The seed was planted a couple of years ago, at my very first visit to the Brewdog AGM, to experiment with beer as a mixer in cocktail making. This came about when I was looking for something different. You know when you’ve just had enough beer and you’re looking for an alternative, be it whiskey, a cocktail or whatever your preferred drink may be? Well that is how I stumbled upon my first experiment.
I know there are quite a few bars and restaurants that have perfected some amazing beer cocktails, but back then it was a revelation to me. At the AGM, held in the arena in Aberdeen, it was very much set up as a festival. Quite like your typical concert here in Ireland, the stage area with bars set up around the perimeters. I had reached my beer limit and had my epiphany when I remembered I was carrying a bottle of Irn Bru in my bag. I sought out a half pint of Dead Pony Club and mixed it with the Irn Bru. Much to my delight it was gorgeous. Wayne was pleasantly surprised too.
This all stemmed from when we attended the ABVFest in 2015. It was my first professionally made beer cocktail perfected by Gary. This was when we first met @TheGazzz who we were both following on twitter. He developed the beer cocktails that were available at the festival. Not only that but he also developed the beer cocktails for Brewbot in Belfast too. So if you’re attending the festival this year, go check out his cocktail creations, you won’t be disappointed.
Locally however, trying to find a bar that has a decent beer selection is like hens teeth. We live in a big enough town with a main street that houses plenty of bars. However a handful of pubs have a small craft beer bottle range with them having one tap for micro brewed beer. There is only one dedicated craft beer pub, Brú House Navan, so you can imagine the difficulty trying to get a proper beer cocktail.
This brings me to what was a regular Friday night at home with Wayne enjoying a couple of beers, I sent a simple tweet:
That’s when we decided to take Thomas up on his suggestion of mixing beer and gin. Being the curious cats we are, and as we were already drinking it, I said how about using whitehags lemon sour Púca. So off to the drinks cabinet Wayne went and after a few minutes he comes back with his creation. He used Boyles Gin mixed with the lemon púca and garnished with slices of lemon. The resulting taste resembled lemoncello. It went down very well. Boyles gin is a small batch distilled specifically for Aldi Ireland. We picked up a couple of bottles for €24.99 each.
Next was my turn to come up with something. I used Glendalough wild spring botanical gin, the 2016 version. This is a seasonal gin using locally foraged ingredients to produce a very limited batch. We were lucky enough to pick up a bottle from The Winehouse in Trim.
Being a big fan of Waynes cocktail, I decided to stay with Púca, only the berry hibiscous and ginger version. I prefer this to the original dry hopped lemon flavour. It is just as face scrunchingly tart but a little sweeter which I enjoy more. I chose mint as my garnish and it was beautiful.
While we were on a recent visit to Simon Lambert & Sons in Wexford, for a day with Yellowbelly, we enjoyed some seriously tasty beer cocktails. These were created by Danny using beers by Boundary Brewing. Wayne enjoyed “King Bong”, a citrus infused gin, white lemonade, fresh orange which was topped up with Boundarys Imbongo Tropical IPA. It was really good. However mine was “Dirty Filthy Animal” Dingle Vodka, Espresso Coffee, Tia Maria, Sugar blended with Boundarys “Filthy Animal” chilli porter. It was absolutely amazing.
Thanks again to the power of twitter, I’ve discovered a few places that serve beer cocktails in Dublin. Idlewild Bar in Dublin have a Magic Rock porter martini and an ipa margarita on the way with a new beer cocktail menu. The Hill Pub in Ranelagh have created a gin and grapefruit based cocktail topped off with Brewdogs Elvis Juice. Brickyard Gastro pub have also tried and tested a few cocktails and are also creating their Hoptail menu. I’m quite happy to know there are a few places serving them. It’s a start at the very least.