Archive for category Blended Beer

Beer Cocktails: Artistry or Desecration

beer cocktailBeer cocktails can be an anathema to both the mixology purist as well as the craft beer aficionado, so what are they all about, and why should we ruin the flavour of a well crafted beer?

There are arguments abound on the web about this and in many ways I might agree about ruining a fine brew with a shot of liquor in it. A quick scan on the Wikipedia entry on the subject lists a range of so called “beer cocktails” that seem to be a bunch of pints with a shot of something in it, often still in the shot glass! That is not a cocktail – that is a bunch a frat boys getting drunk by spiking their beers and calling something offensive like “an Irish car bomb” or vaguely militaristic like a “depth charge” or “U-Boat”.

Classic cocktail ingredients have relied on good quality ingredients for many years (not always, though – some early cocktails or punches mixed in things that would soften the harsh taste of badly made spirits). Whiskies, rums and gin make the basis for many cocktails, and their flavour is paramount; the better the spirit, the better the cocktail can be. It is the same with beer, in my opinion, and those great flavours that can be enjoyed on their own, can form part of the picture to make a great tasting beer cocktail.

The secret to any cocktail is getting the balance of flavours right. Sweetness, sourness, acidity, bitterness, body and alcohol need to have a certain synergy that culminates in the flavour that the creator is trying to achieve and beer can add a new dimension to the list of more common ingredients. The problem with merely adding a shot to a pint is that the beer drowns out the flavour and rarely offers anything other that making the beer stronger and often sweeter. The beer needs to be in smaller amounts to allow the other ingredients a chance to offer some complexity and nuances, as well as making a drink that resembles a more traditional cocktail (long or short) and more interesting to drink!

I am starting to compile some beer cocktail recipes here that have merit and have been sold at a bar or restaurant so please help and submit some recipes with their creator, year of invention and where it was first sold (if possible). Cheers!

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Ommegang Three Philosophers

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Ommegang Three Philosophers is a Belgian style quadrupel dark ale, blended with an authentic kriek (cherry lambic). It has a dark reddish brown colour and a loose head that disappears fairly quickly. This beer has a powerful flavour that saturates my mouth as soon as it enters. The thick caramel notes and cooked, dried fruit are the main players, and it overwhelms the subtle (or is it buried?) cherry from the kriek. There are sherry-like armoas and a winey finsh that give this a bitter-sweet note that is good for strong cheeses.

I was a bit disappointed with it as I was expecting a bit more complexity from such a grand beer, and the cherry was just a hint, nothing more. On the whole though it is a very pleasant ale that is best enjoyed on a cold winter`s evening .

Serving: 750ml bottle

ABV: 9.8%

Best served: 10-12°C

 

 

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Tree Brewing Black Tree Dark Ale

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Tree Brewing are based in The Okanagan, where this summer (2009) there were large scale wild fires that destroyed thousands of trees. This beer was released in aid of the BC Fire ReLeaf Fund that aims to replace all the trees lost in the fire. This is described as a dark ale but is in fact a blend of two beers, probably the Cutthroat pale ale and the Spy porter. This makes up a well appointed version of a Black and Tan beer. The dark mahogany ale has a roasted malt note throughout that serves as its backbone. There are pleasant hop notes on the nose as well as the palate that continue through to the finish along with a dry, toasty flavour. This is a simple yet effective beer, whose smoothness and balance make it really drinkable and can be enjoyed with a grilled steak in the knowledge that it all goes to help a good cause.

ABV: 5%

Best Served: 9°C

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