6 Beer Cocktails To Warm You Up This Winter

During the colder months, having your friends over can really take the chill out of the season. But, what are you going to serve?

Wings and beer at a friendly get together are no-brainers, along with pigs in the blanket, dip, and other popular favorites. But, what if you wanted to take things to another level?

Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Below are 6 delicious beer cocktail recipes that will do wonders, in terms of elevating your beverage situation. Using beer as the base of your drinks (instead of ginger ale or soda water) will add depth of flavor and carbonation that may surprise you and your guests.

For instance, one of the most famous beer cocktails is something called a Michelada, which is very popular in Latin America. It combines beer with assorted hot sauces, lime juice, peppers, and spices. But, this isn’t your only option. In fact, experimenting bartenders have found that that there are a variety of spirits and flavor combinations that work quite well with different types of beers.

Intrigued? Consider the following recipes to help you take the chill out of the autumn and/or winter air:

The Duchess of London
This sweet, but tart, beer and gin recipe will delight the senses. And, it’s relatively simple to make, simply combine the following ingredients in a shaker and shake well.

What You Will Need:

  • 3/4 oz ginger syrup
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz gin

To make the ginger syrup, combine 3 tablespoons of ginger and 2 tablespoons of sugar and let simmer in a little bit of water.

Orcadian Nights
This cocktail is a combination of scotch and dark beer that will provide make your mouth feel velvety smooth.

What You Will Need:

  • ¾ oz whole egg white
  • 1 ½ oz whisky
  • 1 oz Porter ale
  • ¼ ounce honey
  • ½ ounce pimento dram
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

What to Do:

  • Combine egg, honey, pimento dram, and whisky into a cocktail shaker and mix for about ten seconds
  • Add ice to the shaker and mix until the drink is well chilled
  • Add porter and strain the ingredients into a chilled glass
  • Garnish with nutmeg

Intentional Grounding
Even in the midst of winter, sometimes it’s good to cool off. This drink, with its refreshing cucumber and lime, is perfect for just such an occasion.

What You Will Need:

  • Your favorite pale ale
  • 2 tbsp diced cucumber
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz tequila
  • Cucumber wheel

What to Do:

  • Add all the ingredients (except for the beer) into a shaker with about 4 cubes of ice and shake until nicely chilled
  • Strain the mixture into a glass
  • Top with the beer
  • Garnish the mixture with a cucumber wheel

Rotten Cider
This particular cocktail is an easily made rendition of the Snakebite, a cider and beer concoction that was very popular in the 1980s. Just combine (in equal parts) Guinness Stout and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.

To add a dramatic flair, pour the Angry Orchard in first. Then, use the back of a spoon to slowly pour the Guinness into the cup. This will make the beer slide down the side of the glass and rest on top of the cider.

The Hop Collins
This is a twist on the popular Tom Collins cocktail but with a hoppy IPA to up the aromatic factor.

What You Will Need:

  • 3 oz IPA
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz gin
  • Raspberry to garnish

What to Do:

  • Place a couple of ice cubes in a chilled glass
  • Combine simple syrup, lemon juice, gin, and ice in a shaker and shake well
  • Pour the mixture into the glass
  • Fill the rest of the glass with IPA
  • To minimize foam, pour slowly onto the ice cubes. This will also give a cool layered effect that will show off your (supposed) bartending prowess
  • Garnish your creation with a raspberry and serve with a straw

The Check is in the Mail
This cocktail is inspired by the classic Air Mail drink (made with honey, sparkingling wine, lime juice, and rum) and it will definitely make you feel as if you are floating.

What You Will Need:

  • 1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz honey rum
  • 1 oz regular rum
  • 1 1/2 oz IPA with citrus notes
  • 1/2 tsp honey

What To Do:

To make the cinnamon syrup:

  • Mix equal parts water and sugar into a saucepan on stove on medium heat
  • Add 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Cook on low for about 15 minutes
  • Remove the cinnamon

To make the cocktail:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a shaker with ice until nicely chilled
  • Pour into your desired glass and add grated cinnamon to garnish

The recipes listed above are guaranteed to take your next get-together to another level, just make sure everyone drinks responsibly. With that being said, enjoy the envy that is sure to be on your friends’ faces when they taste the delicious cocktails. It will warm you up during the cold months for sure. Salud!

Burning Questions: WILL MY BEER EXPIRE?

You know the feeling – everything that can go wrong has and you can’t wait to get home to drink a beer, kick your feet up, and relax. But, when you get there, you notice that there’s one beer left AND it’s been in the back of the fridge for months.

