5 Ways to Enjoy Unwelcome Beer
(Setting: Mike and Tina’s house, on a pleasant Sunday afternoon, recovering from the previous night’s festivities. Suddenly, the doorbell rings.)
Tina: Are you expecting anyone? Do you mind grabbing that? I’m up to my ears in Indian Spice Stuffed Baby Eggplant.
Mike: Sure thing, babe! (muttering) Why do I always have to answer the door she never answers the door always my job to answer the door stupid door anyway…
Mike: Who would be dropping by this late on a weekend afternoon? I thought I paid up all my suburban protection money…
Steeler Lager: Hey man! How’s it going! Feel like hangin’ out?
Mike: Oh. Oh, hey Steeler.
Steeler Lager: I know, I know, you weren’t expecting me, but it’s kind of a funny thing. I had met up with some other friends of mine, you know, at this party yesterday and we were all hanging around having a good time.
Mike: Yeah. That was a good time.
Steeler Lager: YOU DON’T NEED TO TELL ME THAT, ha ha ha! Anyway, funny thing: At the end of the night, all the other drinks got taken home and I got left behind here!
Mike: What? No! That’s– wow, that’s just nuts. How could that have happened?
Steeler Lager: CRAZY EH? I mean, I’m a good time like everyone else, right? Who wouldn’t want a little of the old Cold Steeler, you know?!
Tina (coming in from the kitchen): Who is it, sweethear– oh. Hello, Steeler. Were you leaving already? Because we were just about to head out ourselves, and–
Steeler Lager: WHO’S READY TO PARTY!
Does this sound familiar? Do you find beer lingering around your house that you wouldn’t serve to the vermin in your backyard if you thought it would drive them away forever? Are there still cans of off-brand beer living on the door of your fridge, exactly where you put them when they were brought over for a BBQ last Labor Day? And are you the type of person who is physically incapable of throwing anything away, ever?
You’re not alone. Unwelcome Beer Syndrome afflicts countless hosts and hostesses on a weekendly basis, shuffling unwelcome brewed beverages — or “ho-beers” — from cooler to cooler, never to be consumed and always to take up valuable storage space.
Choosy Beggars can help. While some beers are a delicate combination of ingredients, carefully mixed to produce rich flavors that reward the discerning drinker, many more are cheap crap. When you’re confronted with such filth, you shouldn’t feel confined to the traditional boundaries (i.e. “choke it down or live with it forever”).
You can be creative.
You can call on your friends in the liquor cabinet.
You can mix, and we can show you how, with:
5 Ways to Enjoy Unwelcome Beer
Yes, it’s true. Mixing beer can be more than just dropping shots of Bailey’s into a Guinness and slamming it all down before you throw up. Beer cocktails are largely frowned-upon by anyone who considers themselves a connoisseur, but I’m willing to bet that those self-same gourmands were never faced with having to dispose of a liter of discount lager brewed in a town known for molten steel production. Sometimes creativity is your only solution, and we’ve got the toolkit to help.
Done carefuly, beer cocktails can range from refreshing to challenging, and from flavorful to madness-inducing. All that it takes is the right combination of flavors and ingredients, but let’s start with the basics first:
1. Lager and Lime
I feel embarrassed even putting this up there, but for the longest time I really didn’t understand the Lager ‘n’ Lime phenomenon. At the British pub where Tina worked, I’d always see bottles of Lime Cordial sitting on the bar, but I assumed they were for some kind of cocktail application. Never mind that they would sit right by the beer taps, or that I rarely ever saw the bartenders use them in cocktails — I cling to my assumptions like sour to pickles, whether they make sense or not.
Tina finally explained it to me one night before we had gotten together, when I was feeling plucky enough to chat her up at work and had yet to irritate her with unsolicited help on her crossword puzzle.
“The old-timers like to do this,” she said. “Just a little blast of lime in their beers, brightens it right up and makes it lovely and refreshing…”
I enthusiastically grabbed a bottle and dolloped some into my Carlsberg.
“…ohhh, oh,” she added as she watched me turn my beer green. “Unless you do a big blast, and then it gets to be a bit of a… well, a syrupy mess.”
Grimacing, I assured her that it was just to my taste. I liked sweet, I said, it was a nice change of pace and hey what a novel flavor!
Smooth with the ladies, then as always.
But from that treacly moment I can take away two key lessons:
- When adding your Lime Cordial to a beer, always ensure that the brew a light variety — a Lager or Pilsner, something that will benefit from the added body of syrup. Most folks are happy for just a dash, though more traditional folks will insist on a full ounce added to their pint. Less is definitely more, in my experience, but the result is something quite enjoyable and it’s an inexpensive way to salvage even beers you hate.
- I am totally unable to impress women.
Thank goodness at least one of these I can build on!
2. The South Wind
You say you want your beer to be green, sweet and even more alcoholic? That mere cordial isn’t enough, and you’re ready to move into more advanced territory? Then it’s time to set your sails to the South Wind, my friend.
