To make an easy beer batter, combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl. Slowly pour 1 bottle of beer into the bowl, whisking until everything is smooth. Season the batter with a dash of cayenne pepper, if desired.
Using beer to make a batter provides carbon dioxide, which gives the coating its light, crisp texture. The fizzy bubbles work in place of traditional leaveners such as baking powder or baking soda to help the batter rise once it's exposed to hot oil. As a general rule, the lighter the beer, the lighter the flavor. For a heartier batter, choose a darker, more flavorful beer.
This easy beer batter can be used to coat everything from fish fillets to onion rings or other vegetables. Once you combine all the ingredients and mix them into a smooth batter, dip the food into the batter, let the extra batter drip into the bowl, and then drop the food into a deep fryer or a large pot filled with 1 to 2 quarts of oil. Fry the food for approximately two minutes until it's golden, remove it with a slotted spoon, and transfer it to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil. Sprinkle it with salt and serve it while it's still hot.