People have been mixing beer with spirits and fruit or botanicals for centuries. It was tradition to combine spirits and ale in taverns and homemade punches, especially during the holiday season.
“Beertails” have become more popular in the U.S. in recent years, especially as refreshing summer sips. The Shandy, which originated in Britain in the 1800s, is beer mixed with a lemon-flavored beverage. It’s typically lemonade or lemon-lime soda, although some variations call for mixing beer with ginger ale or ginger beer.
The Michelada, which hails from Mexico, combines beer, lime juice, various sauces and spices, tomato juice and chile peppers. But there are many different variations on this savory beer cocktail.
For example, Five Iron Golfin Las Vegas has a drink called Beer and Loathing in LV, made with Bloody Mary mix and Golden Road Brewing Mango Cart wheat ale, served with a Tajín spice rim and lime wedge. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant serves a Michelada made with Vienna Red Lager, Tobasco, Worcestershire, tomato and lime juice, rimmed with celery salt and Old Bay seasoning.
Beer cocktails aren’t just for warm-weather imbibing, however. While witbier, gose and lighter lagers are commonly used for hoptails in the summer, heavier styles, such as coffee stouts or Belgian brews, can create bigger, bolder flavors for the cold weather.
Mixologists often add spice to cooler-weather beer cocktails, such as cinnamon, allspice and maple. These ingredients have warming qualities, and enhance the spice profiles often found in heavier beers.
When developing beer cocktails, consider the flavor and texture of the beer you’re using, and how they play off spirits and bitters. You can start by pairing flavors that work together and find the right balance between them.
For instance, Belgian lambics play well with fruity liqueurs, while malty beers such as stouts go nicely with brown spirits. In general, you can choose similar, complementary or contrasting flavors when determining which spirits and beer to marry. Don’t be afraid to test, taste and experiment. Here are a few beer cocktails to try.
- 1 oz. Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch
- 1 oz. Drambuie
- ¾ oz. Lime juice
- Pilsner beer
- Combine Scotch, Drambuie and lime in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake vigorously and double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
- Top with pilsner and garnish with a lime wheel and cherry.
- ½ oz. Guava juice
- ½ oz. Pineapple juice
- ½ oz. Orange juice
- ¼ oz. Lime juice
- ½ oz. Simple syrup
- 1 ½ oz. Light rum
- Elysian Brewing’s Contact Haze IPA
- Combine first five ingredients and stir.
- Strain over ice.
- Top off with IPA.
- Garnish with an orange twist.
- 1 oz. Bully Boy Estate gin
- 3 oz. Lavenade Tart Ale
- ¾ oz. Honey simple syrup combine equal parts honey and water
- ½ oz. Fresh lemon juice
- In a cocktail shaker, pour gin, honey syrup and lemon juice over ice.
- Stir 10 seconds.
- Strain into a glass over fresh ice.
- Top with ale.
- Garnish with lemon wheel.
- 1 oz. Rum
- ½ oz. Simple syrup
- 6-8 Mint leaves
- 2 Lime wedges
- Mango Cart wheat ale
- Muddle 6-8 mint leaves in highball glass.
- Add 2 lime wedges and continue to muddle.
- Add simple syrup and rum and stir.
- Add ice to the glass.
- Fill all the way to the top.
- Add beer and stir generously.
- Garnish with fresh mint and lime.