How to Celebrate St. Patty’s Day and More with a Half and Half or Blend

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Most Beerwerks craft beers are meant to be enjoyed in their purest form. However, sometimes it’s fun or festive to mix things up a little. While you might not want to go the route of pouring liquor or juice or other additives to your beer, you can sometimes get a satisfying and complex taste (or look) when you mix two different styles of beer in one glass. Why not try a beer blend as an alternative to green beer this St. Patty’s Day?

Can I Just Mix Any Beer Together?

Mixed beers can taste amazing, but you often have to play around a bit to get the proportions right and keep one flavor from overpowering the mix. So, if you’re playing around with mixes at home or asking for a new flavor in the taproom, try a small pour first.

What’s a Half and Half?

Probably the most famous blended beer drink is the half and half (a.k.a. the black and tan). Half and halfs are mixed beer cocktails made from dark beers like stouts or porters poured over lighter beers like pale ales or lagers. The beers layer in the glass because of differences in densities. The differences in color between them create a cool-looking and great-tasting drink that’s often associated with Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day because Guinness stout is a common ingredient. You might know them as black and tans, but many people consider that name offensive due to the violent role British forces (nicknamed black and tans) played in oppressing Irish freedom in the 1920s. Though many Beerwerks breweries don’t have this drink on the menu, just ask if they can recommend a good pairing for your mix. And if you’d rather enjoy this tasty, layered cocktail at home, great news: they’re really easy to make.

Make One at Home

You make a half and half by layering two beers. One should be a crisp, slightly bitter pale ale or lager, and the other a dark, creamy stout (that way you’ll actually be able to see the dividing line). The dark beer will float to the top because it has a higher alcohol content and alcohol floats on water (or beer with less alcohol). 

Start by filling your pint glass halfway with the lighter beer. Next, being careful not to dash or splash your beer, pour the darker beer on top. Pouring the second beer over the back of a spoon is a good way to achieve this. Fancy bar spoons with crooks in their necks are specially designed to make this easier by hooking over the rim of the glass. 

If you should accidentally start with your darker beer, never fear: your black and tan might not achieve the impressive beer divide, but your blended drink will still taste great.

What Beers Do I Use? 

Traditional recipes call for Bass Ale and Guinness Stout, but others may be substituted. For the light beer, you’ll want something light and slightly bitter. Consider a pale ale, pale lager, or Pilsner. Any dark stout or porter should work, as long as it’s higher in alcohol.

What Beer Blends Can I Get in a Beerwerks Taproom?

  • Seven Arrows Brewing suggests a half and half using Sundog Milkstout and Spindrift Maibock, which will be freshly released. They’ll also be serving a special green version of their Skyline Lager.
  • Pale Fire Brewing Co. suggests Skinny Dennis + Red Molly or Skinny Dennis + Sweet Nuthin’.
    Skinny Dennis + Red Molly
  • Heliotrope Brewing will make you a mix using an IPA and a fruit beer.
  • Brothers Craft Brewing suggests forgoing the mix and enjoying their Galway Girl Irish stout on nitro for a smooth, creamy St. Patty’s Day libation.
  • Skipping Rock Beer Company has a new release: Irish Red Ale.
  • Redbeard Brewing Company serves a delicious “House Blend,” which is half A.M. O.G. Stout and half Blueberry Wheat. They also have one called a “Blacklight” and that is 60% Blueberry Wheat 40% Black Rye IPA.
Redbeard’s Blacklight blend