It was a dark and stormy night at the Hometown Buffet. Upon walking up to the bountiful soda fountain, you were suddenly gripped by inspiration. "What if I mixed all of the sodas together?" you thought. On that fateful evening, the suicide soft drink was born.
These days, you likely have bursts of creative frustration when faced with one of adult life's toughest choices: liquor or beer. You can't jump behind the bar and start haphazardly mixing everything together, and that's probably a good thing. Most of your youthful soda experiments probably didn't turn out that great. Thankfully, some of the city's best bartenders are artfully carrying on the experimental spirit in the form of beer cocktails. The landscape of beery mixed drinks in SF is constantly changing. Here's a few of the city's best current offerings:
Hops and Dreams
Where: Fifth Floor, 12 Fourth Street (at Market), (415) 348-1555
What: A cocktail comprised of Templeton Rye, house-made Anchor Steam syrup, Maurin Quina apertif, lemon, and angostura bitters. This drink has notes of bright citrus and oaky vanilla tempered against an earthy, cracker malt character from the beer syrup.
Pimms n' Hops
Where: Bourbon and Branch, 501 Jones St. (at Ellis), (415) 346-1735
What: A blend of Pimms, cherry heering, ginger syrup and pilsner beer. In this cocktail, the beer is used primarily for body and texture, with subtle notes of grain and grassy hops. The spicy ginger serves to cut the citrus and fruit notes of the Pimms and cherry heering.
Where: Jasper's Corner Tap, 401 Taylor Street (at O'Farrell), (415) 775-7979
What: A drink of Beefeater 24 gin, Del Maguey Vida mezcal, yellow chartreuse, coriander syrup, lemon & grapefruit juices, bitters, and Blanche de Bruxelles white beer. The flavors in the beer, which is brewed with coriander and bitter orange peel, are bolstered by the citrus juices and coriander syrup. The mezcal offers a smoky element that contrasts with the brightly acidic and floral qualities of the cocktail.