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Beer cocktails

Start the experimentation with our most favoured bevy.

Beer can be used as the base of a cocktail © Sam Ilić via Compfight

No one likes a good pint in this world more than yours truly. In fact, everyone likes one just as much as the next person and there is no time or place better than whenever the hell you fancy one.

Beer cocktails come in rather slim pickings these days; they once centred on the hard-hitting ‘Boilermaker’, the simple yet effective ‘Black and Tan’ and the elegant ‘Black Velvet.’ However, I feel these days are slowly starting to be relived.

I am not the biggest ale fan but I do like a nice Porter when the temperature is right.

It is the use of these beers in contemporary cocktails that is getting the run around recently and I have included myself in the experimentation. The fact that there are so many blends of flavours and styles, it beggars belief what you can achieve alongside the use of spirits, bitters and secondary flavours. These have to be bold, dark and potentially sweet additions to balance the big characters in your chosen beer, but I feel they should complement its creation, not turn it against what it wanted the drinker to experience originally.

I somewhat consider these on the same level as sparkling cocktails with Champagne or a nice Cava. The additions should be detectable, but not overpowering, and the wine should be the star of the show, not a ‘for the sake of glamour’ addition. I see these as a word-limit extension request to an essay; the extra words must be relevant and add something to the grade, but not destroy the rest of the piece or bore the marker in the process.

I got the inspiration for beer-based cocktails when I first saw them used in a couple of competitions. The creator of one actually went through to the London finals with 42Below, using Spitfire Ale with 42Below Passion, Cinnamon syrup, pineapple and lemon juice, with a Limoncello based foam. Another was a flip-style drink at Imbibe Live with some wonderful spices, a whole egg and some traditional Welsh twists.

My own creation for the Bournemouth Bartenders League used Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Demerara sugar, coffee and pecan bitters, maple bitters, egg white and a Scottish ale called Hebridean Gold, brewed from porridge oats and malt.

If you ever want to play around with these, check out how to make some rich reductions with sweeteners and spices. These are great for rich cocktails, toddy’s, or even on a lively cut on fillet.

Like I said, whenever the hell you want a beer, you have one, but I didn’t say it couldn’t bring others to the party.