Essential Pittsburgh
4:49 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Summer Brews and Beer Cocktails from Hal B. Klein

Wheat beers and lagers are the best brews to mix for summer beer cocktails
Wheat beers and lagers are the best brews to mix for summer beer cocktails
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Full of ideas for refreshing summer drinks, Hal B. Klein suggests some of his favorite brews and beer cocktails including a number of drinks foreign to most Pittsburghers.  What makes for a good brew this season? For beer lovers, Klein recommends lagers such as the Brooklyn Lager or lagers brewed nearby at Penn Brewery.  Lagers are unique because they are fermented at a lower temperature, are lighter in alcohol and tend to be more crisp and refreshing.  But wheat beers, such as those found at East End Brewery, also provide a fun summer flavor, especially when adding a slice of orange or other fruit.

“People should really get over that stereotype,” Klein insists in reaction to some Pittsburghers' aversion to beer with fruit, stating that many traditional drinks simply taste better with a slice of lime or orange. 

What exactly is a beer cocktail? Klein explains that a beer cocktail is made by adding a fruit flavor after the beer (wheat or lager) is made as opposed to a Lambic or fruit beer in which the fruit is added after the wheat settles, but before both the wheat and the fruit can ferment. 

Klein’s highest recommendation for beer this season is the Saison Belgium Style Farmhouse Ale.  The brew is very low in alcohol, a little sour and a little fruity. It’s made by people who “really care about they’re doing.”

Other suggestions by Klein include:

Shandy's- a mix of beer and lemonade or beer with fizzy lemonade. Very easy to replicate at home!

Michelada- the “Bloody Mary of beer drinks,” beer with lime juice, salt, tomato, hot peppers and sometimes, klamata.

Sidewalker- a drink originating in Brooklyn made of chilled apple brandy, maple syrup, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar.

Pimm’s cup (not a beer cocktail)- English summer cocktail, a gin-based herbal liquor. Many mix Pimm’s with cucumber, lemon juice and soda.

Sangria- Instead of a red wine for the summer, try a Prosecco, a sparkling white wine and add some mint, orange or rose.

Reminder from Hal: When making some of these drinks it’s not necessary to get the fanciest, most expensive beers.  Rather, make sure it’s a light, refreshing brew and enjoy!