Tapping In with a Pineapple-Chile Hefeweizen Cocktail

For those of you who are already sick of hearing me talk about beer, I’ve got bad news: it’s not going to stop any time soon. Beer is the Josh to my Cher Horowitz—my crush on the suds has been bubbling over for a while, and it’s time to go public with my love. I’m happy to say that I’m now contributing to The Kitchn with the biweekly beer column Tapped In.

My latest column for The Kitchn, suggesting a bunch of Belgian- and German-style wheat ales as alternatives to Blue Moon, left me with a fridge full of witbiers and weizens. This is no hardship, since it’s one of my favorite beer styles—and the subject of an epiphany of its own, when I pulled up a stool at Sheffield’s in Chicago way back in the distant year 2000, ordered a Pyramid hefeweizen, took a sip, and promptly marveled at the creamy, citrusy tastes that were so far from the flavorless filtered lagers of my college years.

pineapple chile hefeweizen beer cocktail, via goodfoodstories.com
There is, however, a lot of beer in my house right now. (Did I also mention that I restocked my beer cellar to shoot photos for a piece on how to build a beer cellar?) And while beer on its own is just dandy, the particular flavor profile of the wheat ale family makes it a prime candidate for goosing up in a cocktail. The beer’s de facto pairing is a lemon or orange wedge to complement the spicy notes of clove, coriander, and nutmeg and the sweet honey undertones in the brew—so it would be easy to blend it with orange juice as in a beer shandy and leave it at that. But for this particular version, I had another fruit in mind.

The Smoking Guns, a rum-based drink from New York’s The Wallflower, might be my new favorite cocktail, blending smoked pineapple syrup, lime juice, and habañero bitters with a Laphroaig float. The combination of pineapple with spice and smoke is compelling on its own, but these complementary tastes lend themselves to the creamy sweetness of a witbier or weissbier as well.

pineapple chile hefeweizen beer cocktail, via goodfoodstories.com
Grab a fresh pineapple to make this cocktail sing—while you can get away with simply juicing the pineapple without charring it first, I love the way the caramelized fruit adds depth to the drink. You’ll get the most juice from your pineapple by using a slow juicer, which presses the fruit instead of shredding it with a high-speed blade, but you can use whatever you have available. If you have a blender, puree the fruit and press through a fine-mesh strainer to extract as much juice as you can; just know that you may not get the full 2 cups the recipe calls for.

(Side note: I’m also now a Cicerone Certified Beer Server who’s working on becoming a Certified Cicerone. There are about 35,000 Certified Beer Servers who have successfully completed the first level of the certification program in North America and the UK—that’s the population of a small town! Not all of us may end up as true cicerones, but even at this introductory tier, that’s quite a few more-than-casual beer drinkers. Craft beer has arrived, and to that, I say bottoms up.)

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  1. says

    I’m loving the little pepper hanging out as garnish. I have a few beers in my stock that are begging for this treatment.

    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      Actually, it can be spelled chile, chili, or even chilli, depending where you are in the world! This post on Grammarphobia gives an excellent and detailed description of the variations between the spellings.

  2. jasmin says

    Thats really funny, im living in germany and i never saw anything like This here.
    But belgians are a little more fancy With their beer so i guess its more belgian 😀