A “beer cocktail,” as horrific as it may sound, can actually be an artful means of constructing a drink; in the right hands, they can actually prove to be a casual yet classy quaff. Though there exists a traditional canon — Shandy (beer and lemonade), Boilermaker (beer and a shot), Yard of Flannel (ale-based egg flip) — there’s always more to explore with beer-begotten blends.
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GREEN STREET GRILL
The only mention of beer ensconced within their mind-bogglingly comprehensive “Cocktails: A to Z” drink menu is in reference to the Black Velvet ($7.50). This mix of stout and sparkling wine was first introduced in 1861 by the Brooks’s Club in London to serve the thirsty mourners of Prince Albert. Luckily, death never tasted sweeter than in Green Street’s concoction of Mackeson’s XXX Stout and Cava. The bright, ephemeral bubbly is artfully cradled within the milk stout’s caramel-rich base, a complex and unexpected turn of textures. Plus, drinking a black cocktail just looks badass.
[280 Green St., Central Sq., Cambridge. 617.876.1655. greenstreetgrill.com]
OLÉ MEXICAN GRILL
I have to admit that reading the ingredients for a Michelada ($5) — Mexican beer, dash of Maggi seasoning (Worcestershire meets soy sauce), house hot sauce, fresh lime juice — gave me no preparation whatsoever for the composite taste of the drink. I took bar manager Remy Waldron’s recommendation for Tecate, then watched him crush a lime in the jaws of a Mexican cast aluminum hand juicer. With one sip of this savory, salty, subtle elixir, I felt strangely refreshed. Fronting like Bloody Mary’s breezy, scurvy-fightin’ cousin, a Michelada is the best damn thing to happen to summer brunch.
[11 Springfield St., Inman Sq., Cambridge. 617.492.4495. olegrill.com]
Within swank environs punctuated with Norwegian pop and Red Sox on the plasmas, Bar10 purveys two beertinis (a term sadly inevitable), each poured from tiny silver shakers into swooping martini glasses. The Strawberry Blonde ($13) blends Stella Artois and Stoli Strasberi; the berry-hued liquid is promising, but comes through sour and diluted in a clobbering combo. The beer makes for a better Peaches ‘n’ Stella ($13), a sweet but cohesive cocktail with peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Hearteningly, a couple glasses of these make for a tizzy buzz.
[10 Huntington Ave., Westin Copley Hotel, Boston. 617.424.7446]
Though technically not a beer mixture, the Windsor Hi-Lo ($10) can be easily spun as a fine lesson in cocktail deconstruction. A bottle of Schlitz (handily substituted with Pabst Blue Ribbon in its absence) accompanies a glowing dose of Green Chartreuse frappe. Crassy becomes classy as the bracing herbal liqueur is delectably tempered by cheap, hoppy carbonation. Along similar lines of artful foils, the Mullet ($8.50) teams up Bud Light with heady Sambuca; its decidedly hair-beribboned counterpart, Ms. Mullet ($8.50), pits Coors Light against a Woo Woo, B-Side’s blend of peach schnapps, vodka and cranberry juice.
[92 Hampshire St., Cambridge. 617.354.0766. bsidelounge.com]