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July 21, 2009

Introducing Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays

lemon + truck + beerLadies and gentlemen, I'd like you to give a warm round of applause to Owl Meat Gravy, who, for the forseeable future, will be writing a weekly column called Tipsy Tuesdays.

You may remember him from such columns as Funtastic Thursdays and various guest blogs while I was away. Now, please put your hands together, for OMG!

I don't like fruit in my beer. I don't want to taste a raspberry wheat beer, a peach ale or a prune IPA. Of course a lemon slice in a good wheat beer is fine, so I'm not exactly a purist. That brings us to today's topic – shandies.

A shandy is beer with ginger ale, ginger beer, lemonade, or other soft drink. It was originally called a shandygaff in England. There is a long tradition of mixing beer with fruit and other things there ...

A Lamb's Wool is made with hot ale, apple pulp, and spices whipped to give it a frothy pulpy head. Did I mention that it was hot? Shakespeare alluded to it in Midsummer Night's Dream.

A shandy sounds like something that might be refreshing in summer, so I decided to experiment. I used Clipper City Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale (pictured), which is very hoppy, heavy, and high in alcohol (7.25 percent).  A good shandy would have to retain the complex flavor but lighten up the body and lower the alcohol. I mixed the soft drinks half and half with the beer. 
Lemonade – Very good. Retains a lot of the hop taste. Complex and refreshing.
Sour mix and water (fake-anade) – Sour mix dominates in a bad way.
clipper city loose cannonGinger ale – Very good. The hot herbal scent and taste of the ginger combines with
the hops to create something like ginger beer.
Red Bull – The smell is nauseating. Tastes horrible. Followed by nausea and sneezing.
White Zinfandel – Smells like nothing. Tastes like bitter bad wine.
Coke – Smells like Coke. Tastes like very hoppy coke, which isn't a bad thing.
The following were 3:1 mixtures.
Sloe gin – Smells like Jolly Rancher candy. Tastes neither like sloe gin nor beer. It lingers in the back of your throat like cleaning fluid. It has a vile woody taste, like hoppy drain cleaner or varnish remover. Possibly the most disgusting flavor ever.
Sweet vermouth – Smells like hoppy vermouth. Tastes weird but intriguing. The herbs in Vermouth complement the hops. Leaves a nice bitter herb aftertaste like grilled arugula or radicchio.
Cranberry juice – Smells like fruity hoppy beer. The 1:1 mixture tastes like cranberry juice. The 3:1 mixture tastes like bad beer. Total failure.
Anisette – Smells like anisette. Tastes like beery anisette. Disgusting.
I took notes as I tasted these and I'm glad that I did. Tasting a variety of experiments even in small quantities leads to a bleary kind of drunkenness that isn't conducive to memory. Even still, the memory of the beer and sloe gin is seared into my brain like some kind of prison camp abuse.
To summarize: The lemonade, ginger ale and Coke were all good. The sweet vermouth was also excellent, but it's not a shandy. Try your own as the summer slinks into August. If your friends mock you, tell them T-Pain drinks beaucoup shandies when he's on a boat
Have you tried anything like this? Come on, you can tell us. I won't mock you. After one experiment, I said to Misha the bartender, "Oh God, sloe gin and beer is disgusting."  A complete stranger sitting near me said, "Well that's because you're an idiot." 

Yes I am.

(Top photo by Getty Images. Bottom photo courtesy of Clipper City)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:44 AM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays


You're a braver soul than I.
I also abhor fruit in my beer, barring the sacred Magic Hat #9- it's Vermont goodness!
And could that comment from a stranger BE any more Baltimore?

Steel Reserve(2009) and Orange Juice...delicious

Thanks Sam. You forgot my work on telethons such as Let's Save Tony Orlando's House.

I would like to add that some of the weirder combos were a kind of torture by the bartender. Not willing to admit my fear, I tried each and every one. You never know.

I would say that if you want to play a mean trick on someone, get them a hoppy beer and sloe gin shot (3:1). It smells really good but the lingering effect in your mouth is sickening. And that shooter is hereby called a Frenemy. Slainte.

Which bar was this?

I want to go hang out with the guy you refer to at the end of this story...

We just had some Magic Hat Wacko beer. It's got beet juice in it. I don't like beets very much. They taste like dirt.

I should mention that I ONLY like Magic Hat's #9. I haven't liked any of the others I've tried.f

baltimoregirl, it's much better than #8.


In England you can buy shandy pre-mixed in a can. It's fairly refreshing - maybe better for a post-lawn-mowing drink than the standard light beers (or at least more honest about it).
On the lemonade, remember also that in England 'lemonade' really means something more like Sprite, but less sweet. You can usually find similar stuff in 'international/gourmet' type food stores. (Speaking of English cocktails, it's also important for mixing with Pimm's. Give it to your favorite underaged college/HS girl.)
Another memorable and fruity cocktail that was popular at university bars when I spent time in England was "Snakebite Black", made with lager, hard cider, and blackcurrant juice - I never tried one but I can only imagine how sweet that tasted...

