How To Infuse Beer With A French Press

Give it a boost with citrus, coffee, fresh hops and more

Oh, you use your French press to make coffee every morning? That's cute. But that press is nothing more than just a vessel with a strainer, and you can also use it to make blank-canvas beers taste more interesting. Here are five ways to doctor up an ordinary can that prove you don't have to be a master homebrewer to make your own blend.

① Fresh Hops

Maybe you're a big fan of hoppy IPAs, but your roommate prefers a milder brew: Now you can make everyone happy without having to buy a sampler pack. And since chances are you're not growing hops in a rooftop garden, check a local beer supply store or just buy them online

② Coffee Beans

Turn beer into breakfast by adding beans straight to the French press. On a recent visit to Goose Island's expansive hop fields at Elk Mountain Farms in northern Idaho, we added Dark Matter beans to the beloved (and versatile) 312 wheat ale for an all-Chicago creation.

③ Citrus

Shandy fans, wave your citrus zest loud and proud. Then add strips of it to one-size-fits-all beer, let it steep and press your way to a brighter brew.

④ Spices and Herbs

Think of your beer like it's just another dinner recipe experiment and give it the same flavor treatment you might give the soup that's brewing on your stove. Add whole spices, like coriander or black pepper, or sprigs of rosemary for a savory addition to your beer.

⑤ Peppers

Try cutting a habanero in half and adding it to neutral beer, but you'll probably want to sample it every 15 minutes so you don't annihilate yourself with spice. If you go too far, dilute it with the original beer—or hand it off to an unwitting friend as an aggressive practical joke.