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The Clay County Advocate - Press-Flora, IL
  • The Beer Nut: Cognac in my beer? Sure, why not?

  • The Beer Nut recently received a copy of "Beer Cocktails: 50 Superbly Crafted Cocktails that Liven up Your Lagers and Ales," and it changed his way of thinking about beer and booze.

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  • Beer is beer, and cocktails are cocktails. They both have their place, but they are distinctly different sections of the adult beverage industry.
    Or so I always thought. But beer cocktails are growing in popularity. I fought this, refusing to try them, calling them an abomination against the gods of good beer.
    However, recently I received a copy of “Beer Cocktails: 50 Superbly Crafted Cocktails that Liven up Your Lagers and Ales,” by husband-and-wife authors Howard and Ashley Stelzer, of Cambridge, Mass., and it put a thought into my head. Was I being close-minded? How can I call beer cocktails “abominations” without actually trying some?
    So I searched through “Beer Cocktails” for some recipes to try.
    My only requirement was that they were relatively easy to make. My idea of a cocktail is typically pouring copious amounts of rum or whiskey into a glass and topping with a small amount of cola.
    So even though there were some wonderful looking drinks that included several different ingredients, I stuck to three different drinks.
    The first I tried was the Belgian 75, which is a beery version of the popular gin cocktail, French 75.
    This drink included gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar and a Belgian pale ale. I used Duvel, one of my personal favorite beers.
    I had to dig out a Collins glass, a drink shaker and a strainer for this.
    Of the three cocktails I tried, this was my least favorite.
    I have never had gin before, and I don’t think I like it.
    But I didn’t like what the gin and lemon juice did to the Duvel. It made the Duvel taste more like a mass-produced lager, similar to a Budweiser or Coors.
    It just wasn’t for me.
    A step up was the Frank Booth, which is made with whiskey, freshly squeezed lime juice and Pabst Blue Ribbon or another light American lager — I used Narragansett.
    After mixing this in the shaker, I gave it a shot, and it wasn’t bad.
    I like whiskey, so I didn’t mind the booze flavor. It was a nice drink. I could imagine drinking one of these again. The lager was dominated by the whiskey, but the beer did take a little of the alcohol burn from the whiskey.
    I almost feel dirty saying this, but I loved the third beer cocktail I tried, the Belgian 125, which is a take on the French 125, which is made with cognac and champagne.
    The Belgian 125 is made with cognac, a freshly squeezed orange and a Flemish sour ale. I used Monk’s Cafe.
    This drink was phenomenal. The flavor combination of the orange, cognac and Flemish sour ale made for an ultra refreshing drink. This would be a great drink to enjoy by pool side. I would actively seek this drink out again.
    Page 2 of 2 - The book itself is well-done. It features a section on beer basics.
    It also features chapters on beer cocktails made with lagers, cocktails made with Belgian ales, cocktails made with stouts and porters, and a chapter with cocktails made with other styles of beers.
    I may have to try some of the stout dessert ones — they look really tasty. The Nutter Butter Beer, in particular, looks like something I would really, really like.
    “Beer Cocktails: 50 Superbly Crafted Cocktails that Liven Up Your Lagers and Ales,” is 104 pages long. It is scheduled to be released in June, and is published by Harvard Common Press.
    For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email nmiller@wickedlocal.com. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut. Also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.
     
     
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