What do you do next? Is your bad day worth consuming a beer that may potentially be bad news? Before you give in to your feelings of despair, we are going to answer that question today.

Can Beer Expire?

All beers come with an expiration date so, technically, they can expire. But, they don’t expire like other foods. Instead, the quality of the beer goes down over time, which affects both the body and flavor. If you notice that a beer no longer tastes fresh or it doesn’t have any carbonation, check out the expiration date. Chances are, you have a dud beer in your hands.

The good news is, if you drink expired beer, you probably won’t have to make a trip to the emergency room. Although, your taste buds may disagree. Still, as long as you stored the beer properly and it isn’t somehow damaged, expired beer is safe to drink. Possibly the worst thing that might happen is you may end up with a stomachache. The chances of this happening increase based on the length of time the beer has been expired.

You might be happy to know that there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, some beers (like imperial stouts, lambics, and barleywines) tend to taste better as they age – just like a fine wine. The general rule of thumb is, the stronger or darker the beer is, the better it ages.

How Long Do I Have After it Expires?

The amount of time that your beer lasts after being bottled is dependent on two major factors i.e. storage condition and the type of beer. Generally, beer is at its freshest approximately 3-4 months after being bottled. It’s safe to safe to drink at this point but after that its’ quality will begin to dip.

Most ales that have at least a 9% ABV will typically last for about a year – if stored properly. The taste gets better as well. Still, it doesn’t mean that these beers won’t lose their structure and flavor – only that it takes them longer than it does the pale ales.

Making You Beer Last Longer: What You Need to Know

The technique that you use to store your beer will greatly influence its flavor. To keep it great tasting for as long as possible, follow these simple rules:

  • Store your beer in the temperature range of 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Taking this one step will guarantee that it lasts as long as possible. If you are unable to do this, keep the beer in the fridge.
  • Beers do best in the dark so make sure you keep them away from the light. When direct light hits your beer for too long, it changes the chemical balance in the bottle. This will make the beer taste skunky – never a good thing.
  • Keep your beer from the heat. If it’s left in a warm place too long, it’s possible for your beer to overheat. If it does, it will give your beer a curdled smell and taste.
  • Keep it out of the freezer. Just like overheating your beer can make it taste bad, freezing it does the same. When you melt it, the ice changes its flavor, making it flat and flavorless.

One More Thing…

If you’re wondering about the expiration date of your beer then chances are you love this refreshing beverage. And, if that’s the case, you should know that the way you handle the beer tap handle can be the difference between whether your beer is foamy or not.

You wouldn’t believe how many people grab the beer tap handle  from the top and jerk it forward – a classic rookie mistake. This does two  things:

  • Puts excessive leverage on the beer faucet parts, which can damage them
  • Agitate the beer so that it comes out foamy

Part of this problem is the way that the beer tap handle is placed on the keg. So, one of the most important things that you must do is make sure that it’s on there properly. To do so:

  • Swivel the beer faucet handle in a clockwise direction until it’s tightly sealed. Hand tight is good enough, you won’t need a wrench.
  • Use the adjusting knob on the faucet lever until it’s in the desired location. If you want to change this position, turn the adjusting knob counterclockwise until it’s in the desired location. Tighten it with your hand.

Once the beer tap handle is positioned correctly, grab it from the bottom with your index and middle finger, then pull it toward you in one fluid motion. When you close it, simply repeat the process.

Following the advice above will ensure that not only will pour your beer like they do in commercials, it will taste great for a longer period of time as well. Happy Drinking!

 

Bringing Oktoberfest to Your Yard: What You Need to Know

 

Oktoberfest is finally upon us! Everybody knows that a trip to Munich during this time is a must for every bucket list. But, if you can’t make it this year, there’s still good news to be had.

oktoberfest-2For those of us who have gotten a late start, have families to take care of, or just don’t have the funds to fly to Germany, the next few weeks don’t have to be filled with melancholy and sadness. You don’t have to resort to spending your favorite holiday at your local bar, trying to get into whatever Oktoberfest-like event they’re holding either.

Oktoberfest lasts two weeks, so if you want to enjoy the festivities, it’s not too late. Simply hold your own version at your house, it’s much more fun anyways. Plus, as an added bonus, you won’t have to deal with obnoxious strangers ogling the girls in their costumes. All you have to do is call up some of your closest friends and turn your backyard into your own beer tent.

No idea how to get started? This is where we come in – here’s your comprehensive guide to bringing Oktoberfest to a backyard near you:

The Bier

oktoberfest-beerWe can’t talk about Oktoberfest without discussing beer, especially Marzenbier. Not only is this beer delicious, its history is intriguing as well – think early artisans using cold caves to keep their brews cool.

