Beerman for Dec. 27, 2012

Cork-top beer - the NYE champagne alternative

For Weekly SurgeDecember 21, 2012 

A new year calls for a popping cork, but you might not be crazy about champagne.

Maybe, if given the choice, you’d prefer beer instead, but somehow the pull top on a can of Miller Lite doesn’t seem festive enough. In our lives as in “King of the Hill,” an opening can is a familiar sound. Popping a cork probably isn’t.

I have the solution. For you, I have compiled a list of good beers in corked bottles. You can pop the cork to celebrate the arrival of 2013 – and our survival of the Mayan calendar – and still enjoy what pours from the bottle.

This list does not include every corked beer available on the Grand Strand. For this list, I chose beers that are (more or less) lighter in color and body – somewhat likened to champagne, in keeping with the occasion. That makes my list a little biased toward a style of beer born in Belgium called a tripel. It’s beer, so it won’t be as light and bubbly as champagne, but it will make a great toast.

Other corked beers include dubbels, another Belgian style that’s darker. Generally, I have not included those on my list. They’re not as close to champagne.

Each of the following beers is distributed locally; prices vary. Look for these at the neighborhood grocer and discount beverage store – but remember the corks are only in the larger size bottles, usually labeled with contents of either 1 pint and 9.4 ounces or 750 milliliters. Some of these are also available in smaller bottles with caps.

The $5–$10 RANGE

Allagash Tripel Reserve

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Hennepin Farmhouse Saisson Ale

North Coast Pranqster Belgian Style Golden

Saint Bernardus Tripel Watou

Stella Artois

Victory Golden Monkey Tripel

THE $10–$20 RANGE

Allagash Curieux

Delirium Tremens

Duvel Belgian Golden Ale

Kasteel Rougue

Maredsous 10 Tripel

Ovila Belgian Style Golden

Beer cocktails

Here’s a fresh angle on holiday booze: cocktails made with beer.

Let’s call them beertails.

I always associate a beertail called Hop, Skip, and Go Naked with North Myrtle Beach.

Many, many years ago, a friend and I came down to the Grand Strand to gawk at girls and drink. We stayed in a North Myrtle Beach hotel, where we tried a beverage we never had before.

That particular recipe for Hop, Skip, and Go Naked – I’ve heard of slight variations – involved a six-pack of beer, a fifth of vodka, and a can of frozen limeade concentrate. Throw the ingredients into some kind of container, wait for the limeade concentrate to melt, and drink until you’re tempted to go naked.

Hop, Skip, and Go Naked might not be a bad New Year’s Eve party beverage, but other beertails are a tad more sophisticated. has a few, including the Beggar’s Banquet contributed by Aisha Sharpe.

To make the Beggar’s Banquet, you’ll need:

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

0.25 ounces of fresh lemon juice

0.75 ounces of maple syrup

2 ounces of Maker’s Mark Bourbon

Old Speckled Hen Beer, a popular brew from England.

“Add all the ingredients, except the beer, to a shaker and fill with ice,” Sharpe writes. “Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with beer and garnish with an orange half-wheel.”

And there’s more. Last month, published a list of five beertails from Ryan Travers, the bar manager at Of Love & Regret Pub & Provisions in Baltimore, Md.

Take a look at Travers’ recipe for Hop Tub Gin. You’ll need:

2 ounces fruity gin (not dry gin)

3 ounces tonic water

A quarter of a lime

3 ounces India Pale Ale (IPA)

“Combine the gin and tonic water, squeeze in and add the lime, then top with the IPA,” writes Travers.

Last summer, Slate magazine dug up a recipe for the Orange Blastaphon from

An Orange Blastaphon is three-parts crystal weiss beer, one part gin, and one part Fresca or Wink or Squirt.

That sounds like a New Year’s Eve party to me.

Contact Colin Burch at and visit his blog at

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