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Indian Summer Drinking: Bring on Beer Cocktails

At left, one of Dosa's beer cocktails. [Photo: Flickr/Dmitry Gudkov]

Two words: beer cocktail. It might sound counter-intuitive, but you've probably had your fair share. Take, for example, the classic "shandy," equal parts beer and ginger beer, or the Mexican michelada made with beer, lime juice, hot sauce, and sometimes tequila. Bartenders love to take classic combinations like these and add their own epicurean spins. At Rye, co-owners Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren came up with Michelada rendition called the Tijuana Brass made with a can of Tecate, a splash of mezcal, fresh-squeezed lime and jalapeño syrup. "This is a great warm weather drink," says Lindgren. "So it goes up on our chalkboard as a special when we get some reliably warmer days like right now." 

Make it at home by subbing in a spoonful of sugar and a dash of Tapatío or Tabasco for the jalapeño syrup. Lindgren says you should aim for a combination of flavors that's "salty/spicy/savory and sometimes sweet." Or if that sounds like too much for the weekend ahead, sip one one of these beer cocktails we've noticed around town. A nice antidote to the Indian summer blitz, all of them are served in a cool, tall glass filled to the brim with ice. 

At Mr. Lew's Win-Win Bar the bartenders fly through Bitter Bucks on hot days. A "buck" is another word for a "mule," or a cocktail made with ginger beer and citrus. Here the drink gets miles of depth with bourbon, lemon, and angostura bitters. 

On the new cocktail menu at Dosa on Fillmore is the Mood Indigo made with the proprietary Dosa Blade gin, homemade grenadine, muddled fresh blueberries and ginger beer. 

25 Lusk also serves a refreshing take on the classic Mexican michelada at brunch. For his "Jean-Michel-Lada," bar manager Ross Wheatley rims a pint glass with cool cucumber salt, then fills it up with Pilsner beer spiked wtih a shot of tequila, lime juice and a habanero tincture. Each gulp is tart, salty, cool and hot at once, for an overall effect that's utterly refreshing. 

The Wilson's spin on the Dark and Stormy is called the Black Mask, layering ginger beer with lillet blanc, grapefruit juice, and a bright orange-colored float of Ron Zacapa rum and vanilla angostura.  Served in a tall glass filled with perfectly formed crushed ice, the drink looks and tastes like a relaxing summer sunset. 

Have a cooling beer cocktail to add to the list? Do tell in the comments.