Beyond portable grills and parking-lot touch football, tailgating season often means coolers filled with one or two six-packs of good beer along with a slew of fairly tasteless cheap stuff. After drinking through the craft-brewed IPAs and seasonal porters, don’t despair. Tasteless beer can be rescued. While in college, yours truly survived by always having a bottle of Rose’s lime juice on hand—a couple of drops will make any canned swill potable. Here, expert bartenders share their bad beer upgrades.
Streamlined Micheladas: The spicy, citrusy Mexican beertail can be made with additions that range from soy sauce to worcestershire sauce, plus spices. In San Francisco, Wingtip bar manager Brian MacGregor regularly makes a super speedy version with the limited contents of his fridge. “Cheap beer, two limes and a bottle of hot sauce—you’ve got 16 quick Micheladas," he says.
Versatile shandies. Bar manager Brian Means of San Francisco's Fifth Floor also likes a tangy beer cocktail. He makes shandies by mixing beer with lemonade, ginger beer, lemon-lime soda or even iced tea. "You can also make it in a large punch bowl,” he says. “Self-serve for everyone.”