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16 Surprising Cocktails That Start with Beer

Beer cocktails, or "beertails," can be riffs on classic cocktails or brand-new creations. With over a hundred different styles of beer, the options are endless!

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Do you like your drinks with a little south-of-the-border vibe? Try a kicked-up beer cocktail that’s a zesty mix of Mexican lager, lime juice and hot sauce. There are many variations, but this easy recipe is perfect for rookie mixologists. —Ian Cliffe, Milwaukee, WI

Find the best craft beer from your state.

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Sour Cherry Shandy

A shandy is beer mixed with a nonalcoholic drink like fruit juice or lemonade. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Cerveza Margaritas

Where our previous beer margarita recipe used almost entirely beer for its base, this Cerveza Margarita option goes a bit lighter and sweeter by swapping out one of those bottles of brew for a lemon-lime soda. The finished mixer is laid-back enough to drink all afternoon on the patio.
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Blackberry Beer Cocktail

Blackberries have such a cool sweetness that can blend with a surprising array of flavors, particularly citrus. In this Blackberry Beer Cocktail, the berry is wedded with lemon and combined with beer and vodka. I’d recommend a peppery farmhouse ale to give this grown-up treat a rustic complexity.
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Guinness Float

That very first sip of a Guinness is what inspired this quick and easy dessert. The rich, creamy foam that gathers on the top of a freshly poured draft made me think of vanilla ice cream. At that point, I knew I had to combine the two in a Guinness float. —James Schend, Taste of Home Deputy Editor
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Sweet Tea Boysenberry Shandy

I love an ice-cold beer on a hot summer day. I also love sweet tea, so one day I got the great idea to mix the two. Wow! It was absolutely delish. I experimented with different flavorings, and this combination was my favorite. —Kelly Williams, Forked River, New Jersey
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Hop, Skip and Go

Even when summer is over, the flavors of the warmer months don’t have to go away. This Hop, Skip and Go is made with pink lemonade for a taste of sunshine. The recipe doesn’t specify a beer, but I’d recommend a Belgian Witbier to play on those citrus flavors and add a touch of spice.
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Refreshing Beer Margaritas

While we’re on the subject of Mexican drinks, how about combining two of them and making a Beer Margarita? While most beer margarita recipes call for a simple lager, this one has a little extra kick with the citrus hop flavor of an American Pale Ale.
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Pumpkin beer cocktailFloating Kitchen

Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum

Autumn is here. Look for crunchy leaves, hayrides and…pumpkin beer. Lots of folks don’t love these festive ales, but there are people who don’t like kittens either, so let’s not worry about them. This awesome spiced Pumpkin Beertail from the Floating Kitchen blog is the perfect way to celebrate a beautiful time of year.

Here are the best pumpkin beers to sip in fall.

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Watermelon cocktailApril Golightly

Fizzy Watermelon Cocktail

This Fizzy Watermelon Cocktail from April Golightly combines one of my favorite summer fruits—watermelon—with one of my favorite things period—beer. I think the slightly tart and salty flavors of a German Gose would complement this drink perfectly.

Get more refreshing watermelon recipes here.

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Beach beer cocktailElle Talk

Life’s a Peach

Michelada meets Bellini in Life’s a Peach, a hybrid beer cocktail from blogger Elle Talk. Bright citrus and stone fruit flavors get spiced up with hot sauce and chili salt in this bright beertail, which is perfect for brunch. A lot of beers might work for to accent these flavors, and Elle lists Kolsch and IPA as options.

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Passport to paradiseAlison Deyette

Passport to Paradise

Alison Deyette teamed up with Mexican beer brand Corona Light to create Passport to Paradise. This south of the border refresher is super simple to make and combines bright, juicy orange flavors with the crisp refreshment of a light Mexican lager.

(These recipes will get you cooking with beer.)

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Black velvetTwo Hoppy Blondes

Black Velvet

The ladies of Two Hoppy Blondes suggest several tempting beer cocktails. But the simplicity of their Black Velvet beertail, with only two ingredients, is particularly intriguing, as is the rare use of a dark style like Porter in a drink like this. Try it once, and you might have a new drink for toasting on New Year’s Eve.

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Espresso beer martiniBeautiful Booze

Espresso Beer Martini

On the subject of using dark beers in cocktails, Beautiful Booze offers this Espresso Beer Martini made with Stout. The roasty flavors of the Stout will dance perfectly with the coffee liqueur, and this could make a great drink for either brunch or a late night pick-me-up.

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Raspberry witSteele House Kitchen

Raspberry Witbier Cocktail

Witbier is one of the most versatile food pairing beers, so it makes sense that it would be a versatile mixing beer as well. In this sunny Raspberry Witbier Cocktail from Steele House Kitchen, witbier lends its subtle yeast character, spice and fluffy texture to a late summer refresher.

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Gose margaritaCraft Beering

Gose Margarita

Gose is a German wheat ale that uses a partial sour fermentation to create tart flavors that are complemented by a careful addition of salt. It’s practically a cocktail by itself, but added to margarita fixings in this Gose Margarita from Craft Beering, it becomes something really special.

David Nilsen
David Nilsen is a professional beer writer and educator and book critic. He is a Certified Cicerone, and a National Book Critics Circle member. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter and a very irritable cat.