Mixology Monday: Boilermaker

Mixology Monday 19: FizzIt’s Mixology Monday, hosted by the intriguingly introverted Gabriel of Cocktail Nerd.

The theme is Fizz, so I thought this would be a good time to try out a Sloe Gin Fizz. Or maybe a Tom Collins, a classic drink I was surprised to realize I’d never had. So last week I started sampling my options.

Unfortunately, nothing seemed quite right. I am beginning to see that I’m not a huge fan of tall drinks — except for a classic Highball with lovely ginger ale and good bourbon, or maybe a Moscow Mule with homemade ginger beer. I do like things with soda — say, Campari and soda, which is ideal for a sweltering summer evening. But I’ve discussed my favorite tall drinks already, and for this I wanted to try something that was new, at least for me.

Then I remembered that beer is fizzy. I’ve written previously about my experiments with Iron City beer and Pimm’s No. 1. That was good, so I felt I was on the right track.

What I’d not written before — what I’d not even tried — was a Boilermaker.

Boilermaker

shot of liquor
beer

Two options for serving:

Option 1: Pour beer into pint glass. Pour liquor into shot glass. Serve both glasses side by side.

Option 2: Pour beer into pint glass. (Leave room at top of glass.) Pour liquor into shot glass. Gently lower shot glass into beer until it’s nearly submerged. Release shot glass so it drops to bottom of pint glass. Watch foam start to rise, and tell someone to start drinking.

Given our fizzy goals for Mixology Monday, I selected option 2.

A whole range of combinations present themselves for this. Father Spoon of Should I Drink That suggested Rebel Yell and Cold Hop, which they’d officially approved during the afterparty of one of their podcasts. John Carman thought a Flaming Dr. Pepper would be a worthy subject. Both options were interesting, but not quite right for this situation.

I decided I would look for a fairly hoppy beer with warm caramel notes. The bourbon in my cabinet right now is Woodford Reserve, my favorite, and I suspected that strong hops would compliment the Woodford’s sweetness. I didn’t want anything too hoppy, though, or it would clash with the bourbon. A little caramel would help blend with the bourbon and make everything friendly.

So at the new-ish Butler Hot Dog Shoppe (not the old, classic one that closed a few years ago; the newer one in the converted gas station on Monroe Street, with the long lines at lunch time and the option to make a mixed six-pack from the cooler), I found a likely candidate beer: Hot Shot ESB from the Great Divide Brewing Company of Boulder. I was delighted to find an ESB (extra special bitter) of any label in my small town; and in my experience, Colorado has the best small batch breweries in this country.

I am not always right, but in this case I was spot on. The beer was perhaps a little over-fizzy, due mostly to having been bought and schlepped home right before I opened it. A sip I took before adding the bourbon confirmed that it was a yummy, tangy ESB, worthy enough on its own, and just the kind of thing I wanted for this application.

And once I dropped the shotglass in:

Boilermaker -- hey, someone better drink that!

A big fizzy mess.

But a massively tasty mess. The sweet bourbon made a lovely counterpart to the hoppy beer, and the fizziness caused everything to mix and blend in happy ways. No stirring or shaking required.

Given that it’s really two drinks in one, you may choose to limit your consumption of these. But I guarantee you’ll enjoy them.

UPDATE: Gabriel of Cocktail Nerd has posted a charming summary of the many, many Mixology Monday XIX posts. Cheers!

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