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Beer Cocktails

Rude Root Beer
Rude Root Beer
Photo by Aaron Vanek

Beer cocktails. No, really.

In the ever-innovating world of mixed drinks, a few bartenders have begun using beer as an ingredient beyond the simple get-blasted-fast drops like an Irish Car Bomb (Bailey’s, Jameson, Guinness). These cocktails are refined and elegant. I first heard about them via this Los Angeles Times article by Jessica Gelt.

Stunned like a bird flying into a window, I gave up trying to understand why anyone would mix lagers or ales with gins or whiskies. The thought was out of mind until I enjoyed a great meal at Haven Gastropub in the city of Orange. It was there, after I fell in love with Death or Glory (Michter’s Straight Rye, grapefruit bitters, Rock Candy garnish—so good I bought a bottle of Michter’s the next day, but still couldn’t replicate this), that my addled eyeballs chanced upon Haven’s HopCentric concoction: Grapefruit infused London Dry Gin, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, and Craft single IPA. I ordered it even though I dislike most IPAs (India Pale Ales).

I know the strange faces I made after sipping because my wife made the exact same expressions as our tastebuds got lost sorting what they were meeting: sweet, lemon-sour, bitter, what? It wasn’t as good as Death or Glory (few things will be), but it was very intriguing, much like everything from the mind of Library Bar maestro Matthew Biancaniello, who is also experimenting with beer cocktails. It was like nothing else I’ve ever tasted.

Back home, the concept of a beer cocktail continued to haunt me. Why not? Champagne cocktails like a Mimosa or Bellini are great, why not top something off with some suds? Besides, I had a bottle of Guinness in the fridge (someone else brought it in) that I’d eagerly sacrifice in the interests of alcohol science—Guinness is shite if it’s not via tap.


The Rude Root Beer, which somehow, bizarrely to my palate, worked. If you’re a long time beer drinker or cocktail drinker, I strongly recommend you at least try a beer cocktail once in your life, just to say you did. It might open an entirely new liquor landscape for you.

Rude Root Beer

(makes two servings)

  • ¾ oz agave nectar
  • 1 shot of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters
  • 1 oz homemade allspice dram (recipe)
  • 2 oz Flor de Caña Black Label rum

Shake the above with ice in a shaker, and pour into an ice-filled Collins or highball glass. Top with Guinness beer, which will float above. Serve with a straw and give it a slight stir to mix everything together.

If you get some great beer cocktail recipes, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

For tons more information, check out Luke Wederbrook’s (bartender at AREAL) beer mixology blog.



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