Every hardworking chap knows the sweet relief a cold beer and a strong shot can bring after a long day. Otherwise known as the boilermaker, refreshing bubbles and fortifying hard alcohol make for a duo that truly delivers.
A boilermaker’s beauty lies in its simplicity, of course, but simple doesn’t have to mean boring. While there’s nothing wrong with the classic whiskey-and-lager love affair, there’s a wide world of liquor-and-beer pairings out there, each with its own unique flavor notes, enticing aromas and punchy character, just waiting to be sipped.
We’ve asked Sam Gauthier, head bartender over at NYC’s aptly named Boilermaker bar, to come up with totally original beer-and-shot combos sure to add a little pep to your boozy two-step. So live it up while you wind it down with these seven unconventional grown-up Happy Meals. You know what they say: Liquor and beer go together like, well, liquor and beer.
“The Amaro‘s light sweetness and the bitterness balance the beer’s acidity,” Gauthier explains. “It brings out an earthy coalition between the two.” Welcome to the chill zone.
Suggested pairing: Allagash White Ale and Amaro Montenegro
“It’s basically apples and pumpernickel,” Gauthier says. Sounds like the liquid lunch of champions to us.
Suggested pairing: Downeast Unfiltered Cider and Krogstad Gamle Aquavit
This one is smooth sailing with a bit of edge. “The funky, grassiness of the rhum plays beautifully with the lager’s floral hop profile,” Gauthier reports.
Suggested pairing: Brooklyn Lager and Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole
If you’re into big, dank, resinous flavors, this cranked-up duo is tailor-made for you. “Herbaceous, bitter and balanced with a touch of sour,” Gauthier says. “It’s loud.” Proceed with caution.
Suggested pairing: Sixpoint Resin and Green Chartreuse
Looking for something sweet and spicy? Check this out. “The mezcal is smoky and salty, with just a touch of chocolate,” Gauthier explains. “The distinctive spirit sits comfortably with the lactic stout’s roasty creaminess.”
Suggested pairing: Keegan Ales Mother’s Milk Stout and Nuestra Soledad Espadin from San Luis del Rio
This malty, slow-sipping mix is a rainy-day classic. “The cognac’s dark dried fruit notes go well with the ale’s signature toasted nuttiness,” he explains.
Suggested pairing: Avery Brewing Co. Ellie’s Brown Ale and Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
If you can get your hands on a bottle, Gauthier points to genever, an almost-whiskey-like botanical Dutch spirit, as a great match for this robust, caramel-hued beer style. “The cereal grains that shine through in the genever play off the porter’s coffee notes nicely,” he says. “This is one balanced breakfast.”
Suggested pairing: Sly Fox Pughtown Porter and Bols Genever