Weird beer. Off-the-wall cocktails. Oddball drinks. Is that a thing? It should be.
Not long ago, the hazy IPA was considered a mind-melting concoction. Putting nonstandard liquor into established cocktails would be blasphemy. And frozen beer? Beer slushies? Beer coming out of machines reserved for the 7-Eleven – or in our case, the Kwik-Trip?
More and more drinks are getting creative, wacky, and weird. Here, we’ve rounded up a few options that you might need a nudging to try. And if you take a walk around Rochester, you can find plenty of innovative drink options using oddball ingredients, mashed-up styles and – yes – those slushy machines. In fact, we seem to be ground zero for the frozen beer trend that’s hit this year.
Case in point:
Forager Brewery Icee Pops
The latest thing to take over Forager this summer is Icee beer. And it’s amazing. Some will turn up their nose at it, but those same people hate hazy and milkshake IPAs. And you know what? You can be all aboard the haze train and still have a heck of a time riding the lager caboose. Basically, they took the push-pop beers you usually see on the menu – fruity, sweet, often marshmallow-injected beers with low ABV (thank you) – and turned them into slushies. Sure, they’re a little pricey for what they are, but the next best beer slushie you can get is at Fair State Brewing Co. It’s worth comboing these with a Forager pizza – I recommend one made with smoked gouda, fresh mozzarella, sausage, artichoke and fresh mushroom blend, and herb oil (you can thank my wife for that suggestion).
The Half Barrel’s Smoked Old Fashioned
I did not grow up with the idea of a fruity, classic Old Fashioned having smoke flavors. I love smokiness in beer, meat, and really anything I can get into my maw, but it’s not something that makes me think Old Fashioned. But you know what? It works! It adds just a little bit more depth to a drink that is a common one, but doesn’t lose the heritage, the lifeblood – the identity.
Canadian Honker Cucumber Mint Julep
Maybe it’s just me, but this flavor duo is surprising. Mint–love it. Cucumbers aren’t my favorite, but I like mixing them with other foods. However, juleps are meant to be sweet, and adding cucumber to the mint-and-sugar party didn’t track for me. But, like the Thesis Brewing Co. sour made with Pearson Farms cucumbers (the first beer to run dry on tap handles at Thesis and one that would make this list if the tap hadn’t run dry), it just works. Even if I have to take time to wrap my head around it before every order.
The Loop Pineapple Mule
Yeah, so, this doesn’t make sense to my brain when I think about mules – usually fiery, ginger-and-lime-infused drinks. Why is The Loop’s version pineapple? Why is there – goodness, why is there coconut? And why is every ginger beer in town of the Cock‘N Bull variety? Anyway, this is another surprising selection. But it works, and I say that without shame. Bonus points for not suiting up and following what came before!