You know I love a good beverage around these parts, right? Maybe more than I’d like to admit some days.
When it’s hot as it’s been all summer, the first thing I’m reaching for after a long day of work followed by a hot evening in the kitchen is an icy cold, frothy pint of beer. There is just nothing like that first sip that leaves a foamy mustache lining your upper lip.
While I do enjoy beer as much as one can, my knowledge of the stuff is fairly pedestrian. Light vs dark, red vs blonde, cloudy vs clear. That’s about as far as I get before I gulp it down. So whenever I’m stuck on a pairing, or want to know more about a certain brand or style of beer, I find myself asking one person. Katy Watts. Ottawa’s designated “beer girl”, or at least I consider her as such. Not only does Katy spend her time discovering all that Ottawa and surrounding area has to offer in the way of brews, she travels far and wide simply to discover new breweries for herself. In fact, when we were last together on a weekend in Prince Edward County, she regaled us with tales of a trip to Detroit simply to visit Dogfish Head Brewery. If memory serves (and it’s likely it doesn’t), she even shared her last bottle from Dogfish when we dined at Atelier for their Black Box Dinner (which allowed tables to bring their own beer or wine). This is a girl who is passionate about beer and all it’s many flavours and styles.
Because I think Katy is talented and wonderful, I asked if she might consider sharing some of her knowledge with us so I could in turn share it with you. Not only did she agree to that, she even shared a few recipes for beer cocktails! BEER COCKTAILS! I am tickled at the thought. And so, I’ll stop rambling on and let Katy take it away! If you want to visit her blog, Sheltered Girl Meets World, there is a link at the bottom of the page with all her information. If you enjoy what you see, I’d love for you to leave Katy a comment at the bottom of the page!
It all started when I saw a picture of a margarita on my Instagram feed. It was a pretty classic cottage photo; large glass filled with lime coloured liquid looking out onto a lake but it was the “beergarita” caption that caught my attention more than the scenery. With a Google search I quickly found a recipe and recreated the beergarita in the photo (without the lake) and found it almost too tasty - especially for a weeknight. In my beer and tequila glow I started wondering, what else can I mix with beer?
I know, why mess with perfection right? But combining the right ingredients with beer can sometimes make it more refreshing and intensify those subtle flavours that are so enjoyable. Look at the classic beer cocktails like the Shandy (citrus pop or lemonade with lager), Snakebite (stout and cider) or Black Velvet (stout and sparkling wine) - all of them flatter existing flavour profiles or provide a refreshing contrast.
experiments cocktails I used some of my favourite Ontario craft brews and tried my best to complement them with spirits and fruit. I learned that most beers will easily pair with citrus and India Pale Ale’s love the herbal flavour of tequila but using mint or berries requires a bit of patience and a willingness to dump a beer down the drain. Try my recipes or try mixing your own special blend to enjoy at the cottage or on the couch.
The Kichesippi Beergarita
(Yield: 6 servings, 3 .. or 1 with a headache the next morning)
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup thawed frozen lime aid concentrate
2 chilled bottles of Kichesippi Natural Blonde
1/2 cup chilled tequila
Prepare glasses by rubbing lime wedge around the glass rim and dipping in coarse salt. Combine beer, tequila and lime aid concentrate in a large pitcher, stir to combine. Pour over ice in salt rimmed glasses.
[photo by Katy Watts]
The Spearhead Spike
(Yield: Two servings)
1 chilled bottle of Spearhead’s Hawaiian Style Pale Ale
1 oz of white rum
2 oz of pineapple juice
Combine rum, pineapple juice and ice cubes in a shaker - shake till ingredients are well mixed. Combine Hawaiian Style Pale Ale and rum/juice mixture into pint glass.
[photo by Katy Watts]
Hogsback Raspberry Beerjito
(Yield: Two servings)
1/2 pint of raspberries
Chilled can of HogsBack Brewing Co.’s Vintage Lager
1 oz white rum
2 T agave syrup (also called nectar)
Combine raspberries, rum, mint and agave syrup and muddle together. Pour raspberry mixture in glass filled with ice and add Hogs Back Brewing Co.’s Vintage Lager. Stir with straw to combine.[photo by Katy Watts]