The day I am about to recount for you actually kicked off Charlotte’s Craft Beer Week at the end of March, when the best club in town, the Charlotte Beer Babes, met up for a special beer cocktail brunch.
Three female beer reps from Sierra Nevada, Bell’s, and Terrapin presented their cocktail concoctions while the fine people at Tupelo Honey Cafe served us nothing but the most delicious food.
If cocktails at Tupelo Honey Cafe sound familiar, well, yes, it seems to be something I enjoy. Here we go!
First up was a Sierra Nevada’s Ovila Abbey Saison mixed with ruby red grapefruit juice and garnished with crystallized ginger and dried mandarin oranges. If the rest of the day was going to involve beer cocktails this delightful, then the rest of the day was going to be gooooood.
To go along with their wonderful beer, Sierra Nevada always has the best stories to tell. For instance, the Ovila Abbey Saison is one of a series of beers made in collaboration with the monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, California. Sierra Nevada’s West Coast headquarters in Chico and Vina about about 20 miles apart. (Sierra Nevada’s East Coast location is roughly two hours from my home base – cue the choir of angels).
Next up was a glass of Oarsman Orange Sangria made with Bell’s Oarsman Ale and plenty of orange juice and liquor (recipe below!). Topped with an orchid, it was hard to argue against this drink as the prettiest cocktail of the day.
I suppose now is a good time to note that in the midst of all this drinking, food was arriving left and right. This was brunch, after all. From country ham and cheese wontons to fried okra to shrimp ceviche to warm pimento cheese and chips, the food was nothing short of delicious. Pictured here is the pecan-crusted goat cheese with grilled apples, sweet braised figs, and crostini. Do you hear the angels singing again?
Last but far from least was Terrpain’s Liquid Bliss mixed with a healthy dose of amaretto and topped off with whipped cream. The chocolate peanut butter porter is a must-try on its own, but the amaretto takes it to an entirely different level of bliss.
Our final beer cocktail of the day was dessert enough on its own, but I did not complain that it was served with a slice of pie. Brown butter pecan pie with dark chocolate sauce, to be precise. A sweet end to a sweet day. Cheers!
- 2 cups cold orange juice
- ½ cup orange flavored liqueur
- ¼ cup tequila
- 2 oranges, thinly sliced
- 6, 12 ounce bottles of Bell's Oarsman
- Mix the orange juice, orange liqueur, tequila, and orange slices together.
- Pour in three bottles of the beer and stir again.
- Cover the mixture and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- After the mixture has chilled, stir in the remaining three bottles of beer and serve.
Option: Add a few springs of rosemary and/or a few springs of thyme to the mixture before refrigerating.