Beer cocktails: new taste sensations for cocktail fans

Fruity, fresh and light: Experimental mixologists are discovering that creative beers and amber nectars can be the perfect ingredient for making cool drinks. Beer cocktails are the latest trend to hit the international bar scene.

With the arrival of spring, people are increasingly keen to enjoy refreshing, sparkling and fruity drinks in their gardens and out on their balconies and terraces. But there’s more to cocktails than eye-wateringly strong drinks mixed with rum, vodka and gin. Modern interpretations of beer cocktails are now making quite a stir as apéritifs and long drinks, and are giving the usual classics a run for their money. But these are not traditional beer-based mixed drinks – such as snakebite, shandy or wheat beer with banana juice – but rather trendy drinks for which bartenders all around the world are even creating recipes inspired by classics such as the Caipirinha, Mojito and Gin Fizz.

Beer cocktails are providing new taste sensations

As a cocktail ingredient, beer is providing mixologists with an entire host of new options to play around with. Thanks to the new beer movement and its ever-expanding range of beer types and flavor profiles, more exciting creations can now be achieved than were previously possible with beer-based mixed drinks. Unusual hops brews are now giving drinks unique and distinct characteristics and creating a wonderful structure on account of their bubbles. Mixologists such as Angelica Schwarzkopf from Barschule München – an academy for modern bartending in Munich – are now using beer instead of traditional ingredients, such as lemonade, soda or sparkling wine, to top off cocktails. What’s more, because beers have a relatively low alcohol content, light beers and completely alcohol-free versions in particular are the perfect addition to any summer cocktail. “This is a completely new way to enjoy beer,” says Max-Antonio Burger, Founder of the Veza Sur Brewing Company in Miami. Various beer cocktails are now so popular with guests at the brewpub of his brewery that they’ve even become bestsellers.

International beer cocktails are easy to make at home

In many countries, more and more pubs, bars and restaurants are putting beer-based drinks on their menus to offer guests something altogether new. But there is a long tradition of beer cocktails. Decades ago, the British started adding gin to their porter, but no one at the time ever called this a cocktail or gave such drinks flashy, interesting names. However, these days, the sky’s the limit. The latest beer cocktails have names such as Picampa, Spiced Pils, Wotijo and Bavarian Fizz and conjure up extremely unusual tastes on your palate.

Cocktail fans can even mix such creations very easily at home. There really are only two rules to bear in mind, as mixologist Angelica Schwarzkopf from Barschule München explains: “The ingredients have to work well with the beer and you must never shake the beer.” This would create a lot of pressure and probably cause the shaker to explode. If you do want to incorporate and shake wheat beer, pale ale or pilsner though, you should stir out the bubbles beforehand. Angelica recommends simply carefully adding the beer to the mixture at the last minute.

Below are three cool and refreshing beer cocktails to make at home on a hot, sunny day:


3 cl Campari

2 cl vodka

2 cl lemon juice

1 dash Angostura bitters

Top up with pilsner.


Bavarian Fizz

5 cl gin

3 cl lemon juice

2 cl sugar syrup

Top up with wheat beer.


Golden Alkno

2cl lime syrup

2 cl lemon juice

6 cl passion fruit juice

Top up with alcohol-free beer.


The recipes were kindly provided by Bayerischer Brauerbund e.V.

Mareike Hasenbeck

Mareike Hasenbeck is a freelance journalist with her own craft beer blog (Feiner Hopfen), she is also a beer sommelier and an international expert for beer sensory certified by the DLG (German Agricultural Society).