So I was sitting at one of my favorite watering holes enjoying an Uberlin beer from a local brewery, Strangeways. The bartender said, “Hey, try this,” and proceeded to pour orange juice into my beer. I was disturbed…I mean, why would you want to taint a perfectly delicious beer? Well, it turns out that it’s now my new favorite drink. And, it was instant inspiration for discovering what else is out there in the land of beer mixology!
As the craft beer industry continues to flourish across the U.S. (check out this post on craft beers hitting the big time), it makes perfect sense that breweries and bartenders are looking for new ways to utilize the products that they have at their disposal. Liquor, champagne and even wine are used regularly to create cocktails, so why not beer? Not only do beer cocktails give beer lovers something fresh and unique to experience, these mixed drinks also are a great way for breweries to offer additional options to consumers who may not have a taste for beer. (It’s hard to believe, but those people do exist!) While the concept of “beer-tails” is not exactly new (hello, Corona in my margarita at the local Mexican restaurant), I’m betting that this trend will explode as craft beer/breweries continue their great expansion.
Want to get excited? Check out these beer cocktails:
Made from: a sour wheat beer (“Berliner Weisse”) + orange juice
The tartness of the sour beer blends perfectly with the citrusy juice, and the carbonation of the beer mimics the fizz of champagne. Yes, it indeed tastes like a mimosa. Sour beers are HOT right now, so you will likely be seeing them a lot more in your tasting ventures. Make a trip to your local brewery, fill up your growler with a sour, grab some OJ, and you’re in business. Yum.
Made from: a saison/farmhouse ale + Bloody Mary mix
Easy enough. Just substitute the vodka with beer. I’ve seen this offered with different types of beers, but a tasty option for this drink is a pale ale that is slightly fruity, with medium bitterness, and most importantly, spicy to enhance the flavors in the mix. A saison definitely fits the bill. Stick in a celery stalk, add some Old Bay (my personal preference), and you have the perfect Sunday afternoon “hair of the dog” drink.
Made from: vodka + ginger beer + lime juice + lime wedge
This cocktail, invented in 1941, has made a HUGE comeback within justthe past few months. Usually served in a copper mug (check out why), this drink is popping up in all the hot spots all over town. What a great way for local breweries with ginger beer to pair up with restaurants/bars. I’m trying one tonight. (No, I won’t steal the mug, which apparently is a popular trend.) 🙂
Made from: a raspberry or peach lambic + a Belgian wheat beer (“whitbier”) + fresh fruit
Wine, schmine. Who needs it? Take three parts of a whitbier, one part fruity lambic, add some frozen fruit, and you’ve got an amazingly refreshing summer drink. You’ll find lambics in different fruit flavors, and with a low alcohol content, it makes the perfect mixer. And, it’s delish on its own too. (I just tasted a fabulous raspberry lambic at The Answer Brewpub in Richmond, Virginia. I love me a pink drink!)
Have you tasted any others? Leave a comment and tell me about it! I’m always on the hunt for new, exciting drinks. (And, as you are out and about in the brew world, if you need any great craft beer and food pairing suggestions, take a peek at this handy chart. Can 20,000+ pins on Pinterest be wrong?) Enjoy this new adventure, beer friends. Cheers!