Thirsty? Quench your thirst this summer with these refreshing and easy-to-make craft beer cocktails.
BC is in Phase 3, but my partner—a.k.a. The Brit—and I have chosen to stay hyper-local and continue to eat and imbibe at home. But I miss eating out and sipping something lovely. Craft beer and wine are readily available, but I do love a good cocktail. So I decided to make some. And not just any cocktails—craft beer cocktails.
Now, I’m not talking about a shandy here. (Though there’s nothing wrong with that lemony delight.) I went down the Google rabbit hole to find six delicious ways to make use of our glassware collection. And to beat the summer heat that has arrived in full force.
Over the last couple of weeks, The Brit and I taste-tested each cocktail for you—you’re welcome. Our back patio has been an oasis during the pandemic and it was no hardship to sip these cocktails while enjoying our foliage.
As I’m a big fan of supporting local, 90% of the ingredients are BC-made and all the craft ingredients are from Victoria (where we used to live) and Port Moody (where we live now) makers.
Before you scroll to the recipes, a few quick tips for making the best craft beer cocktails!
Tips for making craft beer cocktails
- Not all beers mix well with typical cocktail ingredients
- IPAs are great for citrus-based cocktails
- Lagers or ales with a light flavour are good neutral base
- Put the cocktail shaker away. Stir, don’t shake. It goes against 007, but even he wouldn’t want the carbonated mess. (Margaritas are the exception because the blender won’t explode.)
- If you can, garnish your cocktail. It makes you feel like you’re at a restaurant or bar. And it just looks pretty.
Okay, let’s make craft beer cocktails.
1. IPA Michelada
Inspired by the Spiked Michelada from BBC Good Food—and because I’m not a lager fan—I decided to make my own version of this Mexican-inspired cocktail with Parkside Brewery’s Humans IPA. I also added a touch of spice.
Serves: 1 / Time: 15 mins
- Juice of 1 lime
- Lime wedge
- 1 tpsp of sea salt (pour onto a plate)
- A handful of ice cubes
- 1 tbsp tequila
- Approx 3/4 of a 473ml can of IPA (I used Parkside Brewery’s Humans IPA)
- Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Tobasco sauce (optional)
- Squeeze lime juice into a small bowl or small measuring cup
- Use lime wedge around the rim of your glass vessel of choice. (I got fancy with martini glasses.) Set lime wedge aside.
- Carefully dip the rim of your glass in the salt (you want to have a thin rim of salt)
- Add ice, lime juice and tequila to your glass
- Stir gently and then slowly pour your beer into the glass
- Garnish with lime wedge
- OPTIONAL – Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a couple drops of Tobasco sauce for some kick
Thank you to The Parkside Brewery for providing the beer for this cocktail.
2. Raspberry Beergarita
I don’t know about you, but when we can travel abroad again, I want to go to my favourite place in Mexico. I’ll find a quiet palapa on the beach so I can sit with a book in one hand and a nice margarita in the other. For now, our back patio will do, and this raspberry beergarita is a fantastic summery drink. Get out your blender!
Serves: 2 / Time: 10 mins
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 4-6 tbsp of tequila, or adjust to your taste
- 1 small lime, juiced
- 1 tall can of raspberry ale or another raspberry forward beer (I used Twin Sails Brewing Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale)
- 1 cup of ice
- Lime wedges
- OPTIONAL – Salt for the rim of your glassware (see cocktail #1)
- In a blender, blend raspberries and water until smooth. Stain raspberries in a wire mesh colander over a bowl and pour juice back into blender.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
- It will be very frothy, so let the liquid settle (just as you would a pint) before pouring.
- While your liquid is settling, use a lime wedge to wet the rim of your glasses. Rim with salt.
- Pour, add a lime wedge to each glass and enjoy!
Note: If you use frozen raspberries as I did, increase your water amount to 3/4 cup. And I also feel that a sour beer would go well in this recipe.
3. Orange Elvis
When I was starting to make these cocktails, I stumbled upon the Elvis Cocktail at the very last minute. I had to improvise a bit from the original recipe, as we didn’t have grapefruit juice (and I’m not a super fan) or St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)—hence, the Orange Elvis was born. But the next time we are at the liquor store, I’m buying some St. Germain. I have the feeling I’ll love the cocktail even more!