Still, the whole point of having your own party is to drink a ton of beers in a festive atmosphere. Thankfully, there are a great number of solid Oktoberfest beer options to be had in America. Simply do a quick internet search or ask the attendants at your local liquor store for some great options.

The Music
No Oktoberfest is complete without its official song, Ein Prosit. You might have to get some flashcards to learn it but, it isn’t that bad. In fact, you may find that the more beer you drink, the more you’ll love it. You’re also going to want to add some oompah (think polka but with a lot more brass) to your playlist.

The Food
oktoberfest-3Another great aspect of Oktoberfest are the piles of mouthwatering German foods to choose from. Potatoes, sauerkraut, bratwurst, pretzels – it’s all delicious. The best way to provide this experience at home is to simply lay it out buffet-style and let everyone eat at their leisure.

Great considerations include:

  • Bratwursts: Oktoberfest isn’t the same without some brats, so fire up your grill and go for it. Or, if you’re in a lazy mood, simply throw some in a slow cooker (along with a bottle of beer) for a tasty variation.
  • Pretzels: You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a pretzel with your beer. Like pizza and ranch dressing, it’s an unlikely pairing that’s delicious as all get out. Something about the slightly crunchy, salty snack filled with steamy goodness that just hits the right spot when paired with an Oktoberfest beer.
  • German Potato Salad: Forget the traditional American-style potato style fare that you’re used to consuming. The German version is a tangy and warm celebration of yummy goodness.

The Ambiance
Like all good holidays that we’ve somehow managed to make about good food and booze, you might as well dress the part to indulge even more in the festive atmosphere. So, men grab your lederhosen and women put on your dirndl dress, it’s time to party like you’re in Germany!

 

 

7 Things You Don’t Know About Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is upon us! So, strap on your lederhosen and jump on the beer wagon. Let’s get into what this behemoth beer festival is all about.

  1. It’s Not in October

oktoberfest-1Let’s get this out of the way real quick. This legendary event actually has a mid-September start. This year, the festival begins on September 17 and ends on October 3rd. Don’t worry, you’ve still got time to celebrate!

  1. It’s Not A Beer Festival

Yes. You heard that right. Oktoberfest is not a beer festival. It’s actually the anniversary celebration of a wedding! When the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig decided to get hitched to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen (now there’s a name) they decided to throw what we would call a block party. So, next time you raise your stein, be sure to make a toast to the lovebirds that made it all possible!

  1. It’s Tapped!

The festival can’t get underway until the master of ceremonies cracks open the first beer. It’s usually accompanied by the proclamation of ‘O’zapft is’ or as we like to say, the it’s tapped!

  1. Drink to Your Health

You’d think a festival where beer is so generously imbibed might not be the best for your health…. However, you’d be wrong. You see, back in the 19th Century, fresh water wasn’t so fresh. And so, in order to avoid cholera, the plague and other, shall we say disagreeable, ailments, the locals took to drinking beer. We believe that to be a much safer, and tastier, alternative! So, drink to your health – or as the locals shout: ‘zum Wohl!’

  1. Soak Up the Beer

oktoberfest-2If you want to last the entire festival, you’re going to need some hearty fare. And Oktoberfest does not disappoint. With traditional offerings from Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Brezn (pretzel), Knodeln (potato or bread dumplings), Wurstl (sausages), and Sauerkraut (pickled red cabbage) you’ll be set for the day. However, your breath won’t, so be sure to bring a stick of gum!

  1. All Ages Allowed

If you happen to be in Bavaria, then don’t be surprised to see families and children roaming the festival. Remember, it’s not just about the beer – even though that’s the only reason we go… While the carnival aspect is a large part of Oktoberfest, it’s also a family friendly extravaganza. You’ll find rollercoasters, games, a Ferris wheel, and traditional Bavarian parades.

  1. Lost and Found

With such a spectacular gathering of inebriated fellows, you’d assume things would get lost. And you’d be right. Every year, over 4000 things are lost and found during the Oktoberfest. From glasses to phones, passports, wallets, jackets and even some oddities: dentures, hearing aids and wedding rings. But don’t fret, the items get stored in Munich’s central lost and found office for six months. After that, well you’re out of luck as they get sold at public auction!

Are You Thirsty Yet?

oktoberfest-3What are you waiting for? Get yourself to Munich and celebrate the Oktoberfest! Or just find your way to the nearest bar and tell them everything you learned about the festival!