No doubt we can drink craft beer again and again and not get tired of it.
Alas, in times like these, it’s worth having some fun with our favorite beverage.
Below you’ll find nine experiments you can do with craft beer. Some will be winning experiences and others, not so much – but no matter what, you can have fun with them and experience craft beer in a new way.
Craft Beer Infusions
You don’t need a massive hop rocket to infuse your beer. Just grab yourself a french press and start to experiment with a beer and hops, coffee beans or your favorite foods!
I had a french press once, and being forward, I used it for beer far more frequently than I did for coffee. My favorite beer infusion was a stout from Untitled Art with Golden Grahams cereal. You can have a ton of fun infusing beer with different cereals, sweets and miscellaneous food items.
Side note because coffee beer was on my mind: Kate gives you a quick short read about how much caffeine is actually in all those delicious coffee beers. In short, not much. Just enough for brewers to hit the flavor notes they’re after. Which actually leads me perfectly into my next experiment.
Blend Craft Beers
Though you can blend a craft beer with some freshly brewed coffee, I always enjoy the art of blending one beer with another; adding one beer into a glass with another little by little and tasting the difference as the ratio changes.
What does a cream ale blended with a hefeweizen taste like? Or how about blending a couple of Brewing Projekt’s Puff Tart variants together for a cornucopia of fruit flavors? Or the classic Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Porter blend?
Go With A Garnish
Personally, if I’m trying to appreciate a beer, I never put a garnish on it. But if I’m playing around with different aromatics and flavors for the heck of it, then I’m all about dazzling the rim of the beer glass from salt to obnoxious bloody-marry-like garnish combination.
Consider sticking a toothpick into a marshmallow and dropping a stick of graham cracker into your stout. Try slicing a wedge into a Swedish Fish and placing it on the rim of your fruited sour beer. Or, my twist on the classic lemon peel garnish is to light a matchstick under the peel of a lemon and give the bitter peel a little char before garnishing – it really brings a dynamic aroma to a hefeweizen.
The next brewery you go to, buy a flight of beers, but drink them blindly. Let the beertender know that they can surprise you with beers or simply place your order but ask them to mix up how they present them to you. Either way, remember to get a list from them so you can check your guesses for which beer is which.
Pro-tip is to bring a friend with you that can do the ordering and keep track of which beer is which. You’ll have fun trying to guess the brews and they’ll have fun watching you struggle (and succeed… I hope).
Seek Out Fun Cans
The world of brewing beer is as subject to gimmicks as the next. As a smart consumer of craft beer, it works in our favor. While you may be distracted by glitter beers and quadruple IPAs, don’t forget that the cans the beers come in can be a source of fun, too.
Figure out how to get your hands on Abomz World. The back of the can is exactly like a cereal box. The one I got had me try to find the hop that was unlike the others. (The beer is also delicious, so there’s that.) Or grab some canned beer from Ale Asylum and rip the label off. I won’t say which beer of theirs it is, but there’s a special message beneath the label for the curious beer drinker.
If you’re a crazy person like my wife who loves eating chili even in the heat of the summer, go ahead and drop a cold one into yours.
My recommendation is to go with a spiced stout like Oliphant’s Supertalentfragilistec or go with a unique brew like Voodoo Brewing’s White Magick of the Sun. The coriander, bitter orange people, juniper and Jeremy’s favorite mystery spice is just what your chili needs to level up.
Note: Beware adding any beers that are bitter to chili (mainly those high IBU, westcoast styles). The bitterness leaches quite strongly.
Beer From The Freezer
I’m cringing writing this, but given the weather we’re experiencing here in Madison, Wisconsin, you COULD make beersicles. If you’re doing it for fun, by all means go for it, but don’t expect some remarkable tasting experience as the temperature of the popsicle is freezing your taste buds from fully experiencing the flavor.
I’ve found juicy IPAs and overly fruited sour beers to make the best popsicles. Feel free to blend with a little almond milk for more of an ice cream-like texture.
Take day drinking to a new mature and marathon-like level by finding a beer to pair with every meal of your day. Is that double IPA a better pairing for your breakfast or your lunch? Is that kriek better with dessert or snack time?
Too easy of a challenge for you? Then consider how you can integrate beer into the ingredient list of every meal in your day. May I suggest to start with some delicious beer-battered french toast with a Carnal Knowledge beer from Tyranena?
Have other ideas for experimenting with craft beer? I’m all ears, eyes and taste buds.