It’s happened countless time, especially at brew emporiums or breweries that don’t have a liquor license and therefore, don’t sell any hard spirits. But what are you supposed to do if you only prefer cocktails and you don’t even have any options? Well, fortunately there are numerous craft beers that mimic a lot of the tastes that you enjoy whether that’s whiskey, vodka, gin, or tequila. Sure, it’s not like having your go-to-drink, but the tastes you like in these corresponding beers are the same as your cocktail, even if you don’t realize it. So, go ahead and take a look at this list to get some ideas in your head for if you’re ever put into a situation where you have to choose a beer to drink in a social setting when there’s no liquor being served.
Ah, the world’s favorite party shot! Tequila is a very versatile liquor that can be consumed on its own, in a margarita, or some other cocktail. If it’s mixed in with other ingredients, sometimes it can be difficult to taste the tequila, especially if it’s more on the Blanco side. In fact, if a tequila is of the Reposado or Anejo variety, you shouldn’t be mixing it with anything else. It should be sipped and enjoyed, but who am I to tell you what to do?
The point is, the tastes that you can sense in the spirit are the character notes that ultimately makes you like tequila. These notes include vanilla, coffee, citrus, caramel, and woodiness. Of course, there are over 1,200 different flavor profiles, but these are the most prominent. If there’s no tequila available for you to drink, I would recommend a Belgian Tripel. You’ll see all of these prominent flavor profiles in this exquisite beer, with some additional peppery notes. It’s about as complex in flavor as any other brew, just like tequila.
One quick side note, some breweries have started barrel-aging beers in tequila barrels, so that might be an option to look out for!
There are countless varieties including ryes, scotch, single malt, bourbon, among numerous others. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to. Simply go to a whiskey or bourbon bar. The sheer number of bottles on display can be exceedingly overwhelming. Nonetheless, they all have some flavor profiles in common including corn, woodiness, honey, caramel, fruits, and vanilla. This one is perhaps the easiest one to find a corresponding beer if you’re a whiskey drinker due to massive presence of bourbon or whiskey barrel-aged porters and stouts.
At one time, several years ago, there was a massive craze and desire for these types of brews to the point that breweries upon breweries were making their own versions, some more potent than others. And they really have a whiskey taste. As someone who doesn’t prefer drinking it as my first choice, it was difficult to get through these without tasting the strong bourbon flavor in every sip. While the bourbon barrel-aged frenzy has now subsided, many bars and stores sell them continuously because they are still wildly popular. So, if you can’t get a Jack and Coke, at least you can get a beer that tastes like Jack.
There’s not really a comprehensive option for Scotch, though, as its flavor profile doesn’t match up well with beer, but some have been aged in barrels that give it somewhat of the same taste. Ask your bartender for their recommendations.
One of the most fragrant hard spirits, gin, can also be consumed straight up or in a cocktail. The main flavors that are commonly present in gin include juniper berries, coriander, cinnamon, citrus, and ginger, but as many people will attest, the main flavor that they notice was that of a piney note. This of course is due to the juniper berries. So, what beers would correspond to this liquor?
I thought you’d never ask! Pale ales, American pale ales, and India Pale ales all have a naturally piney and citrusy taste that results from the abundance of hops. Quick history lesson. Back in British Colonial days, beer was shipped from Britain to India, which was a long and arduous route. The thing about beer? It doesn’t like to stay in hot temperatures for extended periods of time. Unfortunately for the Brits in India, their beer was spoiled by the time it got to them. The solution? Add an ungodly amount of hops in the brewing process. This acted as a preservative and created what we know today as the India Pale Ale. But I digress. There are numerous varieties of hops used to make pale ales, so you might need to experiment with some that match up nicely to your favorite gin.
Sorry, but you’re on your own with this one. Most people who drink vodka state that it’s usually tasteless; however, connoisseurs claim the tastes are present, but very subtle. Either way, if you’re a vodka drinker, it might be because it’s one of the healthiest liquors and in that regard, order an American pale lager. It’ll provide you with the least calories of any beer on the market.
Should the unfortunate circumstance arrive where you’re not able to get the cocktail drink that you usually drink, here are some beers that correspond to their flavor profiles. Try to study them and their corresponding liquors so you know what to look out for on the beer menu.