Beer bread can be made with simply flour, beer, and sugar. Some bottled beers, especially craft beers may intentionally have visible live, but dormant, yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle. However, many mass market beers have the live yeast filtered out. Without sufficient leavening from the beer, a loaf of beer bread will be fairly dense and heavy unless an additional leavening agent, e.g., baking soda and/or baking powder, or baker's yeast and sugar, is added. Self-raising flour may be used because it is a mixture of flour and leavening agent. Beer bread without a leavening agent is very sturdy and tends not to lose moisture if it is overcooked. The only consequence of overcooking tends to be a thicker crust. Pre-packaged Beer Bread mixes may also be purchased with the dry ingredients and leavening agents already included.
Different styles of beer bread can be made by using different beers; for instance, a stout or dark beer will give a darker bread with more pronounced flavor. Using a beer that is spiced, or has a flavor added, will make a bread with a similar flavor, but less intense than the beer.
One can add any flavorings to this simple recipe when mixing the dry ingredients to enhance the flavor of bread. Some suggestions include cheddar and dill, sundried tomato and herb, garlic and feta, etc. A consideration when choosing flavors is that if the beer bread is not going to be eaten straight away then the flavors will become enhanced upon storage.