Since shrimp cooks quickly, the stock has to pack a punch. Luckily, beer and a hefty serving of Old Bay Seasoning and other aromatics are more than up to the task.
Opt for lighter beers like Pilsner. Heavy dark beers are not a good fit for a boil, as the strong flavor and extra hops add bitterness that overwhelms shrimp's mild sweetness.
Like any liquid, a beer's flavor concentrates as it cooks. Avoid bringing out the beverage's harsher notes by paying attention to the pot — don't set it and forget it.
Add a cup of water or reduce it to an equal beer-to-water ratio. In addition to butter, onion, and Old Bay, add lemon to complement the beer or turmeric to color the shrimp.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let the flavors meld for five to 10 minutes. Then add and cook the shrimp for another three to five minutes.
If you reduce the amount of beer, or choose an extra large pot, you can steam the shrimp in beer instead of boiling it. This allows for even more control over their cooking speed.