Beer Cocktails with a Bite
A well-crafted beer cocktail is a deceivingly delicate creature. A typical shandy recipe is equal parts beer and fresh lemonade or ginger ale; a light, effervescent solution to a warm weather thirst. Consider the tart overtones of the citrus you choose in order to balance the malt and booze just right. Fresh grapefruit juice intensifies the robust hoppy tones of ale, while fresh lemonade complements lighter styles of lager and beers with a higher rice or barley content.
Revival Brewing Company’s expert brewmaster, Sean Larkin, points out that when building a shandy with hefeweizen, “it’s a game about balancing the bitterness of the hops. If lemon is too acidic to add to a brew, think about sweetening with pomegranate, mango or passion fruit juice.”
If you’re looking for some heat, season hefeweizen with jalapeño simple syrup to give the natural spices in the beer, like coriander and orange peel, a leg up. The most divine iterations of a shandy are dry to semi-sweet, where you can taste the characteristics of both the beer and the juice. But relax: If you don’t achieve that perfect mélange the first time, there’s always a second chance.
Willa Van Nostrand is an award-winning mixologist and beverage consultant. She owns Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails. Visit her at LittleBitte.com.
Kelly Adams, Bartender, Boat House, Tiverton
Though shandies are best suited for the summer, I make them year round to keep the spirit alive. This shandy is named after the Latin term for grapefruit, Citrus paradisi.
2 ounces Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka
1 ounce jalapeño pepper simple syrup*
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
Zeppelin Hefeweizen Ale (by Revival Brewing Company)
Combine vodka, jalapeño simple syrup and lemon juice and shake vigorously with ice for 10 seconds. Strain into a tall pilsner glass and top with Revival Zeppelin Hefeweizen. Yields 1 beer cocktail.
* Seed, stem and slice 2 jalapeño peppers. Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to simmer. Add peppers and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool and strain into a clean glass bottle. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.