January 29, 2011 (Day 364) — Jayhawker
I love Lawrence, Kansas. That’s never been much of a secret. I lived there for several years while I went to school, then again for a while while I worked at the local newspaper. Aside from Dodge City, I truly think of Lawrence as my hometown. There doesn’t a week go by where my wife and I look at each other and say “Man, don’t you miss Lawrence?”
Don’t get me wrong. We love Dodge City, despite what people may say, it truly is a great place to live. It’s a little rough around the edges, sure, but it truly is our hometown. But Lawrence is one hell of a city on the edge of Kansas. We really, really love it.
So, naturally, we also really, really love Free State Brewery. If you ever find yourself visiting the University of Kansas, be sure you swing down by Mass Street and visit Free State Brewery. Some of the best goddamned food AND beer you can find in the entire state. Just be prepared to wait, because no matter what day of the week you would go, there would be a line. It’s that good, and so much a local institution.
So, you have to imagine my… excitement, my giddiness, when I learned that Free State had received approval to start bottling AND distributing their famous brews across the state. Even more so when I discovered that they had made the trek out to little ol’ Dodge City, KS.
Naturally, I had to create a beertail. Few things are more difficult than to create a beertail that is actually pleasant to drink. Speaking with those of us in the Mixology field, some would even go so far as to call it one of the most challenging cocktails one can make. And it’s true. How to create a perfectly balanced cocktail using beer, which stands so amazingly well in and of itself?
I love a challenge. So, I headed into the Cocktails, 365 top-secret test kitchen (the kitchen in my house) and began playing around with flavors. I won’t bore you with the failures, just rest assured that there were several. This is why beertails are tough. Balance, balance, balance. Here’s what I eventually came up with, which is infinitely sippable, and frighteningly strong.
3 oz Most Wanted Pioneer Whiskey
.5 oz sweet vermouth
16 oz bottle of Freestate Ad Astra Ale
Combine the ingredients in a pint glass, mix the liquors, and then top with the beer and some ice cubes.
Truly well-balanced, if I do say so myself. The Ad Astra Ale is unbelievably delicious in and of itself, so don’t think that I’m trying to improve on something that’s already excellent. It’s just a challenge to try and create something excellent from the basis of one of the most complex flavors out there — any time of beer.
It’s a little bit sweet, but has that nice hoppy taste from the beer. Just be very, very careful as this is very powerful. Seriously.