Perhaps you've cracked open a beer while cooking. But how often has the brew made its way into your food? Because it should. Water, sugar, hops, spices and some bubbles—there's some culinary alchemy in every bottle.

Think about it. Slow roast a chicken sitting atop a half-full can of beer and the result is flavorful, juicy meat under crackling crispy skin. Or a beer marinade. The acids and enzymes in the beer tenderize a steak while the sugars provide a flavorful touch of sweetness. And whether you're sautéing, roasting or grilling, just basting meat with your favorite cerveza results in deeper layers of flavor and a caramelized finish.

The best part? If you trust your taste buds, you really can't screw it up. Think of beer like a seasoning and pair it accordingly—If you like it with your meal, think about using it in your meal. Here's a simple 15-minute winter soup recipe to get your started.