After a long day in the brewery or an intense round of tastings, many brewers will, somewhat unsurprisingly, crave a sip of something different. While some choose wine or cider, many others reach for a cocktail.
Enamored with the creativity of bartenders who can combine spirits with endless other ingredients to pack new, exciting flavor combinations into a single serving, it was just a matter of time before some brewers would integrate their infatuation into beer experiences. Here, we break down three recent releases that do just that and shed light on the classic cocktails that inspired them.
The Cocktail: Painkiller
A twist on the piña colada, this is a classic tiki cocktail. There’s some dispute as to who first mixed the combo of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and cream of coconut, but most credit Daphne Henderson of the Soggy Dollar Bar on the island of Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands in the 1970s.
The Beer: Ecliptic Brewing hōkū lele Tropical Ale
Oregon’s Ecliptic Brewing used everything under the sun to create this ale designed to mimic the tiki favorite. Clocking in at 8% alcohol by volume (abv), it’s brewed with hops that impart tropical fruit flavors and is dosed with coconut, pineapple and mango purée.
The Cocktail: Orange Crush
Think Mimosa with an extra kick. Invented in 1995 in Ocean City, Maryland, the drink was named for the tool that crushes fresh oranges. The resulting OJ gets punched up with vodka and orange liqueur, plus a splash of lemon-lime soda.
The Beer: Flying Dog Brewery Orange Crush
Also made in Maryland, this 8% abv ale bursts from the glass with vibrant orange zest, transitions into sweet pulp flavors and finishes with a spritzy citrus zing. With a touch of alcohol heat, it pays proper homage to a beloved state drink.
The Cocktail: Mojito
Cuba’s traditional highball, Miami club culture popularized this drink stateside in the 1990s. In the region’s muggy climate, it’s the ultimate refresher. But topped generously with soda water, this mix of mint muddled with sugar, white rum and lime juice is just as enlivening as seasons turn colder.
The Beer: Bolero Snort Brewery Moojito
If it’s a tad too early to sip a cocktail, choose this 4.5% abv lager made with mint and lime. A pulpy lime juice note mixes with an earthy, herbal smoothness throughout, and its cracker-like malt body retains crispness.