Fizzy and refreshing, Beer Cocktails are the best of both worlds. When combined with spirits and mixers, beer brings its malty, earthy flavor to both sweet and savory drinks.
If you like beer and cocktails, have you considered putting them together? Beer cocktails are a delicious combination that takes mixed drinks to a whole new level.
When you combine the effervescence of beer with the nuanced flavors of various spirits, you wind up with creative concoctions that are fun to drink and share. From classic beer-based concoctions to innovative blends, tap into beer cocktails that will transcend the ordinary pint.
Grab your favorite brew, pull up a seat and toast to the perfect fusion of hops and spirits.
Types of beer
Beer is fermented alcohol produced from water, malted barley, hops and yeast. There are two main classes of beer: lagers and ales. According to Home Brew Academy, lager is made with one strain of yeast, while ale is made with another.
- Examples of lagers: Bocks, pale American lagers, pilsners, wheat beer, amber
- Examples of ales: American pale ales, brown ale, blonde ale, India pale ales (IPAs), stouts, sours, porters
Which beer to use
When mixing cocktails, it’s important to have the right type of beer on hand for your recipe. You wouldn’t want to use a complex and moody dark beer when a recipe calls for a refreshing light beer. It can change the color and the flavor, and maybe not in a good way.
Pay attention to your recipe and what it calls for. If you need a dark beer or stout, grab a Guinness or similar. A porter could be a good substitute, but it may not have the thick head of foam that stouts have.
If the recipe says to use a “light-colored beer,” you’re probably looking for a lager, wheat beer or pilsner. Anything with “pale ale” in the name tends to be more hoppy, which means it has lots of the bitter flavor of the hops used to make the beer, and it could conflict with the cocktail’s other flavors.
While big names like Budweiser and Corona work well, craft beers are excellent choices and a great way to level up your beer cocktails. Try a new-to-you brew in a cocktail and see how it goes!
Want to make it a mocktail? Use a non-alcoholic beer like Athletic Brewing and sub a non-alcoholic spirit for the alcohol.
Common beer cocktails
There are a number of cocktails made with beer from all over the world. Some are very similar, usually featuring a 50:50 ratio of ingredients.
Shandy: Popular in Britain, the Shandy is a combination of half lemonade and half beer or cider, but usually a light beer such as a Pilsner. It’s fun to play around with, as you can use different flavors of lemonade, such as strawberry lemonade to make strawberry shandies.
Panaché: This French combo of a light beer and a citrus soda like Sprite or 7-Up is refreshing and light.
Radler: From Germany, the Radler is a beer cocktail made by combining a blond lager such as a blonde ale or Hefewiezen with fruit juice.
Best beer cocktails
Ready to make some beer cocktails? Pull out a pint glass and let’s get to mixing!
Other beer cocktails
Spaghett: Made with Aperol, lemon juice and Miller High Life, this combo from Baltimore is like an Aperol Spritz with beer.
Half and Half: This cocktail features two beers — usually a light-colored pale ale and a dark beer like a stout — that are layered. The stout floats to the top because of its relative lower density. This drink is also known as a Black & Tan, which is considered to be an offensive term in Ireland.
Snakebite: This cocktail is made by combining equal parts lager and hard cider. A splash of crème de cassis (blackberry liqueur) can be added, renaming the drink a Snakebite and Black.
Irish Slammer: This cocktail is a type of boilermaker, which involves adding a shot of spirits to a beer. The Irish Slammer contains a shot of Irish cream and Irish whiskey, which is then dropped into a glass of Irish stout.