Beer cocktails are usually kind of gross. I mean, I’m just not one for boilermakers (mixing a shot of vodka with beer) or Irish Car Bombs (Guinness and Bailey’s? No thanks), and I can’t get black-and-tans to layer right (that’s pouring a lager, like Bass, on top of a stout, like Guinness– the taste would be fine for me, but I just don’t have the skills to make that happen).
I was introduced to the idea of a shandy, or beer mixed with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, by an old friend from way back, who grew up in Zimbabwe. He used to drink shandies in the morning during football season, because early games on Sunday start around 11am here on the West Coast, and he purported that you couldn’t possibly drink anything other than beer when watching football.
Shandies are great when it’s super hot out, or if you do want to cut the alcohol of your beer. Generally, they’re made with light lagers, but all I had in the house was the craft beer you see above, Allagash white. Allagash is brewed in Portland, Maine, and I used to drink it a lot in college. It’s really good and light in flavor, but it has a bolder body to it than lager (think Heineken). Allagash is, well, wicked expensive ($8-9 for four bottles), so if you don’t want to “waste” a good beer on a shandy, pick up a pack of some other lighter-bodied beer. But do us all a favor and stop buying that crap, swill, garbage,
stuff from Miller, Bud, and Coors. Support your American Craft Brewer! It’ll cost more but it’s worth it. Here’s a long list of all the brands owned by Anheuser-Busch. Avoid.
White or wheat beers are normally served with a slice of orange or lemon on the side, so I decided to garnish my shandy with a pretty wheel o’ citrus. The above orange is a Cara Cara orange– it came with this week’s CSA box from Farm Fresh to You. It is far and away the best orange I have ever eaten. The Cara Cara orange is somehow smoother than navel oranges– delightfully citrusy, but without the pungent bite.
Basically, a shandy is made to taste. You can do half-and-half, or you can make it stronger or weaker. I ended up drinking most of the beer, then cutting the last little bit with Sprite to make a shandy!
If you’re not up for a beer cocktail, visit my cocktail page for more ideas!
Do you ever experiment with beer cocktails?