To Make Cheap Beer Taste Better, Just Add a Pickle
This summer, amid the coronavirus outbreak, we're all trying our best to make the quotidian feel special. Setting up a projector in our yard or a spare wall for a makeshift "movie night." Cooking up some new recipes for our virtual book club meetings, even if we're noshing on them without some of our favorite pals around. Treating ourselves to a spa night at home, just because. Reconnecting with family friends from our childhood mountain or lake home and luxuriating over their long, lyrical emails.
Well, we've got one more to add to the list: Upgrading a cheap, light beer into a nuanced affair by plopping a pickle in it. The unusual tip comes courtesy of our friends over at Esquire who shared the wisdom back in 2017. Allegedly, the habit originated in the Midwest, who have long been adding a pickle—which, as we know, is simply a cucumber that gets time and TLC spent in salt brine or a vinegar bath, along with spices and other flavor agents like garlic and dill—to their pale lagers as a way to boost the flavor.
Esquire tapped Joe McClure, co-owner of McClure's Pickles, who said the bizarre trick worked because "[the pickle] complements the lager because of the slight vinegar and salt notes that get picked up." Cheslyn Dilbeck, who worked at the bar Legends in Minneapolis, told the outlet she's partial to large dill spears from Costco, but wouldn't deign to place a pickle in an IPA or craft beer. "There is something about the classic light beer taste added with something salty that does it," she says of the technique, adding the caveat that you shouldn't go overboard with pickles.
If you don't have spare pickles on hand or prefer to save yours for the plate, Liz Welle, a Minnesota writer, also quoted in the Esquire piece says green olives or pepperoncini peppers are also fair game in your lager glass.
Once you're all aboard the pickle in your brewski train, you may want to consider branching out to this other savvy tip for adult beverages: Add pickle juice to your martini. Don't knock it until you try it.
And trust us, once you try both of these drinks, you'll be wondering how you lived so long without pickle-boosted beers and pickletinis in your life.