HOOPS ON HOPS: Beer for cocktail lovers
Last week, we explored beers for wine lovers. I am bookending that piece this week for folks who enjoy cocktails. I have picked some popular drinks to feature this week.
The Grand Poobah of cocktails. From James Bond to my granddad, many swear by this dry, crisp, and uniquely delicious drink. Beer style: German Pilsner. Similarly light yet offering assertive flavors, it’s attractive to the eye, especially in a pilsner glass which, much like a martini glass, is a work of art. This beer will always come through with classic, hard-to-match taste.
Manhattans are the bold, flavorful serious players in the classic cocktail group. Beer style: Stock Ale. A Stock Ale is sometimes hard to find, but this character-filled beer can be slightly fruity and smokey. It offers distinct flavors that are sure to please fans of the classic Manhattan.
My second favorite on this list. Vitamin C, spice, sometimes breakfast in the form of pickles and beef sticks, this drink is a classic among classics. The perfect Bloody Mary is hard to find. Beer style: Red Eye. A light lager with the addition of some tomato juice and salt. This is a great, old-school version of a simple setup.
Gin and Tonic
The summer standard that brings to mind ice-cold cocktails on a hot day and relaxing times with friends. Beer style: Pale Ale. Moderate alcohol, floral hops and a satisfying finish, start with one of my favorites, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and expand from there.
Rather new to the classics list, the mojito has become very popular. The sweet and tangy flavors this drink displays have made it a Top 3 on many a cocktail menu. Beer style: Berliner Weiss (definitely). Light and fruity, the addition in some recipes of a small amount of salt makes the drinker crave another of this low-alcohol and thousand-year-old beer style.
The lime addition to tequila is a perfect match. Beer style: Fruit Wheat Beer. Wheat beers infused with fruit are often tart. This style run the gamut from mango to raspberry to blackberries. Margaritas and fruited wheats go hand in hand.
Whisky mixed with sour or soda like Coke is a very common drink. The flavor of whisky, woody, filling and full, bracing, is the stuff of legend. Beer style: German Hefeweizen. These beers sport an assertive clove and fruit base flavor with a satisfying, filling body and flavor of a serious beer much like the whisky I’m comparing them to.
The darling of the craft cocktail scene for a few years now, this very sweet, very fruity, but rich and complex drink is a standard everywhere.
Beer style: IPA (India Pale Ale). Go for a big, tasty, IPA — the most dank and hop loaded version available. IPAs are definitely the Old Fashions of the brewing world and are fun to seek out and compare.
Mimosa, French 57
These tasty brunch-friendly cocktails are light, easy to drink and fairly low alcohol. Beer style: The Black Velvet. This is a classic beer-wine combination of stout and champagne, half and half. This low-alcohol drink goes well with eggs and bacon. The champagne adds an almost ethereal lightness to the smooth chocolate and roasted notes of the stout. A must try for you brunchers out there.
I look forward to your feedback on matches and favorites of your own.
Dave Hoops lives and works in Duluth and is a veteran brewer and beer judge. Contact him at email@example.com.