It’s impossible to get tired of beer. Drinking your favorite beer style or even specific brew? Great. Trying any of the infinite brews out there that are new to you? Also great. From that welcome, familiar sensation of something you love to the thrill of discovering something unexpected, beer is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s such a cool, creative market, made even more exciting by the knowledge that its fans will never run out of options or things to enjoy.
That being said, there’s no harm in shaking things up a little, is there? We submit for your consideration: the beer cocktail. Just when we thought those possibilities couldn’t get any more endless, beer cocktails multiply that potential, creating a fresh myriad of ways to consume and love beer. What it really comes down to is your mood and the occasion. Sometimes, a straightforward beer is the cure for what ales you (we had to sneak one pun in here). Other times, a beer cocktail can provide an opportunity to get a little crafty -- throwing some mixology into the game here turns opening a beer into a fun activity, one that will yield novel and delicious flavors.
Especially this summer, as many of us are imbibing at home, beer cocktails can be a revelation. They can allow you to experience your favorite brews in a whole new way. Also, simply put, they can be so incredibly refreshing. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite recipes, ones that are easy enough for beginners but impressive enough to wow your mixology-expert friend, and that, most importantly, are guaranteed to delight.
The Michelada Queen
Looking for a way to spice up Taco Tuesdays (or Taco Any-days)? Gay Beer has you covered. Founders Jon Moore and Jason Pazmino have dreamed up the Michelada Queen, and it’s equal parts refreshing and heat-packed.
- The beer: Gay Beer Golden Lager
- 1 oz. lime juice
- ½ oz. Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ oz. Cholula or Valentina hot sauce (Jon and Jason say either sauce has a flavor profile that works well for this)
- ¼ oz. Tamari gluten-free soy sauce (This keeps with Gay Beer’s gluten-reduced M.O. -- you can substitute regular soy sauce if you don’t need or prefer to cut the gluten)
- Lime wheel
Step 1: Rim a beer/pint glass with Tajin or a spicy salt.
Step 2: Build your drink in the glass, over ice.
Step 3: Garnish with a lime wheel.
Because of the different spices and the heat factor of a classic Michelada, a beer like Gay Beer’s Golden Lager is a perfect fit. It’s light, crisp, smooth, refreshing, and crushable. It’s clean enough to let those hot sauce notes fire up, but it also holds its own, balancing the mix with a touch of sweet grain from its malt profile.
The Blood Orange Beerita
The Blood Orange Beerita is also a great partner to tacos. Or burritos, or nachos, or ceviche if you’re fancy...or, really, any meal or occasion. What summer evening isn’t a good time for a margarita, especially when it’s gone the beer route?
- The beer: Great South Bay Brewery Blood Orange Pale Ale (Use 2 oz.)
- 2 oz. tequila
- 1½ oz. blood orange juice
- 1 oz. lime juice
- ½ oz. triple sec
- Lime and blood orange slices
Step 1: Rim a glass with Tajin or spicy salt.
Step 2: Shake tequila, blood orange juice, lime juice, and triple sec with ice.
Step 3: Pour mixture over fresh ice.
Step 4: Top with beer.
Step 5: Garnish with lime and blood orange slices.
Brewed with oats added, Great South Bay’s pale ale is simple enough to blend harmoniously with this cocktail’s other ingredients, while its sweet, bready malt character stands up to the bright, acidic qualities of the drink. Then, its blood orange flavor kicks in to take this beerita in a beautifully fresh, tart, citrusy direction for a beverage we can imagine sipping poolside under the shade of a palm tree.
The Dublin Iced Coffee
Fact: you absolutely can -- and should -- drink stouts and porters in the summer. While this kind of tipple offers a different kind of refreshment than a lager or gose, we liken it to the sensation of an ice cream sundae. It’s a lighter, cooler way to indulge in a rich dessert. A good stout or porter can deliver all the decadence and complexity of, say, chocolate-covered espresso beans or a fudgy brownie, but without all that heaviness. Here, we’ve whipped up a summer-perfect version of an Irish coffee, made a little more sweet and dessert-like but still smooth and drinkable by Mayflower Brewing Company’s roasted-coffee-bean, bittersweet-chocolate Porter.
- The beer: Mayflower Brewing Company Porter (Use 2 oz.)
- 2 oz. cold-brew coffee
- 1½ oz. whiskey
- ¾ oz. simple syrup
- ½ oz. heavy cream
- Cinnamon (optional)
Step 1: Mix the porter, cold brew, whiskey, and simple syrup in the bottom of a glass.
Step 2: Add ice.
Step 3: Slowly pour the heavy cream on top.
Step 4: Top with cinnamon, if desired.
The Summer Shandy
The shandy has been a classic, irresistibly simple and refreshing drink since the 1800s. It started off in Britain as beer mixed with ginger ale, but has evolved to more commonly consist of beer and lemonade. Essentially, it’s a promise of an instantly thirst-quenching cool down on a hot day.
- The beer: Mayflower Brewing Company Summer Ale (Use 6 oz.)
- 6 oz. lemonade
- Lemon wheel
Step 1: Pour equal parts beer and lemonade in a cold glass.
Step 2: Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy -- literally. Remember, to preserve the crushable cool factor of the shandy, it’s key to use a beer that’s light, crisp, and full of flavor yet straightforward. Mayflower’s Summer Ale is just the ticket. It’s a Belgian session style with pilsner, rye, and wheat malts that create a smooth, bready character and a hint of spice.
The Grapefruit Beer Paloma
The Paloma is another drink that’s believed to have originated in the nineteenth century, and it’s no wonder this cocktail is still such a ubiquitous favorite today. The Paloma traditionally combines tequila and grapefruit juice for bright, tart, acidic yet sweet finish. For a fresh twist, though, you can try using a beer brewed with grapefruit in place of grapefruit juice.
- The beer: Virginia Beer Co. Saving Daylight Citrus Wheat Ale Brewed with Grapefruit & Orange Peels (use 6 oz.)
- 2 oz. tequila
- 1 oz. lime juice
- Grapefruit and lime slices
Step 1: Rim the top of a glass with salt.
Step 2: Add ice, then tequila and lime juice to the glass.
Step 3: Top with beer.
Step 4: Garnish with grapefruit and lime slices.
The last step, as always, is to enjoy, whether you’re poolside, on your patio, in your backyard sitting at least six feet away from your friend, or on your couch hanging with your cat and Netflix. Cheers!