The craft beer movement has bred a new kind of bar goer — one that expects more complexity and novel flavours of beer. And while beer producers look towards brewing methods to meet this demand, bartenders are taking a less conventional approach.
Blending trendy spirits, liqueurs and juices with craft beer, local mixologists are elevating the once gimmicky beer cocktail to a more modern, craft-quality status.
Here are 12 of these beer cocktails worth checking out in Vancouver right now:
The Boxcar at The Alibi Room
As well as an extensive local beer list, this Gastown ale house offers a small selection of modern mixed drinks. For their Boxcar cocktail, Alibi balances the sourness of Storm Brewing’s Red Ale with herbal benedictine and sweet brandy.
Bonus: Whiskey sour fans should try the Green Run cocktail, which tops up bourbon, lemon, and cardamom bitters with an IPA foam float.
Address: 157 Alexander Street, Vancouver
Portland at The Diamond
To create this tropical sipper with malty overtones and creamy texture, The Diamond shakes up 33 Acres West Coast Pale Ale with rye whisky, sweet vermouth, fresh lemon and OJ.
Address: 6 Powell Street, Vancouver
Sleepy Hollow at The Acorn
To complement the Acorn’s award-winning vegetarian fare, Bar Manager, Liam Bryant often takes cues from the kitchen. For his Sleepy Hollow, Bryant mixes a spiced pumpkin syrup and toasted pecan tincture with Strange Fellows IPA, bourbon, amaro and lemon.
Address: 3995 Main Street, Vancouver
Bonobo Porter at Pidgin
Pidgin lightens the darker nature of Twa Dog’s chocolatey porter by mixing it with a sweet banana liqueur, floral gin, cooling mint, and lime.
Address: 350 Carrall Street, Vancouver
Trinidad Shandy @ Bambudda
Inspired by the New York Times bestseller, The Drunken Botanist, Bambudda spices up a Trinidadian lager with a tree-bark-based syrup, Angostura rum, bitters, and lime. This one isn’t printed on the current menu, but you can still order it (at least until they close February 19, 2017).
Address: 99 Powell Street, Vancouver
Mulled Guinness at Brix and Mortar
Bar Manager Chris Mosey shares this old family recipe to keep his Yaletown patrons warm over the winter. Taking Guinness, Mosey mulls the classic stout with white chocolate liqueur, assorted spices and dried figs, before topping off each serving with a tonka bean whipped cream. For the Guinness purists out there, don’t fret, this drink still boasts enough bitterness to remind you it’s still a stout.
Address: 1138 Homer Street, Vancouver
Wiski Bia at The Union
The Union’s Bar Manager Kristi-Leigh Akister creates this tropical beer experience by balancing Main Street Brewing’s intensely bitter IPA with lychee puree, a healthy dose of bourbon, fresh mint, and lemon.
Address: 219 Union Street, Vancouver
Spiced Brewmaster at Lift Bar & Grill
Lift’s Spiced Brewmaster cocktail sweetens Bomber Brewing’s Amber Lager by adding Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, vanilla syrup, OJ, and apricot brandy.
Address: 333 Menchion Mews, Vancouver
Michelada at Tacofino
For those that don’t know, Mexico has an awesome twist on the Caesar that swaps vodka for beer. Tacofino puts their own twist on this classic by using East Van’s Red Truck Lager, a house-made clamato (infused with jalapeño, cilantro, and garlic) — and then adds a shot of tequila for good measure.
Address: 15 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
Address: 1025 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Second City Sunrise at Nightingale
Hawksworth’s more casual (and affordable) sister restaurant takes a Pilsner-Saison – made especially for them by Main Street Brewing – and adds a bitter akvavit liqueur, apricot, and grapefruit juice to make a radler-style cocktail with a bitter, herbal overtones.
Address: 1017 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Geronimus Hattbanger at BierCraft (Cambie Village)
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on BierCraft’s 100+ beer list, fans of lighter, fruitier brews can try the Geronimus Hattbanger – a combination of Kronenbourg Blanc, peach juice, vanilla liqueur and vodka.
Address: 3305 Cambie Street, Vancouver
College Dropout at Wildebeest
Wildebeest has a habit of using daring cocktail ingredients to push guests outside of their comfort zones. For his College Dropout, Bar Manager, Drew McGuire adds maple vinegar to Twin Sails’ citrusy IPA, before rounding it out with pear nectar and cognac.
Address: 120 West Hastings Street, Vancouver