If you are looking for an unforgettable drink, Colorado is the right place. Home to more than 100 craft breweries and distilleries, the state is a hub of innovative drinking. To shake things up, a handful of skillful bartenders, distillers, and brewers are coming together and mixing up expertly crafted beer cocktails, an increasingly popular trend at bars in Colorado and around the country.
Justin Lloyd, the owner of Star Bar in Denver is one bartender who is pioneering beer cocktails, with a particular focus on showcasing Colorado’s craft beer and spirits. There is no menu at his “dive” bar where he sells mostly local, craft products. If you want a beer cocktail, simply ask and a custom drink is made on the spot, “attuned to you,” said Lloyd.
Lloyd said the demand for beer cocktails is, “growing and growing,” in part because of the large number of craft distilleries and breweries that push the envelope when it comes to unique flavors.
So what makes a good beer cocktail? “It’s all about the flavor profile,” said Lloyd. He chooses combinations that balance and amplify every flavor in both the spirit and the brew.
There are no rules when mixing beer cocktails. Glenn Pollak, a bartender at Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder, experiments with anything and everything to make the perfect cocktail. The real test is, “At the end of the day, is this delicious or not?”
A few tips from the experts on mixing beer and spirits:
Gin is great if you want to intensify hops.
Rum coaxes out spices and sweetness.
Whiskey amplifies malt and deeper grain flavors.
Tequila brings out subtler flavors like fruits and lighter grains.