Good or Evil?: Beer Cocktails

You’re probably going to be reading a lot in the near future about the growing trend of beer cocktails. I admit, when I first considered the idea of mixing booze and beer, I didn’t think it was a good one. But then about two years ago, I tried Standard Tap brunch bartender Shane’s Kensington 75, which pairs dark cider with dry gin, a salted Maraschino cherry, and fresh lemon. Mmm mmm good.

Now, Fairmount’s London Grill has gone crazy, launching a full-on beer cocktail list. Some examples: the Flower Bud (Budweiser, crème de violette, and St. Germaine elderberry liqueur); the London Shandy (Fuller’s ESB, Canton’s ginger liquor, lemon juice); Smoke ’Em If You Got ’Em (Victory Prima Pils, mezcal, chipolte vodka, and lime with a salted rim); and the Philly Fairmount Hibiscus (PBC’s Kenzinger, Yard’s ESA, and house-infused hibiscus tequila).

I haven’t made it to the London yet to try them for myself, and I haven’t even been able to find one person who’s actually had a sip. But, in the course of a few nights out on the town, I did strike up some conversations about the beer cocktails, and the immediate reaction of most beer-lovers is horror. Noble/APO uber-barman Christian shook his head at the concept, and though he did say, “Well, it’s not for me, but if you enjoy it …,” I believe he secretly lost all respect for me when I brought up the subject. And at the aforementioned Standard Tap, bartender Ron Johnson and a Yard’s employee ganged up on me, going on and on about the absurdity of mixing something so “pure” and “perfect” as beer with anything at all, which I find to be just plain silly.

While I have some serious hesitation with about a third of the drinks on Fairmount’s menu, the rest sound like they could work. Of course, the only thing that really matters is the taste — not what the beer intelligensia has to say. To that end, if you find yourself in the neighborhood this weekend, check out the London and let me know what you think.