We've seen a lot of beer cocktails make best-beverage lists over the past year, and they range in complexity from a glorified michelada -- a classic Mexican blend of lime juice and lager -- to the Naughty Girl Scout, a drink on the list at Euclid Hall that uses a variety of spirits plus Left Hand milk stout to emulate a Thin Mint cookie.
If you're into the trend -- and we are, since beer adds delightful flavor and tingly carbonation to cocktails -- you'll want to check out Beermixology.com, a new website from a group of influential drinkers, bartenders and beer writers from Denver and beyond that encourages drinkers to mix their booze and brews.
The site, which launched yesterday, was founded by Ashley Routson, also known as the Beer Wench, who works for Bison Brewing in Berkeley and writes Drink With the Wench, a highly trafficked blog about craft brews. Routson's interest in beer extends beyond the pint glass, though, and after determining that slow growth in beer mixology could likely be attributed to a lack of resources on the subject, she roped in fellow connoisseurs from across the country -- focusing, in particular, on major craft-beer markets like Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and, yes, Denver -- to remedy the gap.
"Expecting a mixologist to know everything about beer would be like expecting a beer expert to know everything about wine," Routson notes in her initial post. "Not all alcohol is created equal, and it is extremely hard to be an expert at them all. This is why I think it is crucial for beer experts and professional mixologists to work together in crafting beer cocktails."
"Cocktails are on the rise," adds local booze writer Jess Hunter, who contributes to the site. "And beer cocktails are edging in to tip the cocktail scale. We've seen it with the recent post from Ryan Conklin on Craftbeer.com, Aspen Food and Wine's beer cocktail competition where Brian Melton was the winner, and the first annual Beer Cocktail Showcase this year in Denver. And that's just here in Colorado. Simply put, we like booze, we like to experiment, and we like to push the envelope."
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The Beermixology team includes "a combination of certified Cicerones, bar owners, mixologists and beer bloggers," says Hunter. Among the other Denver writers are bartenders Justin Lloyd of Star Bar and Ryan Conklin, certified Cicerone of Euclid Hall, who both mix up beer cocktails for patrons on a regular basis.
The stated goal of Beermixology.com is "to explore the relationship between beer and spirits and share our findings and experiments with the world," and posts so far include recipes for cocktails, which can be sorted by spirit or beer style. Expect beer cocktail event listings and contributions from beer and spirits brands to pop up in the future, too. "We're planning to have new posts every week as we toe that line between cocktails and beer," Hunter says.