Top 5 Beer Cocktails to Drink Now

By Virginia Miller  |  August 27, 2014
Credit: Virginia Miller

Beer. Cocktails. Two very good things. Together they can be effervescent magic, as these five beer cocktails from five talented bartenders prove. Drink up.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Blackbird's Dirty Black Summer

    Fernet and... Miller High Life? You heard right. Bar manager Matt Grippo's new guilty pleasure cocktail ($8) on Blackbird's latest menu is a combo of Mexican Fernet Vallet, lime, coriander and a healthy splash of Miller High Life, with an accompanying mini-bottle to down or top off the cocktail, as the case may be. It goes down so light and easy, with Fernet's bitter bite softened by the joys of cheap beer.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Jack's Oyster Bar & Fish House's Sunset Flip

    We recently filled you in on recommended eats at this just-opened, waterside newcomer in Oakland's Jack London Square. General Manager Lori Theis and Bar Manager Antoine Nixon created a menu that keeps up with Bay breezes. Not unlike Shakewell's Summer Berry Flip, Jack's Sunset Flip ($11) is a standout made creamy with a whole egg, taking a classic-style cocktail yet keeping it refreshing with Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Berkeley-based Shrub & Co. Apple Shrub, lemon juice and Peak Organic's Fresh Cut Pilsner beer.

    336 Water St., 510-271-7952

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    The Thomas' Summer Shandy 

    When up in Napa, we crave cocktails as much as wine. One of downtown Napa's best stops for cocktails is The Thomas, idyllic with that dreamy rooftop bar. Their Summer Shandy ($12) is a beaut. Zubrówka vodka and the sweet citrus-vanilla notes of Spanish Licor 43 are tempered by a tart green apple shrub and lemon, topped off with local Carneros Brewing Co.'s Jefeweizen beer.

    813 Main St., Napa; 707-226-7821

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Ramen Shop's Double Barrel Fizz

    We recently told you how much we love Illustrator and bar manager Chris Lane's new menu at Ramen Shop in Rockridge. Well, his current beer cocktail is one of the greats on the menu, Double Barrel Fizz. We're crazy about the cherry gastrique and rye whiskey combo. Just enough cherry vinegar and lemon bite with cinnamon and rye spice, rounded out Rodenbach Grand Cru beer. YES.

    5812 College Ave.; 510-788-6370

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Padrecito's El Dorado

    Along with some of the best modern Mexican cuisine in town (and a killer Friday-Sunday brunch), Padrecito's bar manager David Ruiz turns out top notch cocktails, heavy on the agave spirits. But we're loving one of his new menu additions featuring a rye whiskey base, El Dorado ($11). It's bright with vinegar and tropical fruit from a pineapple shrub, apricot brandy, lemon, orange bitters, and... here comes the beer... a zippy IPA, garnished with a sprig of rosemary.

    901 Cole St.; 415-742-5505