Serves: 1 / Time: 5 mins
- 2 oz (4 tbsp) of dry gin (I used Spinnaker’s Botanical Beach London Dry Gin)
- 4 oz or a 1/4 tall can of IPA (I used Yellow Dog Play Dead IPA and also tried this with Parkside Humans IPA)
- 1/2 oz (2 tbsp) St. Germain (semi-optional)
- OPTIONAL – Fresh mint for garnish. We happen to have some in our garden!
- Put some ice cubes in your glass.
- Add gin, orange juice and St. Germain to a cocktail glass (or whatever you have available)
- Use the stem of a spoon to stir and combine.
- Slowly pour the beer.
- Garnish with some fresh rosemary or mint.
Note: If you happen to have a cocktail shaker like me and want to channel your inner Tom Cruise from Cocktail — If you don’t know this movie, I won’t judge, but you should watch it tonight. — add ice, gin, juice and St. Germain. Shake, shake, shake, and strain into a glass with ice cubes. Slowly pour IPA over ice. DO NOT add the beer to the shaker. We all know what happens to carbonated drinks.
Thank you to Spinnakers Brewpub for providing the gin for this cocktail.
4. Raspberry Gin-ger Beer
I have a confession: this wasn’t meant to be a raspberry beer cocktail. But someone (ahem, The Brit) drank the last pale ale and I forgot to say “please save that”… To use the word of 2020, I pivoted and adapted the recipe a bit. And it turned out AMAZING, if I do say so myself. While this recipe involves making a ginger syrup, this summery cocktail is worth the little bit of extra effort.
Serves: 2 / Time: 1 hour
- 1 1/4 cup (150 g) of fresh ginger root, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
- Combine water, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan.
- Heat to a gentle boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and stir until suagar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let mixture steepfor 30 mins.
- Strain and chill in a covered container in the fridge.
Note: You’ll have enough left for at least four cocktails.
- 5 tbsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) ginger syrup
- 1 1/2 oz (3 tbsp) gin (I used Spinnaker’s Botanical Beach London Dry Gin)
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1 tall can of raspberry beer (I used Twin Sails Brewing Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale)
- Place lemon juice, syrup, gin, and ice into a blender in the order listed and secure lid.
- Blend on low for a few seconds and then on high for 15 seconds.
- Pour half of the mixture into a glass over ice and top with half a can of the beer. Repeat in the second glass.
- Stir and garnish with a lime wedge or some fresh mint.
5. Black Velvet
The Black Velvet is a lovely cocktail that would normally be made with a Guinness—or a similar creamy stout—and champagne. (Think the “ritzy” version of a Black and Tan.) I used a smoked porter with my favourite pink bubbly.
Serves: 1 / Time: 2-3 mins
- 4 oz bubbly wine (I used Evolve Cellars Pink Effervescence)
- 4 oz porter or stout beer (I used Yellow Dog Smoked Porter)
- Pour bubbly into glass (will hit about halfway in a traditional champagne glass)
- Top it off by slowly pouring your beer.
- Make another for your partner.
Note: I have the feeling that using a stout would have given me the impressive layered look you see in the recipe I used, but local stouts aren’t in season, so I used what I had. And it was delicious. If you try this one, let me know what you think!
Thank you to Yellow Dog Brewing for providing the beer for this cocktail.
6. Porter Beer Float
It’s time to feel like a kid again, but with the adult version of many people’s childhood favourite: the ice cream float. Anyone else have fond memories of going to a certain fast-food restaurant as a kid? And the delight of enjoying a frosted mug root-beer float?
Serves: 2 / Time: 5 mins
- Vanilla ice cream (I used Island Farms)
- 1 tall can of porter or stout (I used Yellow Dog Shake a Paw Smoked Porter)
- Fill two small mason jars (or glassware of your choice) each with around two big scoops of ice cream
- Slowly pour half a can of the beer over the ice cream in each glass.
- Delight in the fizz and chemistry of it all and enjoy!
Note: If you have kids or want a non-alcoholic version, Phillips Brewing & Malting offers a great root beer. It’s available in most grocery stores.
Thank you to Yellow Dog Brewing for providing the beer for this cocktail.
Be sure to share your beer cocktail creations with us by tagging @bcaletrail on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Happy mixing!
Yasmine Hardcastle is the Social Media Manager for the BC Ale Trail. Originally from Vancouver, she’s a yogini and passionate local tourist who enjoys keeping well and enjoying life. She chronicles her adventures on her blog, westcoastcitygirl.com through which she has worked with both local and international companies and attractions. Yasmine can often be found enjoying a #pintandaflight at a craft tasting room with her Englishman, The Brit. Connect with her on Instagram or on LinkedIn.