LOL, Brad.

Every time you drink a shandy a beer snob cries a little. I'll be trying beer and root beer tonight and toasting you Brad. In Shandytown nobody can hear you scream.

No such thing as a beer snob! I mean... it's beer, not wine.

And I can't hate, I sometimes enjoy an ice cream float mixed with a high ABV % chocolate imperial stout. Soo good.

what about an ice cream float mixed with natty boh? now that's a shandy worth celebrating!

Welcome back bro.

I used to drink snake bites, which I knew as Guinness and hard cider. You need to find a place that has both on tap. It's very refreshing for brunch. Ah, back in the days when I could drink in the morning because it was "brunch". No more.

My college roommate used to drink cheap champagne and stout. It was pretty good because he used the very dry cava Freixenet. You forget that you're drinking 9% alcohol like beer and all of sudden you're making bad choices.

Try it with Sprite/7up. Actually how it's typically done in England & Ireland these days...they call those sodas lemonade after all

what about an ice cream float mixed with natty boh?

Somebody told me that they got an ice cream float (without knowing what it was) at Ale Mary's that was ice in a glass of Guinness. I sent the owner an email to confirm this when I started thinking about this topic two months ago, but I never got a response. Snooze you lose Ale Mary's

I was quite astonished by your lemonade when I emigrated to the States. I must say, it is one thing that you Colonials do well. And corn dogs on a skewer. Delightful.

Leinenkugel(sp?) has a summer seasonal shandy made with lemonade.

Do you think they'll let you post your Tipsy Tuesdays from rehab? :-P

The ultimate neurotic chick drink: Diet Coke and Mich Ultra

Guinness and Champagne= Black Velvet
Guinness and Cider= Poor Mans Black Velvet

The Snakebite is lager and cider

I have always thought all three were delicious

Thanks Jason. I forgot the names. We used to drink, ugh what's that stuff called, oh yeah, Yukon Jack with a splash of seltzer in a rocks glass that you banged on the bar to make it fizz and then shoot it. We called that a snake bite too,

I'm not much of a beer dirnker but if the Sun ever comes out again I may ask Jesus (the pool boy) to whip up a shandy or two.

My friend Klaus drinks OJ and beer for breakfast and swears it's something they do in Germany

TerrierGirl, maybe try it with one of the weissbier.

That's white beer.

A WHITE BEAR! Very well. Have I ever seen one? Might I ever have seen one? Am I ever to see one? Ought I ever to see one? Or can I ever see one?

Would I had seen a white bear! (for how can I imagine it?)

If I should see a white bear, what should I say? If I should never see a white bear, what then?

If I never have, can, must or shall see a white bear alive; have I ever seen the skin of one? Did I ever see one painted? -described? Have I ever dreamed of one?

Did my father, mother, brothers or sisters, ever see a white bear? What would they give? How would they behave? How would the white bear have behaved? Is he wild? Tame? Terrible? Rough? Smooth?

-Is the white bear worth seeing?-
-Is there no sin in it?-
-Is it better than a BLACK ONE?

Zig, I'm more a fan of OE+OJ, but you got it! I contend the most famous American shandy is the Brass Monkey, we even have a bar named after it.

Guiness + Blueberry Ale = Black n Blue

I guess a Michelada is not really a shandy, but it is a beer cocktail. We had one down in Texas and boy was it tasty. It's like a Bloody Mary, but with beer. So it would be mixing the beer with the other bloody mary ingredients.

Oh. White beer.


You can get a snakebite at J. Patrick's in Locust Point. They have hard cider and Guiness both on tap. And they have Pimms!!

Nothing finer after a day making hay in the hot sun than stopping in at the Bag o'Nails for a shandy with cornish pasties.

Ooooo... Pimm's ... delightful. Pimm's and soda with long slice of cucumber is divine. Good luck finding an establishment that will fit you out with a cukie.

The radical moisture is nothing in the world but ditch-water -- and the radical heat, of those who can go to the expense of it, is burnt brandy -- the radical heat and moisture of a private man, an' please your honors, is nothing but ditch-water -- and a dram of geneva -- and give us but enough of it, with a pipe of tobacco, to give us the spirits, and drive away the vapours -- we know not what it is to fear death.

Bandaloops would always serve Pimm's properly, but that's ancient history.

Is someone trying to shame me into reading or at least looking at the copy of Tristram Shandy that I've had since college? It won't work.

Beer and orange juice, the cheaper the beer the better.

That's a Trailor Park mimosa.

You're welcome.

It is the nature of an hypothesis, when once a man has conceived it, that it assimilates every thing to itself as proper nourishment; and, from the first moment of your begetting it, it generally grows the stronger by every thing you see, hear, read, or understand.

You're evil, Tristram

When a man is telling a story in the strange way I do mine, he is obliged continually to be going backwards and forwards to keep all tight together in the reader's fancy.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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