Best Cocktail-Inspired Beers to Try


It’s practically Pavolovian. When you mention the name Guinness, most people immediately envision a dark, roasted stout.

A barrel-aged amber beer flavored with orange and cherry, Guinness Old Fashioned Inspired Ale reflects the look, decoration and flavor profile of classic Old Fashioned cocktails. “We love old-school cocktails,” says Sean Brennan, head brewer at Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Maryland. “And it’s fun to make something that defies convention.”

Guinness isn’t the only brewery to take inspiration from cocktails. Last year, California’s Smog City put out an old-fashioned inspired Belgian ale, and Montreal’s Beauregard Brasserie Distillery brewed a similarly flavored Imperial Stout. We released a line called The Art of Mixing a Beer on Edition. Other brewers have made beers reminiscent of White Russians, Manhattans, or G&Ts.

Joe Connolly, Sales Director of Jax Abbey in Framingham, Massachusetts, said: These characteristics can also complement the acidity and often funky nature of oak fermentation. Since we’re talking, we’re already stepping into cocktail territory there.”

Part of the appeal for many brewers is being able to riff someone else’s classic. Connolly helped create Knot Her Stard, a line of mixology-inspired ales from Jax Abbey’s sister brewery Springdale Beer Her Company. It includes homages to his mixed drinks such as Mint his Julep and Dark & ​​Stormy.

Many brewers appreciate the opportunity to work with ingredients rarely found in breweries. At Partizan Brewing in London, his one of brewer Andy Smith’s beers includes a saison inspired by award-winning bartenders Alex Kratena and his friend Negroni. To recreate Campari’s classic color and flavor, the two sought out the original non-vegan color that the Italian liqueur maker stopped using in his 2006.

“We wanted to stay true to every ingredient in Campari,” says Smith. “The stuff that actually gives color to beer and gives color to beer is called cochineal.” It’s essentially a beetle, he explains.

Another cocktail ingredient still widely used in bars is gentian. Gentian is an herb that adds bitterness to cordials such as amaro and suze. Smith says he was surprised how well the gentian paired with the bitterness of his IPA.

And the trick works both ways. Old Fashioned To mimic the flavor of Angostura in his bitters, Brennan chooses hops with slightly sharp bitterness, looking for oak character from the barrel and backing up notes of cherry and orange. Did. The French 75 inspired beer uses champagne yeast to create a sparkling and dry flavor. He mimicked the drink’s citrus and gin flavors by adding lemon puree and fresh juniper during the brewing process.

At the Guinness Taproom, cocktail-style beers are also a smart workaround for bars whose alcohol licenses don’t extend to hard liquor. increase. [where] We don’t serve spirits,” says Brennan.So, ‘They come in, they see [those beers]and they’re like, “Oh wow, let’s try this.”

Yet, in general, cocktail-inspired beers are just part of a brewery’s larger business model. His Not Stirred line in Springdale has been put on the backburner temporarily, partly because of changes due to the pandemic, but Connolly says the brewery hopes to bring it back in the future. Partizan Smith says cocktails are a fun way for brewers to learn and fine-tune the process, but they aren’t always profitable.

“I don’t think it’s a new sector that will be a growth strategy for 2023,” he says, admitting that it’s just fun to experiment. “Many ingredients in cocktails go well with beer. I’m always open to trying new combinations.”



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