BEERTAIL BLASPHEMY

There is a long history of putting stuff into beer.  Salting one’s beer is an old tradition that has largely gone by the wayside (for a number of good reasons that BeerAdvocate adequately addresses).  A variety of citrus fruits have traditionally been added to certain beer styles, the most common of course being shoving a hunk of lime into the neck of your Corona to mask the taste of that nasty beverage from south of the border.  A number of beer cocktails of varying drinkability, from red beers to shandys, are surprisingly popular all around the world.  Though I would never advocate polluting a 4-Hop level brew with anything that might compromise its carefully-crafted complexity, it can be fun to create beer concoctions with mid-tier brews for a party, or really just for a Tuesday evening.

So, gentle Aleheads, I invite you to lower your imaginations into the degrading depths of beer bastardization and answer this latest of Beerford’s Conundra: Create for us your best possible beer cocktail recipe.

Appropriate gathering at which to serve your creations would be welcome information (Rubik’s Cube party, duel at high noon, etc.).  Any and all additions (or, if you prefer, adulterations) are fair game.  Sorry Magnus, I’ve already trademarked the Sober Scot (half Scotch Ale, half single-malt, served in a chilled imperial pint glass).

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BROTHER BARLEY MCHOPS

Beertails? Heresy! Heresy, I say! I’ve never been a fan of mixing beer with other adjuncts. A good beer is a delicate symphony of flavors and aromas and an unwelcome guest like a lime or shot can shatter that fragile balance. Still, as Beerford notes, people have been dumping shit into their beer for as long as there has been beer (mostly to mask the flavor of an awful brew, of course). So why not at least attempt to create a Beertail worthy of being consumed? I’m always up for a challenge, no matter how ill-conceived.

Beerford already eliminated the obvious choice…Scotch and beer. At the package store where Doc and I worked, one of the employees made a game of coming up with the best Scotchtails (eg: Lagavulin and Chimay Blue). It was fun mixing and matching the various Scotches with an assortment of high-end craft beer. But while the results were always very drinkable, the Scotch generally won the day. Not much can compete with the fire and smoke of a great single malt, after all.

The problem, as Beerford notes, is that none of us would want to adulterate a great beer. Beyond that, I’d also prefer not to mess with a great Scotch, whiskey, or bourbon (essentially the only liquors I drink these days since, to paraphrase SNL, “if it ain’t brown, it’s crap!”).*

*Although, come to think of it, if it IS brown, it might also be crap…I really need to work on that catchphrase.

Anyways, I’ve essentially painted myself into a corner by eliminating good beer and good liquor from my response. What does that leave me with? Hold onto your monocles, folks…I’m serving up some Tequiza.

I see your monocles have shattered anyway, despite my warning. I can’t say that I blame you…the word Tequiza brings up images of Anheuser Busch’s abysmal offering that tasted like a cheap, watered-down lager mixed with Skittles. But I’m not referring to that pathetic abomination…I’m talking about a tasteful blend of high-end tequila and a decent cerveza. In this case, my Beertail is the Cremejo…6 parts Anderson Valley Cerveza Crema to 1 part Chinaco Anejo. Served in a frosted mug with a wedge of lime, naturally.

Does it go against everything I stand for? Yeah, pretty much. But sometimes taste trumps ideals and the Cremejo would be a damn tasty beverage. While I don’t necessarily love Anderson Valley’s summer seasonal, its medium-body, excellent carbonation, and massive sweet, cream soda flavor would hold up remarkably well to to the vanilla and smoke flavor and floral aroma of the bourbon-barrel aged Chinaco Anejo. I don’t really have any compunctions about screwing around with the Cerveza Crema (it’s hardly a world-beater, after all) and while I hate to dump a high-end, sipping tequila like the Chinaco in a beer mug, it’s not like it’s a 30-year-old Laphroaig. Sweet and smoky, rich and complex, and with a hint of lime to cut through any cloying notes…it’s the ideal Beertail to knock back at a leisurely cockfight or frantic drug cartel shootout. It’s also far and away the most indefensible response I’ve ever come up with for a Conundrum. So have a field day, Aleheads…I await your slings and arrows. Just let me finish my Cremejo first…mmm, delicious.

You may fire when ready.

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DR. RIPPED VAN DRINKALE III

Damn, I really wanted to fire this baby up with a throwback Scotchtail.  There’s something special about pouring a tall glass of Arrogant Bastard and topping it off with a splash of Talisker.  I’m not crazy about either the Ale or the Single Malt on their own, but together they make some smoky jazz that seems just right.

Unlike Brother Barley, I do enjoy the occasional beer concoction from time-to-time as long as that’s not the intended purpose of the original brew.  If Dogfish Head comes out with a Car Bomb Ale by mixing their World Wide Stout with some Irish Cream, I’ll probably puke in fear.  That doesn’t mean I won’t drop the occasional jigger mixed with Bailey’s and Jameson into a half-pint of Guinness though.  Pilsner and lemonade, Berliner Weisse and raspberry syrup, I’m game for whatever anyone comes up with.  Did you know there’s a drink called The Bismarck that’s 50% Schwarzbier and 50% Champagne?  Yeah, I’d drink that in a heartbeat.  For this bastardization experiment though I’ll need to come up with something epic, something that you’ll either love with great passion or hate with an everlasting resentment toward the good Doctor.  Anything in the middle is a failure.  With that in mind, I give you the Warmest Winter.

