Bring on fall with beer cocktails: Mixologist Steve Benson shares some favourites
Steve Benson (website/Twitter) has 11 years in the hospitality industry, and has filled almost every role behind the bar. A passionate mixologist, he’s been an instructor at Algonquin College and a competitive flair bartender, with more than 20 competitions to his credit. Steve also co-creates and maintains the cocktail menu at Brothers Beer Bistro, and has been a regular guest on A-Channel, Rogers and CTV.
Beer wasn’t something I had worked with very much in terms of cocktails before I started at Brothers Beer Bistro after it opened last May. Probably because there just wasn’t the right kind of variety on tap anywhere else I’ve worked.
But since the spring, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with different types, flavors and mixtures of beer, which has been incredibly eye-opening. With both of Brothers’ owners — Pat Asselin and Nick Ringette — being so well-versed in everything beer, the ideas that have been thrown around would make your head spin.
Here, we’ve managed to whittle it down to a few favorites that have made the list and seem to be winners. (I’ve had people who have never been in to the restaurant before coming by and ask for these beer-cocktails by name.)
I remember hearing about the Strawcolate when Brothers was still in the planning stages. Nick had made it with Fruli and a stout and blew peoples’ minds. And with better beer comes a better cocktail.
- ½ Fruli
- ½ DDC Peche Mortel
In a 16oz glass, pour the Fruli halfway. Then slowly pour the DDC onto a bent spoon just on top of the Fruli. (This allows you to spread out the stout and layer it on top of the Fruli.)
One of Pat’s favorite drinks is the Negroni, so there had to be something we could do with that flavor profile. The experiment started with using an IPA in place of some of the Campari, which had less than spectacular results. Next we tried replacing the gin with a healthy amount of Muskoka Summer Weiss … and the Summer Wise was born.
- ½ oz Campari
- ½ oz Red Vermouth
- 1 bottle Muskoka Summer Weiss
Add the Campari and the Red Vermouth to a flute glass. Top with Summer Weisse and garnish with an orange zest.
Pina Colada Brothers Style
At Brothers, we have this very interesting Hawaiian-style pale ale from Spearhead, which I really wanted to use in something but it didn’t quite fit. Then the Pina Colada came to mind.
So after a few tasty but disgusting-looking versions with milk and cream, Bailey’s and egg white was the one that worked. (This was for a couple of reasons: For starters, Bailey’s and egg don’t curdle in beer … and they have a much lighter flavour, allowing everything else to shine with a creamy texture.)
- ½ oz Dark Rum
- ½ oz Coconut Rum
- 2oz Spearhead
- 1 eqq white
- ¼ oz simple syrup
In a shaker (without ice), combine all ingredients and shake for 30-60 seconds or until the egg white is frothed. Add ice and shake for another 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top with Spearhead Hawaiian-Style Pale Ale.
These are a few of the beer cocktails on — or soon to be on — our list, so stop by to see what’s new. And if you’ve ever sat at the bar in front of me, you’ll know there is always something new or interesting in the works.
We’re also launching a full, fun cocktail list as I write this post, which will be in full swing when you read this. A couple hints: There are barrels, torches, smokers, small bottles sealed in wax, cereal milk and decanters filled with delicious spirit blends.
See you at the bar.
Awesome! You can find Steve Benson behind the bar of Brothers Beer Bistro at 366 Dalhousie a few times a week. Stop by for lunch, brunch, dinner, after-work drinks or a late-night treat.