Though ready-to-drink (RTD) canned spritzes and seltzers have been sharing the spotlight as of late, beer remains a summer staple for many American drinkers. With easy-drinking Mexican lagers especially feeling the love in the warm months — and all year round, according to the Beverage Industry’s 2020 Beer Report — it only makes sense that bartenders and hosts at home are getting creative with using these and other light, refreshing beers in bolder, stronger drinks.
Many beer lovers are familiar with shandies and radlers — easy-to-make, beer-based drinks using lagers or other light beers, and fruit juices or sodas such as lemonade.
But there’s a whole world of beer cocktails out there, ready to be enjoyed all season long. From refreshing Italian-inspired spritzes to beer-based takes on the Margarita, these nine drinks are the best for beer lovers to cool off with this summer.
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The Sfizio Spritz Recipe
This Italian-inspired cocktail combines two of summer’s favorite sippers: the Aperol Spritz and the shandy. This three-ingredient recipe, which gets its name from the Italian word for whim, is made with Sfizio — a pilsner from Fort Point Beer Co. in San Francisco — plus Aperol and amaro. The drink is built straight in the glass and is topped with an orange twist.
The Michelada Recipe
Ideal for Bloody Mary lovers looking to switch things up, this cocktail swaps vodka for lager in the classic brunch cocktail, making for a citrusy, bubbly, and easy- drinking cocktail that’s easy to make. While some variations use Clamato, tomato, or Worcestershire sauce in their recipes, this recipe keeps things simple, using just hot sauce, lager, salt, and a squeeze of lime.
Tired of bottomless Mimosas at brunch? The Brass Monkey is the beer world’s answer to the Prosecco-based cocktail — calling for OJ, wheat beer, and Angostura bitters. The resulting beverage is endlessly satisfying and pairs as well with French toast as it does with poolside lounging.
A beer-based cocktail fit for a crowd, this three-ingredient concoction calls for pilsner, ginger ale, and pineapple juice for a fresh and balanced sipper that’s designed for batching in bulk. Simply combine all three ingredients in a pitcher, and serve over ice with a pineapple wedge garnish. Oklahoma blogger Miss in the Kitchen recommends Dos Equis Mexican lager in her recipe, but Corona will work great, too.
Bourbon and Honey Beer Cocktail
As its name suggests, this Southern-inspired cocktail is made with bourbon, honey, and lager. To create this bittersweet libation, add all ingredients except lager to a cocktail shaker — along with lemon juice, bitters, and ice. Shake vigorously until the honey dissolves, and serve in pint glasses. Top with beer, and garnish with a lemon twist for added aroma.
This St. Patty’s Day staple turns an unlikely combination into a delightfully elevated cocktail worth drinking year-round. To make one, add sparkling wine to a coupe glass, and top with Guinness and crème de mûre or crème de cassis. Garnish with a brandy-soaked cherry, and enjoy.
Fresh Grapefruit Radler
While a traditional radler is made with equal parts light beer and fruit juice, this recipe developed by Maggie Hoffman calls for homemade grapefruit soda. Made with grapefruit, lemon, sugar, and sparkling water, the grapefruit soda brings in a bright bitterness and refreshing bubbles for a drink that’s sure to become a new summer staple.
Beerita (Beer Margarita)
Looking to beat the summer heat? A Beerita adds thirst-quenching lager or IPA to America’s favorite cocktail for a drink ideal for taco night. Recipe developer Sonja Overhiser suggests adding tequila, triple sec, and lime juice together with the cold beer of your choice, and garnish with a lime wheel.
Red Beer (Red Eye)
A Midwest specialty, Red Beer is a simple combination of light beer and tomato juice. Even simpler to concoct than a Michelada and lower in alcohol than a Bloody Mary, Red Beer is an ideal lazy day sipper for tailgates and beach days.