Everyone knows that Harpoon’s Winter Warmer is one of the worst beers ever created.  OK, maybe that’s a stretch since I’m clearly in the minority when it comes to the merits of this brew, but I have a funny feeling that this is what they’ll be serving at the gates of Hell.  The Winter Warmer is best described as Christmas in a bottle for good reason – nutmeg, cinnamon, and spiciness throughout.  It’s basically potpourri with bubbles.  If you’re gonna go the Christmas route though, you might as well go all in.  Since I find the Winter Warmer to be overtly sweet, I figured I’d tone that down by mixing in some deliciously dry, yet slightly smoky Bols Genever Gin.  Genever takes the best aspects of Gin, particularly the juniper and pine flavors, but mixes things up with a malt-wine base.  Some similarities to Scotch can be found, which is why I like the pairing with the Winter Warmer.  The resulting cocktail will retain the Eggnog spices of cinnamon and nutmeg from the Winter Warmer but will also add in the Christmas Tree scents that you’ll get from the Bols Genever.  Just like the Winter Warmer, you’ll either love this concoction or hate it.  In all honesty though, how can you have Christmas in a bottle if it’s missing the Christmas tree?  This beertail will make for the Warmest Winter indeed.

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LORD MASHTUN COPPERPOT

This is an easy one.

5 parts Bud Light Lime.

1 part Limoncello.

Mix and serve.

I call it Bud Sprite.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will rinse the vomit out of my mouth and return to my Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye.

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SIR MAGNUS SKULLSPLITTER

I realize that I’m becoming somewhat predictable.  You probably expect me to just say, “here’s what you do: get a glass of scotch, think about beer, and drink the scotch.”  I can surprise people, though!  Instead, I will present the drink called the Kentucky Kocktail.

First, pour three ounces of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 into a highball glass.  Open your freezer and stare at the ice.  Slap yourself in the face.  Close your freezer.  Next, get a bottle of Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout.  Pour 1 oz of Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout into a bottlecap.  Wave the bottlecap over the highball glass, being very careful  not to spill any of the beer into the glass.  Pour the bottlecap of beer into a pint glass, followed by the rest of the bottle of KBS.

Slowly sip your glass of Pappy.  When finished, enjoy the room temperature pint of KBS.  Finally, consider finding friends who rightly think it’s a terrible idea to mix hard alcohol and beer into a single glass.

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COMMANDER PINT O. CHUG

I don’t see what you guys are complaining about.  Just because it’s not pure beer does not make it bad, and does not make it a waste.

First, let me say that any combination of beer and citrus should be prohibited, including a slice of orange–even a wedge of lime in a Corona.  (If you want a drink that tastes like lime, I have several other recommendations.  See gin buckets.)

My favorite (and only) beertail is the Highway 101, consumed far and wide from the rolling hills of Kentucky to the, er, rolling hills of the Pacific Northwest (and up to…Pismo).  Pour a shot of Wild Turkey 101 into a pint glass.  Fill the next 45% of the glass with Racer 5 IPA.  Fill the remaining 45% with AleSmith Speedway Stout (use a black and tan spoon).

It won’t win you any fans with the ladies (the flatulence/belching/fire breath quotient is a dangerous 2.1) but good lord is it good.

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BEERFORD MCBREWIN’

Welcome to the brotherhood of Aleheads, Commander!  My dad prefers the 80 proof Wild Turkey, but otherwise you could probably sell him on the Highway 101 (especially given that his house overlooks said highway).

I anticipated that the group might have trouble getting behind this Conundrum, but I certainly appreciate the honest efforts on most of your parts.  I actually have no argument with your offering, dear Magnus, as it sounds like an excellent combination of excellent beverages without the need to marginalize either through unnecessary mixing.  Mr. Copperpot, however, may want to keep an eye out over his shoulder.  I’ve never appreciated snark.  Or Bud Light Lime.  Or Limoncello.

For my part, I pondered this one long and hard.  In the end I came up with a beverage that I found surprisingly tasty, but only after a number of undrinkable glasses of utter bullshit (which I of course drank anyway).  So, for your drinking pleasure (or whatever), I give you the Bitter Collins.  Fill a pint glass with ice, add three dashes of bitters (orange bitters preferred, angostura works fine as well), 1.5 oz white rum, 1.5 oz collins mix, fill remaining space with a nice robust lager (I used Full Sail Limited Edition Lager), and garnish with lime.  Serve to your snooty friends who you don’t really like at a snooty cocktail party you didn’t really want to host in the first place.

Thank you, beer purists that I know you are, for bearing with us through this exercise in ridiculopathy.  Regardless of this little excursion into the absurd, I of course encourage you, as always, to…

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One comment

  1. […] my beer options gloriously expanded by an order of magnitude. In preparing for last week’s Beertail Conundrum, I stopped by my local liquor store for a bottle of rum.  While I was chatting with the […]

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