There are few drinking traditions as sacred as ordering a beer and a shot. We’ve enjoyed the simple combination in dives, Irish pubs and even craft cocktail bars with some of the best bartenders in the world. But, of course, not every spirit works with every pint. To help you make the perfect match, we consulted with Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of The Brooklyn Brewery and editor of The Oxford Companion to Beer, to get his favorite pairings.
Genever and Pilsner
If you’re ever drinking in Amsterdam, you’ll no doubt see kopstootje on bar menus. The concoction, which means “little head-butt” in Dutch, is actually a shot of the malty gin relative genever and a beer. “The best combination is Bols Genever with a snappy pilsner such as Brooklyn Pilsner or Victory Prima Pils,” Oliver says.
Rye Whiskey and Harvest Ale
The spicy, complex flavor of rye whiskey is the ideal foil for, naturally, a complex brew. Oliver likes bartender favorite Rittenhouse Rye, which he would “follow with a snoot of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale.” The potent British barleywine is made in Manchester and will continue to develop in the bottle for years.
Tequila and Rauchbier
While many establishments pair tequila with light-bodied lagers like Tecate, Corona or Pacifico, Oliver instead prefers a dram of Casa Noble’s unaged Crystal with the dark and super-smoky Schlenkerla Rauchbier from Bamberg, Germany. It’s an unusual combo that we admit we would never have tried otherwise.
Bourbon and Imperial Stout
What could be more American than having a glass of bourbon with a beer chaser? Oliver recommends Woodford Reserve with a big, smooth imperial stout like his Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.