I would personally like to state for the record that I hate Melon Liqueur, and I find it very close to cough medicine in its basic form. It’s thick and unnaturally green, and tastes absolutely nothing like actual melons in any form that I’ve encountered in my life. Very possibly if I were to allow a honeydew to decay beneath the engine block of my car for a few days, there might be some point that it reaches this color and consistency — but at that point it would be a quite reasonable source of alarm and concern, not an invitation to bottle and drink it at my leisure.
But since experiencing the South Wind, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart. “Oh dear,” I might now think, “Nothing in nature achieves this particular shade of green. It is terrible sickly refuse that I must dispose of… or perhaps mix with unpleasant lager!”
In this case, it really is as simple as 1 + 1. If you’ve poured 1 pint of beer, then you would want to add to it no more than 1 ounce of melon liqueur. Anything more, and the beer will start to get a little sickly; anything less, and you’ll wonder what the point of the exercise was. You’ll know you’ve done it right when you see the color change from golden to tarnished, and the flavor of the beverage will change completely into a happy, almost candy-like flavor with a solid punch.
But if that’s a little too frivolous for you, there’s the more adult alternative:
3. Cassis Kiss
The Liverpool Kiss is a relatively well-known blend of dark Stout and Creme-de-Cassis, taking an earthy dark beer and lending to it a deeper sweetness. The resulting beverage is a slow drink that must be taken even slower, lest the weight of it overwhelm you completely and draw other people into orbit around your midsection. It’s meant to be a complementary relationship between the bitter-sweetness of the dark beer and the syrupy richness of the blah blah blah blah, you know how it goes — the important thing here is to remember that this is an authorized beer cocktail, whereas what I propose is somehow criminal. But doesn’t that make it more delicious?
So call this a re-mix, and enjoy it just as happily. A shot of black currant liqueur will serve just as admirably in a pint of lighter beer as it will in a dark, and actually helps to give heft where there isn’t any at all. The result is a drink with the color of a better brew than you actually have, a fuller body than you might have paid for, and a sweetness that is noticeable but not overwhelming.
It’s an all-around upgrade, and because the name’s French, suddenly you’re classy! Where else can an ounce of liquor buy you that, I’d like to know.
But sometimes, it isn’t class you’re going for. I understand that, which is why I also took pains to include:
4. Strip and Go Naked
The Strip and Go Naked is an advanced application of what we’ve looked at so far: It establishes an inexpensive, insubstantial beer as its base; it features a syrup (Grenadine, this time) to add color and sweetness; it includes a shot of liquor (gin, or in my case Plymouth Gin) for boozy oomph and heavier flavor. So, not a whole lot new there, except for two key differences:
- It includes a second ingredient, lemonade, as a mixing base, and
- It abandons all pretense of subtlety.
Yes, this is a drink specifically designed to knock you entirely off your ass. There is no question of this, and you should be aware that upon mixing in you have not only given up the rest of your night, but most of the following morning. The Strip and Go Naked is the drink you pull together at the start of a party where you want everyone collapsed on your lawn by 10 o’clock, or at the end of a Friday night when you don’t actually want to wake up again until sometime Sunday afternoon.
Proportions are as follows:
- 1 pint of your disposable, despicable lager
- 1 oz. lemonade (the carbonated kind actually complements this well, if you have some)
- 1 oz. gin (you can up this depending on how bad your day was, and how bad you want tomorrow to be)
- A splash of grenadine
To the pint glass, add the gin and lemonade first, just to make sure you’ve got room for them in the glass. Pour the lager in over top, which will help them all to incorporate and ensure that your booze doesn’t just rise off the head and spill on the counter. By now you should have a slightly swamp-watery-looking solution, which is where the grenadine will come in handy — drizzle just enough to bring the color back to something palatable, and give it only a quick stir.
Presto! You’re ready to Strip and Go Naked.
And once you’re done with that, why… you may just find yourself:
Sorry, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without mentioning one of Tina’s classics, and easily one of my favorite ways to bring life back to beer I’d rather not deal with.
- 3/4 oz gold tequila
- 1/4 oz banana liqueur
- 250 ml (1cup) beer
- 100 ml (2/5 cup) Canada Dry ginger ale
Pour the tequila and banana liqueur into a shot glass. Into a large beer stein or tall glass, on a 45° angle, slowly pour in the lager. Keep the glass tilted and pour the ginger ale. Drop the shot glass into the beer stein and (when the foam settles down) chug it immediately. Your masculinity and beer swilling prowess depend on your ability to do so in a timely manner.
Yes, there’s always something you can do to bring new life to beer you’d rather not endure on its own merits: whether it’s a simply spruce-up to add flavor where there was none before, a little punch in the form of your favorite liqueur, or a great big haymaker in the form of frat boy potions that would lay low an African elephant.
Just remember, unwelcome beer is a problem that we all face, but together it’s one we can overcome.