I decided to try incorporating beer into my dough as a little experiment. In order to really see how beer affects the dough, I decided to make it a pretty simple recipe. Here's what I used:
225 g KA bread flour
5 g Vital wheat gluten
5 g salt
<1 g Yeast (probably about 1/4 t)
70 g Water
75 g Beer (Old Style. Even though I don't live near Chicago anymore, I'll never stop loving the stuff)
I'm sorry about the metric measurements. I work in a lab, so I feel most comfortable with grams. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to convert to oz (divide by 28) for the big stuff. I'd say 5g of salt is about 2t. Same with the vital wheat gluten.
After mixing everything together and hand kneading, the dough was dryer than I'm used to. It wasn't as dry as a thin crust recipe, but since I'm used to making it pretty wet, I wondered how things would turn out. I decided to stick with the recipe, see how it turned out, and tweak it after I'd baked with it.
I've become a big fan of the two day rise in the refrigerator, so I let it rise for about 44 hours. In this time, it rose a fair amount, but nothing dramatic. After bringing it out of the fridge and letting it warm up a bit, I noticed the dough was a little bit sticky in a few places, but pretty dry for the most part. I didn't have any problems with sticking on my lightly-floured surface. It was a real pleasure to work with, though. It didn't stretch out quickly, but it wasn't a tremendous amount of work either.
I placed it on a 14" screen and dressed it with sauce, pepperoni, and 80/20 mozzarella/sharp, and sprinkled on some crushed red pepper and basil. It was then put into my oven, which was probably at about 510 degrees (it's a cheap apartment unit that only goes up to 500 on the dial, but can be turned a bit more).
After baking for maybe 7-8 minutes, I noticed the cheese and toppings were done, but the dough was still about the same color as before baking. I gave it another few seconds and decided to pull it out so I didn't burn the toppings.
The taste was pretty good. There were quite a bit of nicely-sized voids in the crust, and the rim was nice and soft on the inside. The outside of the crust was pretty crisp all the way around. Below are two of the photos that turned out somewhat well.
I can't say that I could really place any flavor from the beer. The crust seemed a bit dryer than I might like, so I think for my second experiment, I'll get rid of the water alltogether, and go with 160 g of beer.