Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beer Cocktails

I’m not a huge fan of beer, though a recent pattern in posts might have led you to believe otherwise; in only a month there have been beer battered fried pickles, beer bread, and now beer cocktails! I appreciate beer’s versatility. It can be trashy, classy, or anywhere in between. And the more varieties I taste, the more I learn to like beer, or at least respect it a little more.

Beloved by many, beer’s reach stretches far beyond the typecast of big bellies, flannel shirts, and motorcycle dudes. Much more than a drink funneled by frat boys, it surpasses ping pong balls in Solo cups and sloppy drunken antics. Gastronomically speaking, it is on the same caliber as wine. Beer too has flavor notes, body and depth, and can be paired to compliment cuisine. With an abundance of different varieties and flavors, beers can also be mixed together to create fun cocktails.

Beer cocktails have been around forever (e.g. Shandy, Black and Tan), but the idea was totally new to me. When my cousin suggested I mix chocolate beer with the Lindemans Framboise Raspberry Lambic I talked about purchasing in my beer bread post, I just had to learn more. If you’ve never had Lindemans Framboise it doesn’t even taste like beer, it is more like sweet, fizzy juice that can give you a buzz. Keeping that in mind, the idea of mixing beers together didn’t seem as nasty as I figured it potentially could be.

Research consisted of going to a local ale house and tasting a bunch of different beers. My enthusiastic assistants and I (thanks Eloise and Stephanie!) each tried one of the bar’s beer cocktail specialties, then got three individual varieties and mixed them around to make our own little creations. Really difficult research, I know. Surprisingly, each cocktail had its own complex little personality. The smells, contrasting bodies and notes of the melded beers in each drink, came together to create totally unique experiences.They were all very interesting, fun to try, easy to drink, and convincing enough to turn a non-beer fan such as myself into a believer.

Here are all of the beer cocktails we tasted. A lot of the classic beer cocktails contain sprits; these are all beer on beer. Try them out or use as inspriation for your own concoctions!

Round one: beer cocktails off of the menu.
Black Cherry: Sam Adams Cherry Wheat topped with Guiness
Raspberry Chocolate: Lindemans Framboise and Young's Double Chocolate Stout
 Black and Blue: Bluepoint Blueberry Ale topped with Guiness

The black cherry and black and blue cocktails were very similar. An initial sniff delivered an aroma of the underlying fruit beer but the first thing to hit the taste buds was the boldness of the Guiness. It finishes with the sweetness of the fruit lingering on the palate. The chosen winner by all was the raspberry chocolate mix; the original motivating force behind this blog post ended up tasting as good as it sounded!

Round two: individual beers:
Hoegaarden, Woodchuck Pear Cider, Ithaca Apricot Wheat Ale

Both the pear cider and apricot ale were very sweet but turned out to be a nice compliment to the spicy Hoegaarden, described on the menu to have, "apple-like tartness...coriander, and orangey fruitiness." When mixing up our own cocktails, the first thing we did was combine all three beers together. The result was alright, but without wow-factor. The top blends of the night were apricot and pear cider, and especially apricot and Hoegaarden; slightly punchy, not too sweet, and barely recognizable as a beer, the apricot Hoegaarden was definitely our greatest success.

Our beer cocktails!
 Pear cider and apricot ale; Hoegaarden and apricot ale; Hoegaarden, pear cider, and apricot ale

Stay tuned for "fiesta week," all next week!


Wheels and Lollipops said...

I'm not a beer drinker but the cocktails I'll gladly have it hides the taste of the beer :)

Val said...

I've just come across your blog and think it's brilliant. What a great post too on actually appreciating beer for all its incredible qualities. It's also reminded me of a delicious dish I had in Southern China of beer cooked fish. I must try and recreate that!

The Manly Housewife said...

Very cool. This definitely takes beer to a whole new level. Love a snakebite ace pear cider and guiness.

Marisa said...

Wheels, I am the same way!

Val, thank you so much! Beer cooked fish sounds awesome. I would love to see a post on your blog about that!

Manly Housewife, I've never had a snakebite but it sounds good and I will have to try it!


Eloise said...

It came out great, Marisa!! Happy that Stephanie and I were able to help :-)

Alice said...

These look awesome! I've only ever had a black-and-tan, but mixing with some of the more fruity beers looks like it's awesome too! Must try. And pear cider is one of my all-time favorites. I'm making all kinds of BevMo notes-to-self right now!

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Enjoyable read. Well written and researched. Great photos as well!

Ali said... My mood always gets a litle lift when I see a beer-related post :) Great blog, btw.

I'm that annoying person that always tries to find the perfect crossover ale for a non-beer drinker. There are so many great styles to sample out there!

If you liked these beer cocktails, I think you'll love a beer float. A raspbery lambic poured over vanilla ice cream...there are no words.

Jason Phelps said...

I've been seeing a lot of mixed drinks with pale and golden ales. I haven't gone that far although the beer on beer combos are familiar. Maybe I am going to have to experiment here...