When bartender Jacob Grier sees a bottle of farmhouse saison or hoppy Oregon IPA, he doesn’t just see a beer—he sees the beginning of a beautiful cocktail. “Beer is a cocktail ingredient like any other. It adds effervescence to a drink, and floral and bitter hop notes,” he says. “I like playing with things that are underrated—or just weird.” The roving local bartender/writer has a knack for sharing his passions: he cofounded Brewing Up Cocktails,* a series of increasingly wild beer cocktail–making events around town, in 2010, and by 2012 he’d popularized the infamous bone luge** at Metrovino. Soon after, he spearheaded the city’s annual Aquavit Week. Nowadays he spends most evenings behind the bar at Multnomah Whiskey Library, and in March he released Cocktails on Tap, an engaging history and recipe compendium of sudsy mixology.
As affable and inquisitive as its creator, the book ping-pongs from arcane, centuries-old recipes like eggnoggy curdled-cream-and-ale possets to contemporary beer cocktails gathered from bar pros around the country. A Breakside Brewery IPA, for instance, lends froth and bitter tang to a tiki classic or cuts the cachaça sweetness of a Brazilian “Caip-beer-ihna,” while Mexican lager branches out from the michelada to mingle with serrano-infused mescal and pineapple shrub. The takeaway is clear: it’s time to liberate beer from its bottle.
*Grier’s fellow conspirators? The New School beer blogger/beer fest creator Ezra Johnson-Greenough and Hop & Vine bottle shop owner Yetta Vorobik
**Sipping a shot of top-shelf tequila, sherry, or other booze down the central channel of an umami-rich marrow bone
The Portland Rickey
Grier first concocted this bright take on the citrusy gin standby, funked up with a hoppy-yeasty punch of saison and the herbal essence of Chartreuse, for a national contest at the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail gathering. He won; now the complex thirst quencher is one of his go-to beer cocktails.
Combine 1½ oz gin, ¾ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and ¼ oz green Chartreuse in a highball glass over ice. Add 4 oz saison. (Grier loves Upright Brewing’s Five.) Stir gently to combine. Drop one of the squeezed lemon halves into the drink for garnish.