I don’t know about you but it seems to me there is a barrage of television commercials hitting the airwaves hawking beer. Don’t get me wrong, I drink and watch TV responsibly. But as I sit in front of the tube munching out of a bag of pretzels, I suddenly realize, these pretzels aren’t making me thirsty, it’s the damn commercials for Coors Light, miller Lite and Corona. So after a steady diet of these ads, during the next Messin’ with Sasquatch commercial I head into the kitchen and pop a cold one.
But there has been a whole lot of hoopla about IPA beer, kicked-up lemonade and Shock Top. Beer, like food trends, come and go. India Pale Ale (IPA) was born in England in the 1800’s. Flavored beer has been going on since the early 1900’s. Hell, ancient Egyptians even added mustard seeds, tea leaves or Krispy Kreme donuts to their ale. So it’s not something new. It is actually called a shandy.
Shandy has been around and back, in England a shandy is beer mixed with ginger beer or ginger ale. In Italy beer is mixed with Coca-Cola and in Germany it is called a radler and the hearty German pilsner is mixed with lemonade. And yet, these TV commercials want us to think they are on the cutting edge of brewing. Who they crappin?
Some shandy’s deserved to be killed off. Hop n’ Gator comes to mind from the early 70’s. The formula? Iron City beer and Gatorade. Ugh. The Leinenkugel Summer Shandy of 2007 has been compared to tasting and smelling like Mr. Clean. The Tango, a Czech concoction of wasted Czech pilsner and gooseberry cordial was so bad it brought in a UN Peacekeeping force to Eastern Europe.
But there are a few combos with beer that have stood the test of time. The immortal Boilermaker, a shot of whiskey dunked in a glass of draft beer. Refreshing.
The classic beer and tomato juice, thought to ease a hangover, has been around forever with a few twists. Some red-eyed Sunday morning beer enthusiasts substitute Clamato or V-8 juice. Some add fresh lime juice, salt or celery salt. Sort of a beer Bloody Mary.
Beer Bloody Mary
12 Oz. Ice Cold Bud
¼ cup V-8 Extra Spicy
Dash Celery Salt
Dash Whats-this-here (Worcestershire) Sauce
Dash Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Mix it all up in a Mason jar filled with ice, stir it with the scallion and wake up.
In Latin America the variation on this is quite good with a little more kick to it.
12 Oz. Dos Equis Cerveza
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
½ Cup Tomato Juice
2-3 Dashes Hot Sauce
2 Dashes Soy Sauce
1 Oz. Tequila
Salt the rim of a glass, fill it halfway up with ice and add the lime juice and sauces.
Finally, instead of spending a bunch of dough ($8.99/six-pack) on shameful shandy, make your own at home.
1 Cup Sugar
3 Cups Water
3-4 3-Inch Strips of Lemon Zest
1 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Pale Ale Beer
What we are doing here is basically making homemade lemonade. In a small sauce pan bring 1 cup of water to a boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in zest.
Stir in remaining water and lemon juice and chill.
When ready, pour ¼ cup lemonade into 12 ounces of beer and drink.
These pretzels are making me thirsty. Think I’ll get me a shandy.