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Local Libations: Michicagolada

2011 March 25

By Kara Rota

Despite the glum weather that’s descended on the Northeast these past few days, summer is definitely on the way, and that means baseball, beach picnics, bare feet and beer. Lauren’s post on Sixpoint Craft Ale’s Berserker Bock reminded me of all the local brews that often don’t make it into my regular summer rotation of Blue Moon, Leinenkugel, Hoegaarden and Stella Artois, and the coming months seem like the perfect opportunity to check out some distinctive drafts that are produced right in the neighborhood.

I was back home in Chicago visiting my parents recently, so I thought I’d take advantage of two of the city’s great assets: Mexican food and beer. While the summery Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale is one of my all-time favorites, I decided to try the nationally less well-known Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale for a twist on the michelada, a beer-based beverage served throughout Mexico and Latin America and usually prepared with a Mexican beer like Corona, Dos Equis or Negra Modelo. Half Acre is a brewing company in the Northcenter neighborhood of Chicago that was founded in 2006, and their Daisy Cutter boasts a light but powerful flavor profile full of citrus and exploding with aromatic hops.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

There are plenty of variations on the michelada: some use tomato juice or Clamato, others Worcestershire sauce or chiles. As a basis for my Michicagolada, I turned to the guru of Chicago-style Mexican food, Rick Bayless. The proprietor of Chicago restaurants The Frontera Grill, Topalobampo and Frontera Fresca, Rick is also the author of numerous cookbooks that have sought to bring authentic Mexican cuisine to America and, in 2003, began the Frontera Farmer Foundation to support local family farms. While my choice of beer is unconventional, I’m sure Rick would approve of spotlighting a local brewer. Unfortunately, limes in the first half of March will not be locally grown in the midwest, but the ones I used were organic!

Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter performed extraordinarily well, its grapefruit notes blending seamlessly with the lime juice, and its hoppy, earthy qualities perfectly set off by the salt and spice. This Michicagolada packs a punch, but one that will keep you coming back for more.

Michicagolada

Prep time: 4 minutes (depending on your lime-squeezing aptitude)

Yield: 1 serving

Tools: pint glass, measuring cup, sharp knife, citrus juicer (if desired)

Ingredients

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 2 Tbs. coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 12 oz. beer: Half Acre Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce

Cooking Directions

  1. Run half a cut lime around the rim of a beer glass to wet it.
  2. Sprinkle the salt on a plate or saucer and dab the rim of the glass in the salt, turning until the entire rim is coated.
  3. Fill the glass halfway with ice and add the lime juice, then the beer.
  4. Add Tabasco last and mix briefly.
  5. Repeat as needed, preferably sitting outside on the first warm day of spring.

Kara works in Manhattan as the new Editor of Cookstr.com, and her personal culinary adventures can be found at http://ingestibles.tumblr.com. Her favorite foods include General Tso’s tofu, gnocchi al pesto, and cantaloupe, and her favorite drink is a Bloody Mary.