The Rise of the Beer Cocktail

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OC Weekly will highlight one of America’s favorite pastimes – drinking. The so-called Drinking Issue will highlight OC’s booming craft beer scene and was the inspiration for the 5th ever Good Food/OC Weekly Happy Hour happening next Thursday, February 7th at the Bruery in Placentia.

Thinking about beer in OC inspired us to look past the pint and highlight the beer cocktail. Bartender Dave Castillo, who mans the bar at 320 Main in Seal Beachimpressed judges at a recent cocktail competition with a beer cocktail he calls The Detroiter. The competition, held at The Varnish – a haute-cocktail speakeasy in Downtown LA, was a practice round for local bartenders gearing up for more serious competitions held by the United States Bartenders’ Guild. Below Castillo talks about the history of adding beer to mixed drinks and provides a recipe for his beer cocktail which combines Stone IPA with Apple Brandy, Cynar, honey syrup and citrus to create a well-balanced drink.

“The ‘Beer Cocktail’ seems to have become popular in the last couple of years,” he explains. “The Craft Cocktail scene like any other has it’s trends. However, beer has been mixed in drinks for a long, long time. At the funeral of King Midas guests were served a mixture of wine, mead, and barley beer. That was in what is now Turkey in 700 B.C.!  People have been mixing one liquid with another as long as they have been drinking them and beer is no exception.”

Castillo continues, “I personally like the idea of a beer cocktail because it reminds me of the way people used to drink when I was younger. There were things like a Boilermaker which is really just a beer and a shot of whiskey.  Some shot the whiskey and chased it with the beer, others dropped or poured the shot in the beer and downed the whole thing. Even more I like the idea of a beer cocktail because of it’s utter defiance in the face of all those silly notions about the order in which you’re supposed to drink; beer before liquor or liquor before, whatever. You’ve heard them before. Imagine how many I’ve heard tending bar for thirteen years!”

And now for the cocktail…which seems like a good fit for upcoming Super Bowl Sunday right?