, and deep-fried Coca-Cola isn't filled with the soda. It's just fried Coca-Cola-flavored batter. Fried beer, on the other hand, is actually dough stuffed with beer (if it's up to Zable, Guinness) and dropped in hot oil. 

Sound simple? It wasn't. As Zable told NPRIt took him two years to perfect the recipe. Why? It turns out that "putting a liquid into a fryer is a really bad idea." Or, as Extra Crispy observes, " potentially water responds explosively to hot oil, potentially burning you severely or you or even igniting a grease fire. That may be why Gawker labeled Zable's deep-fried beer pockets as not only "the future of American food" but "little symbols of wanton disregard for health." Go figure. 

How fried beer won big at the Texas State Fair

The Texas State Fair's food court is one giant love letter to everything fried. Head to the fair, and good luck choosing between fried taco cones or fried PB&Js, deep-fried mangos or deep-fried peaches, deep-fried chicken noodle soup on a stick or deep-fried sponge cake wrapped in bacon, and deep-fried Fruit Loops or deep-fried bubblegum (via Garden and Gun and  Serious Eats). Need we go on? 

The year that Zable competed and won the prize Texas State Fair's "most creative" dish at their annual competition, The Big Texas Cook-Off, he was up against fierce competitors (no surprises there). The contenders for the prize included fried club salad, a fried frozen margarita, and fried lemonade (via St. Louis Post Dispatch). How exactly did fried beer win the day? For one, Zable was no stranger to the Texas State Fair's food offerings when he introduced the beer. His father sold Belgian waffles at the fair for 47 years (via City Pages).  And then, as Zable told NPR, he himself had competed two times before in the cook-off, giving him a pretty solid idea of what was (and wasn't) going to impress the judges. As Zable asked the Dallas Morning News, "Why drink your beer when you can eat it?" It's hard to argue with that logic.   

Can you buy fried beer today?

Mark Zable filed to patent his fried beer in 2010 (via Justia), but as of this writing, it appears no patent has been granted. For a while, apparently, you could order it from Zable online and have it delivered to your door, packed in dry ice (via Drinking America). As far as we can tell, Zable's since disbanded this particular operation. Considering that you had to order the specialty up in 36, 54, or 860 piece batches, it's probably just as well. Can you think of anyone who needs that much fried alcohol?  Barring bachelor(ette) parties, graduations, and spring break, we can't.  

If you're intent on trying it, we'd bet the best place to get fried beer is the Texas State Fair. There, below a banner that advertises the food as a 2010 award winner, you may be able to order yourself a batch of those ravioli-sized pockets accompanied by what looks like a yellow nacho cheese sauce (via Instagram). If you can't make it to Texas, you can always roll up your sleeves and make fried beer at home.  

How to attempt your own deep-fried beer

When inventing fried beer, Zable resorted to calling up a food scientist to try and figure out how to successfully cook it. No luck. As Zable later told NPR, it was something his four-year-old son did that "made [him] think, 'You know, I can try that.' And it worked."  Back in 2010, Zable refused to let the media in on the secret to his novel recipe. But the past decade has been fruitful. We've since caught on. 

Here's how Wikihow's four-star recipe suggests you go about doing it. First, make little ravioli-like dough out of a batter made of yeast, water, sugar, and flour. You'll want to roll the dough out to about 1/5 inch thick. Then, brush the dough with beaten eggs, and slice it into pieces that you'll press into ravioli-like pockets (egg-washed sides facing outwards). Leave one edge open, and fill each pocket to the 3/4  mark with a beer of your choosing. Seal the pocket well, but be careful not to press so firmly that the dough breaks. Finally, drop your pockets into vegetable oil heated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and deep-fry batches for about 20 seconds apiece, making sure your doughs don't stick together. That's it. Just be sure to wait between three to four minutes before eating, so you don't burn yourself.

We'd say, "Bon Appetit," but we're not sure we'd mean it.