Beer Brine Pickle Recipe

I’m teaching a class tonight at food and art community space 18 Reasons on Curious and Peculiar Pickles – whey pickles, Kool Aid pickles, rice bran pickles; pickles made with soy sauce, miso, and nothing but salt. In short, the unsung pickling alternatives to our beloved ‘kraut and dills. I have really been digging working on these pickle recipes, and I will likely turn this into a blog series. What other odd birds do you like to pack into a pint jar?

Lucky me, the class is sold out! But if you’re an unlucky you who was not able to sign up, I present to you your next pickling challenge: Beer Brine Pickles. The beer adds a nice malty, bitter edge to these robust pickles. And I won’t even tell you what drink pairs with these well….:>

If you live in San Francisco, there are also two upcoming classes on lactofermented pickles and pickling with fruit that I highly recommend.



Beer Brine Refrigerator Pickle Recipe
  • 2 12 oz. bottles Anchor Steam beer (or another medium- to full-bodied beer)
  • 2 lbs. small pickling cucumbers (Persians, Kirby’s, etc.
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 dried chili peppers
  • 1 T each yellow mustard seeds, black peppercorns, and kosher salt, divided
  • Distilled white vinegar
  1. Gather three clean pint-sized canning jars with lids. If you’re planning to can these pickles, sterilize your jars and lids. Note that canning these pickles is not necessary.
  2. Pour the beer into a large saucepan - larger than you think, as it will foam quite a bit. Set over high heat until boiling and foaming, stirring occasionally to reduce the foam. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and let the beer simmer for about 15 minutes, until it reduces by about a third.
  3. Meanwhile, scrub the cucumbers really well (especially the ends). Quarter them lengthwise and, if needed, trim them to fit into the jars.
  4. In the bottom of each jar, place one clove of garlic (with an X cut into it), one chili pepper, and one teaspoon each of the mustard seed, peppercorns, and salt. Tilt the jar on its side and stack the pickles into the jar as tightly as possible.
  5. Fill each jar halfway with the hot beer, and then top it off with vinegar until the vegetables are fully submerged. Cap tightly and shake to combine.
  6. If you’re canning these pickles, use only sterilized jars and lids. Loosen the cap to fingertip-tight and then process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. If you’re making refrigerator pickles, let the pickles sit at room temperature for 24 hours, then move them to the fridge. The flavor of the pickles will be at its best after 3 days.
Makes 3 pints. Time: About 3 days

8 Comments on “Beer Brine Pickle Recipe”

  1. Ms. Solomon, thank you for this wonderrful recipe! I’m a home brewer that makes sauerkraut and pickles, but have never seen this approach before. I can’t wait to try!

  2. Do you think this would work for asparagus? We’re huge fans of your refrigerator green bean recipe, but I was trying to find something similar for asparagus.

    1. I have not tried it myself, but if i were to give it a whirl, i would probably blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes or so before dunking in the brine. My guess is that this would be great! Let me know how it goes.

  3. This sounds delicious – going to make it with some homebrew that turned out a little too sweet but the flavor should be just fine with a vinegar brine. One question though: the recipe doesn’t call for any salt. Is it possible to make shelf-stable/water-bathed pickles without salt?

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