Dipsomanic Mixes

Beer concoctions stand their ground against boozier cocktails

by Grace Gouker

By the time you’re 21 in the United States, you’ve likely come into some knowledge about one of the oldest traditions this country has to offer: mixing a drink.

However, mixing beer is often left out of the equation when putting together tasty treats. Why is that?  Shane Higgins from Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis makes them sound so delicious.

Take, for example, Brit’s Poor Man’s Black Velvet. A normal Black Velvet mixes Guinness with champagne, but Brit’s mixes the Irish stout with a Strongbow cider.

They’ve got other treats in their bag as well. Their Black & Tan is Bass Ale and Guinness, and their Snakebites are made with Harp lager and Strongbow cider.

There are more variations on the Black & Tan, including the Half & Half (made with half-chilled, half-room temperature Guinness) and the Black & Blue (the same as a Black & Tan, except with Blue Moon instead of an ale or lager).

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to get a bit more kick in your stein. Though it’s now closed until it finds a new space, the Bedlam Theatre offers a couple drinks to keep in mind.

First, the Brooklyn. An inventive mix of Surly Coffee Bender and cold press coffee, the Brooklyn is perfect for those hazy nights that need to be spruced up a bit. Vodka-Redbulls are an option, of course, but for coffee and beer lovers this is most certainly a preferable alternative. The West Bank is available, as well, for the less affluent bar goer — it features cold press and PBR and should, at the very least, wake you up.

In addition to the local favorites, there are the mixes of legend, such as The Strip and Go Naked. The name tells you about 99 percent of the story. Made with PBR, vodka and juice (most recommend kiwi or a berry-based juice, not orange or apple), this drink is put together much like a normal punch, with some additional barley and hops flavor. Trailer Park Bucket Juice is this recipe plus sherbet — wonderful.

Grog is a drink whose name should ring a bell — pirates used to drink it, right? How even the saltiest of seamen managed to do so, however, is a mystery, because the ingredients include beer, oatmeal, spiced rum and paprika. The concoction is supposed to be served warm, so there isn’t even a slight respite from the taste.  Argggh, matey!

And after you’ve had a long, experimental night with all of these enticing beverages, you might need a hangover cure. The Red-Eye, notorious for its rather disgusting mixture of an egg yolk, tomato juice, vodka and beer, is equally as well-known for its ability to clear up any hangover symptoms quickly.

For those who want something even faster, there’s The Black Mary, which unfortunately doesn’t sound much more appealing. The way to make this is by mixing coffee, tonic water, orange juice and honey. Plug your nose and take it down — it’s been said to work within 15 minutes.

The few beer amalgams given here could definitely be adapted to fit your personal tastes or perhaps scrapped altogether. If grog indeed exists, the potential to create a digestible mix is just over the horizon.