Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Session #27 – Beer Cocktails

Who says liquor must be involved when you're thirsting for a mixed drink? Not Joe of Beer at Joe's, who asked beer bloggers to consider their favorite beer cocktails – you know, black and tans, half and halfs, or maybe something more esoteric – for this month's Session topic. Since I'm late to the party, others have already weighed in and Joe has posted the roundup. Well, no matter. Here's my (belated) take nonetheless.

Proud kegerator owners (there's the tease) may know where I'm about to go with this Session entry. If not, they are wise to pay attention. There are advantages to having beer on tap at home. (Well, that should go without saying, shouldn't it?) From a versatility standpoint – not to mention a personal-pride one – even better when that beer is homebrew.

Of course, keg-owning homebrewers are perfectly familiar with these advantages – less hassle than bottling, ready availability, more control over carbonation, and all that. But what you don't hear cited very often is how easy – and gratifying – it is to blend beers straight from the tap, in virtually any proportion you like. And I probably don't have to mention, this works out best the more beers you have on tap.

For starters, it's a way to inject some life into a beer you're not too thrilled about. Got a beer that's just a bit on the fruity side, for example? A dash of high-octane IPA can balance things out nicely. (Or not so nicely, if you prefer to go over the top.) Heck, keeping some hop juice on hand, always good policy anyway, is handy for discovering what a given beer would taste like with a little more hoppy kick to it.

You can go the other direction, too – blend in some Stout or Porter to see if you can turn that Pale Ale into an Amber or Brown. And so on. Blending together two (or more) beers that are perfectly good in their own right can yield some delicious results.

Some mighty fine beer (Gueuze, anyone?) is produced via blending. No reason to think there aren't some exciting and tasty possibilities just a few pulls of the tap handles away.


Brian said...

Utilizing the selections currently on tap on your own personal kegerator, what are some of the tastier blends?

Brad said...

There's a Bourbon Smoked Porter that blends nicely with the regular Smoked Porter when you don't want as much of a Bourbon wallop.

Tried to blend the Rye IPA with the Smoked Porter to see if smoked beers like hops. It wasn't bad, but the elements just sort of existed on their own rather than blend harmoniously.

On the other hand, the Drunken Reinbeer (Pt. 2) is, I think, improved by blending with the IPA. The extra hops help cover up the some yeast-specific esters that I'm not sure I'm crazy about.

I have a fairly mild Brown Ale that could find a nice partner in a little dose of IPA.

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