How To Enjoy Your Favorite Brunch Drinks In Beer Form

Just because you sit down for an early afternoon of stacked pancakes and French toast with friends doesn't mean you have to give in to the effervescent drinks being poured. We spoke to drinks expert and head brewer and co-owner of Spice Trade Brewery + Kitchen Jeff Tyler who insists that beers have a place at the brunch table. If you're a fan of brunch but less so of boozy drinks in sweet, bubbly form, we have beer-based alternatives for you to try so you can sip on a punchy beverage without needing to guzzle another martini at the brunch table. 

When pouring brunch-time pints, reach for brews with a lower alcohol content, advises Tyler. You'll be able to match the leisurely pace of your fellow brunchgoers and be able to enjoy the dishes on the brunch menu. "Fruited wheat beers work really well," Tyler suggests, as these kinds of pours can hold their own alongside some of the sweeter and savory dishes noshed on at brunchtime. Instead of ordering a mimosa or bellini, lighter beers can offer satisfying substitutions. 

If you're missing glasses filled with fresh juice or cocktails with pieces of fruit served in them, you can make your version of a mimosa by mixing fruit-forward beers with complementary juice pairings. We have a few other boozy beer ideas to get you started on beverages that can pack as much panache as a spritz. 

Mexican lagers

Mexican beers are ideal brunch-time sippers. These beers are categorically crisp and light, adding just the right amount of sparkle to brunch tables without sending drinkers into premature stupors. From low-alcohol bottles of Victoria or the sweeter finish of Dos Equis, the family of Mexican lagers offers easy choices to complement plates of avocado-enhanced eggs benedict and cheesy blintzes

For a more substantial palate, open up a golden Pacifico or keep to easier sipping with a bright Modelo Especial. If hoppier, maltier beers are your jam, Tecate and Estrella Jalisco deliver malty, complex notes to contemplate as you crunch down on another strip of crisp bacon. Should these lighter beers have you craving something punchier or a beverage with a bit of spice, you can easily turn beer into an adaptation of the tried and true Bloody Mary cocktail with a bit of creative ingenuity. Get ready to meet the perfect brunchtime Michelada. "It's essentially a beer version of a Bloody Mary," says Tyler.

Jalapeño beers

If Bloody Mary cocktails are tempting, ask for a Michelada. This beverage can offer similar flavors to a traditional Bloody Mary with less of an alcoholic wallop that may cause eyelids to start feeling heavy. "Micheladas are also a perfect brunch staple," Tyler told Tasting Table. "It's a good option if you want the flavors of a Bloody Mary without the kick that might put you right back to sleep."

A cocktail that mixes up beer, lime, tomato juice, and spices, this drink order can be customized according to your liking, with Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and a variety of seasonings. Reach for a spicier jalapeño beer to turn up the heat then simply add Bloody Mary mix. For a festive presentation, Micheladas can be garnished with an assortment of items — skewered shrimp, stalks of celery, lime wheels, pineapple rings, and jalapeño slices — for a beverage that feels nearly as celebratory as a freshly poured glass of sparkling wine. 

Coffee porters

If you find yourself a bit on the groggy side while surveying the brunch menu, a coffee-flavored beer may perk you right up. "French toast and a maple coffee porter is a hard pairing to beat," insists Tyler, and we agree. Many favorite flavors found in brunch and breakfast dishes can also be found in beverage form. Specialty-brewed coffee porters often present notes of cocoa, toffee, honey, or stone fruit, making for brews that can settle in quite nicely alongside your fluffy stack of chocolate chip pancakes. 

Dress up chocolatey, java-flavored beer with slices of orange to invite a taste of breakfast into your glass, or simply savor a freshly poured glass with a perfectly flaky chocolate croissant or coffee cake. Nee a stronger morning jolt? Mix up a Guinness with simple syrup, Irish whiskey, and coffee, and you'll wake up quickly. This blend can also be served on ice and made with cold-brew coffee for those warmer days when you find yourself on a sunny outdoor patio waiting for food to arrive.