The Session #88: Traditional Beer Mixes

The SessionThe first Friday of the month means it’s time again for beer bloggers to participate in The Session, a monthly group exercise where everyone writes about a common theme or topic. This month our theme comes from Boak and Bailey who provide us a most interesting suggestion: Traditional Beer Mixes.

The topic we’ve chosen is traditional beer mixes.

In his 1976 book Beer and Skittles early beer writer Richard Boston lists several:

  • Lightplater – bitter and light ale.
  • Mother-in-law — old and bitter.
  • Granny — old and mild.
  • Boilermaker — brown and mild.
  • Blacksmith –stout and barley wine.
  • Half-and-half – bitter and stout, or bitter and mild.

We’d like you to drink one or more from that list and write about it on Friday 6 June… and that’s it.

We’re deliberately aiming for something broad and accessible, but there is one rule — no ‘beer cocktails’! It’s been done, for starters. So, mix two beers, not four; and steer clear of syrups, spirits, flavourings and crushed ice.

I don’t even have anything pithy or topical to write; I’m familiar with beer mixes—the simplest being the Black and Tan, of course—but frankly it’s not something I’ve bothered with much. I remember once at Kelly’s Olympian in Portland many, many years ago I had a variation of the B&T featuring Guinness and Pyramid Apricot Ale which wasn’t bad at all.

Kentucky Cooper - mix of Kentucky Kolsch and Coopers Best StoutSo I looked at what I had on hand, and decided to mix up equal parts of Kentucky Kölsch (from Alltech’s Lexington Brewing) and Coopers Best Extra Stout. Each beer is a good beer on its own, but mixing the two I decided to dub the result a Kentucky Cooper. Here are my notes about it:

Light bodied, sparkling dry roast that’s pretty much exactly what I’d expect such a blend to yield. It’s easy to drink and feels almost sessionable. Actually, the more I drink and think about it, it reminds me of a Schwarzbier, light, roasty and super drinkable. Not quite the actual lager experience of course—there’s too much “ale” here with the ale characteristics to go full Schwarz. This is definitely something one could drink as a session black ale.

I definitely enjoyed the experiment and the drink. The only problem really was, since it wasn’t a mix I could make on tap… I ended up drinking two beers. Not the worst problem in the world!