Beer Batter Fried Fish Tacos

July 22, 2010

My absolute favorite item at the Sierra Nevada/Food pairing class was the Sierra Nevada Summerfest and Beer Batter Fried Fish Tacos with Chipotle Crema. The battered fish was epic!

When I was a kid, the only fish (and I use that term lightly) I used to eat was fish sticks. Rectangular, frozen from the box. Occasionally I’d have a Van de Kamp’s frozen triangle fillet – fancy girl – you know you’re jealous. I never in a million years predicted that I’d be a huge fan of sushi or that I’d venture out to try fish dishes at restaurants. Now I just need to get over my fear of actually buying and cooking fish.

We had a wonderful fish market where I used to live in San Jose, CA – Race Street Fish & Poultry – you could walk up to the counter and get yourself fresh fish on a daily basis. I now have the Nugget, Whole Foods, and the Farmer’s Market, but would love a walk up counter/market feel.

My biggest fish fear is getting “not so fresh” fish – that’s why I go to a reputable sushi restaurant. Enough of that, let’s get to the recipe and beer.

The Sierra Nevada Summerfest is a refreshing, pilsner-style lager. Its incredible smoothness comes from an extra-long lagering period. Molly explained that it quenches your thirst with big aroma and a tangy hop bite.  She also shared that the delicate/lighter beer had a definite bite in the end – a peppery finish. I would have to agree. It was so perfect paired with the fish, it was my favorite of the 4 we tried.

Now for the tacos…

Beer Battered Fish Taco – makes 18 tacos

1 Pound white fish fillets, skin and bones removed. – Chef Dio used Halibut, but also said he has used cod and sea bass as well.
1 12 ounce bottle of Sierra Nevada Summerfest Beer – any pilsner-style lager would do, shhhh… don’t tell Molly I said that.
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon each – sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, chili powder and garlic powder
4-6 Cups safflower oil for frying

In a dutch oven or deep wok or pot – heat oil to 375 degrees.  – You want about 3 inches of oil.

Cut fish into 1/2 inch wide strips (2-3 inches long). Count on 2 pieces of fish per taco.

Sift 1 1/2 cups flour plus the baking powder into a large bowl. Add in seasonings. Pour in just enough beer whisking gently to a light pancake batter consistency. Drink the rest, hah! Pat fish dry and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Dredge the pieces of fish in 1/2 cup remaining flour. Coat the fish in the beer batter and gently slide into oil. Fry fish, turning over once until deep golden and cooked through. 3-4 minutes until fish is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree oven. Fry the remaining fish in batches. If you find that the fish is getting dark too fast, you might need to change out the oil.

Taco Fillings
18 fresh tortillas –
Chef Dio used a tortilla that was a corn/flour mixture.
3 cups of green cabbage – sliced very thin
Chipotle crema

Chipotle Crema
1 Cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – very important to get them really fine.
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon smoked paprika

Combine the sour cream mixture with the peppers in adobo sauce, smoked paprika and salt. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.

Warm tortillas on a griddle or in the microwave. Portion the cabbage and the fried fish between the tortillas. Top with the chipotle crema and serve immediately.

Chef Dio’s tidbit was to pre-fry the fish before guests arrived. Ours sat in the oven for a good 35-45 minutes before it was served, and the crunch and texture were spot on. Not quite sure why I don’t order battered fish more often… oh wait, maybe because it’s not the healthiest thing on the menu – oh well, indulgence is a good thing in moderation.



  1. This may sound weird, but I am scared of fish tacos. Never had them but it sounds so, wrong. However this makes me want to try them. They look pretty good!

    I too worry about getting fresh fish and have been burned enough that I don’t even try anymore. You are braver than me, Kath.

    • It was my first time trying the beer battered fish taco – an in all honesty, it’s more like fish and chips with a tortilla instead of fries – not like there was salsa, guac or anything else. I might just make the fish by itself.

  2. OMG! They were so yummy! If you aren’t quite brave enough to venture into fish yet, then you could use chicken with the beer batter. I think that would be really good too. Before summer is over we will conquer your fish cooking phobia!

    • Yes, gotta lose the fear of fish. Maybe a trip to Whole Foods is in order.

  3. Those look so f-in good!

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