Put a Pickle in Your Shitty Beer

Put a Pickle in Your Shitty Beer
This was the only beer I had in my house; please do not assign meaning to it. (Photo: Claire Lower)

Until about five years ago, I was extremely into craft beer, particularly Belgians and anything spontaneously fermented. But somewhere along the line, I developed an allergy (?) or some sort of “condition” that causes me to sneeze every time I drink a beer that is not excessively light in flavour and body. I was upset at first, but I got over it. Drinking shitty beer is actually quite freeing.

Fancy beers come with a lot of rules. You have to use the right glass, pour it a certain way and serve it at the optimum drinking temperature. There are no such rules governing shitty beers. Those crispy boys are made to be cracked open and chugged straight from the can. There’s no “flavour profile” to screw up — there’s barely any flavour — so one is free to use them to make shandies and Micheladas, unencumbered by craft beer culture, which is arguably the worst culture. This is all to say (and justify) the fact that I’ve been putting pickles in my shitty beer, and the results are decidedly unshitty.

Putting pickles in alcohol is not a new practice for me. I’ve been putting them in martinis and Bloody Marys for years, but neither is quite as easy as plopping one into frosty glass of watery lager. The pickle gives the beer flavour — something it desperately needs — and the salt tastes particularly welcome on a hot, sweaty day (it’s the electrolytes). The gentle sourness imparted by the pickle is balanced by whatever bitterness is present in your tallboy, and the whole thing is quite refreshing. Also, you get to eat the beer-soaked pickle when you finish your beverage. It’s good!

The kind of pickle you use is up to you, but I recommend a spear, preferably Grillo’s or Clausen, as both are quite sour, and the acid is more than half of the point. Spicy pickles can be fun too. Also, make sure your beer is cold — as cold as an unspecified mountain range. Kinda cold, kinda salty beer is not delicious or refreshing. So chill those crispy boys, and chill them thoroughly.

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