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The 5 Best Beer Cocktails

These beer cocktails are easy to make, tasty and less alcoholic than libations that use spirits as their base.
By NY Barfly

Knocking back a few brews is one of the great pleasures in life.

So why not take that pleasure to the next level? Beer cocktails are hot, and while it may seem like sacrilege to pour more ingredients into that beer you love so much, you really can add to the experience with a few tweaks. These beer cocktails are easy to make, tasty and less alcoholic than libations that use spirits as their base. Try a few of these, and you’ll never look at reaching for a cold one in the same way again.

The Michelada

The michelada is like a lesson in Beer Cocktails 101 – easy to grasp and good preparation for the more complex things to come. While it’s traditionally made with a Mexican label, any lighter beer will do. Pour three-quarters of a glass of beer then mix in tomato juice and lime. Treat that as your base, and go to town adding any sort of spices or other ingredient that you crave. Think of it as a cocktail test tube – it’s great for experiments. Drop in pepper, hot sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire – pretty much anything that you’d use in a typical Bloody Mary. Put a little salt on the rim, take a sip, and any reservation you have about using beer as a mixer will be out the window faster than you can say “Arriba!”

The Shandy

This one is good for those who want to join the party without getting too tipsy. Think of it as a half and half: a shandy is half a pint of beer mixed with half a pint of soda. Lovers of this drink will debate just what soda works best in the libation – pretty much any light-colored carbonated beverage works. You can use Sprite for a little lemon-lime action, ginger ale to make a more savory concoction or Fresca if you’re looking for a tart twist. You can also measure it to taste – if you’re craving more booze, fill the glass three-quarters of the way with beer and use soda for the rest. If you want to go extra light, fill the glass with soda and then add a hit of brew.

The Black Velvet

Have half a bottle of champagne left from a party that you want to kill? It may not seem like a good idea to mix it in with that extra Guinness that’s in your fridge, but trust me, you will be impressed. Grab a flute and fill it halfway with the bubbly, then top it off with your stout beer of choice. The smooth brew complements the bubbles in a way that you’d never expect. You’ll quickly pour one or two more and be running to the liquor store for another bottle of champagne in no time. Yeah, you defeated the purpose of this drink, but is that really so bad?

The Party Starter

All beer cocktails don’t have to be so complicated. In fact, you can make one right in the bottle. This libation isn’t about flavor as much as it is about getting the party started. Like the michelada, it’s best made with a Mexican brew, but you can substitute any lighter label. Pour a little bit of beer out of the bottle (or, if you’re one of the waste-not-want-not types, take a healthy swig) and then top it off with a shot of smooth tequila. Drop a lime in for flavor, and you’ve got yourself just about the easiest beer cocktail in the world.

Bourbon and a Beer

You might enjoy doing a shot of bourbon with a beer chaser, but why not mix them up? The key to making it into a cocktail is the measurements. Instead of a pint, use highball glass – this way you’ll have a cocktail-size serving that won’t drown the bourbon in a sea of hops. Mix in one part bourbon to three parts beer, and take half a fresh lemon and squeeze the heck out of it right into the mix. Be sure to use a meatier beer to complement the bourbon – like a red ale or a hoppy IPA. The citrus cuts through the two competing flavors and, more importantly, makes you forget that you're lush enough to drink your shot of bourbon in your beer.

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