Seattle is a drink-lover’s paradise. Not only is it in a state that has some of the best wine  outside of Italy and France, but it’s also a guiding beacon in the modern cocktail revolution. If that wasn’t enough, the city was and is a major force in the craft beer brewing movement  and not only produces great beer but also has an incredible amount of beer aficionados. Much like the wine movement, though, sometime these beer-focused folks are afraid to step outside of their hoppy comfort zones (not all of course—many are like my pal Drew, the beer genius who writes Drew’s Brews  for Spiked Punch  and who’s up for trying all kinds of imbibables, even if he likes beer best).
Which brings us to cocktails made with beer. I know, I know, it sounds a bit odd and there haven’t been a bunch of beer cocktail readily on menus (outside of the rare Shandy ) or made at home. But this lack of creativity is on the mend.
The expansion in cocktailing is leading more folks to utilize the wide array of beer flavors, styles, and personalities in mixed drinks. And the people leading this charge are Howard and Ashley Stelzer, the authors of the charming, tasty, and helpful new book Beer Cocktails: 50 Superbly Crafter Cocktail that Liven Up Your Lagers and Ales .
The book is full of delicious recipes like the first four in this list, recipes that use a range of beers from Belgian ales to stouts. There’s also a handy and helpful Beer Basics section, some tool suggestions, and lots of variations on specific recipes. While the recipes are the tops, the book rises about the foam of most volumes due to the friendly and conversational style of the authors (and the lovely photos). The Stelzers just seem like people you’d be happy to have a beer cocktail with, as well as learn about mixing cocktails from.
Oh, one last bubble: beer cocktails are good year round. But perhaps best in summer, as many are very refreshing, and not too tough to make. Besides making them at home with the help of the book, try the last recipe, the Bello Diavlo, at friendly Capitol Hill spot Saint John’s Bar and Eatery.
Beer Cocktail Recipes
Muddle 6 grapes and 10 fresh mint leaves in a mixing glass. Fill the glass halfway full with ice cubes, then add 2 ounces vodka, 3/4 ounce Aperol, 3/4 ounce simple syrup, and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir. Strain into a Collins glass and top with 1-1/2 ounces amber lager. Garnish with a mint sprig and a red grape, and serve.
Maru (serves 4)
Muddle 12 fresh blackberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker halfway full with ice cubes, add 4 ounces freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice, 2 ounces Chambord, and 3 ounces St-Germain, and shake vigorously. Strain into four goblets or wine glasses, top each with 3 ounces Sapporo, and serve.
The Backward Crawl
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 1 egg, 1-1/2 ounces coconut syrup, and 1 ounce Scarlet Ibis rum (or other Trinidadian rum) and shake vigorously to aerate the egg. Keep shaking. Strain into a coupe glass, top with 2-1/2 ounces porter, and drink while thinking about the beach.
Sloe Work Day
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 2 ounce blackberry puree, 1-1/2 ounces sloe gin, 3/4 ounces St-Germain, and 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass. Top with 4 ounces IPA, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve. To make the blackberry puree, whir 1 cup fresh blackberries in your blender to yield 2 ounces puree. If fresh blackberries aren’t in season, either frozen berries or frozen puree will work nicely here.
I’m not sure of the exact proportions, which is why you’ll have to head to Saint John’s  (719 E. Pike Street) to get it, but this beer cocktail beauty mingles Italian stalwart Campari, pineapple, fresh lime juice, and lager. Sounds like a summer daydream to me.
First four recipes copyright 2012 Harvard Common Press. Photos copyright 2012 Jerry Errico.