A "BEER COCKTAIL" just sounds like a bad idea—a potable mash-up that has no right to exist beyond the confines of a dorm room. But beer entrepreneur Ezra Johnson-Greenough insists that a merger of Portland’s craft beer and quality cocktail cultures could push the next evolution of our increasingly sophisticated drinking scene. “Innovative recipes don’t just happen by accident,” he says. “Why limit yourself?”
Johnson-Greenough is the cofounder of Brewing Up Cocktails, an ambitious group of three local spirit-savvy citizens organizing monthly tasting events at bars around town. Their aim? To hip local imbibers to the charms of wildly original beer-’n’-booze cocktails like the Forbidden Apple (Ransom Old Tom gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, applesauce, and Damnation ale from Russian River Brewing) and the Averna Stout Flip, a tasty combination of creamy stout, Averna, angostura bitters, and an egg, garnished with nutmeg. “They’re all high-quality ingredients, from the beer to the spirit to the mixer,” Johnson-Greenough says.
Adventurous tasters can look forward to BUC events at Spints Ale House and Grain & Gristle over the next few months. Meanwhile, mixology strongholds Beaker & Flask and Teardrop Lounge both regularly serve beer cocktails. “The flip (beer, rum, egg, and sugar, heated) has been around since 1695,” says Johnson-Greenough. “We’re not the first ones to put these ingredients together.” Not outside the dorm room, that is.