Best Beer for a Beermosa (Orange Juice Mixer) + Recipes!

Whether you’re looking for a quick, 2-ingredient cocktail, or a low-alcohol beverage to sip with brunch, the beermosa is a great option. If you’ve never made a beermosa at home, you may be wondering what style of beer to brew or buy.

Beermosas work best when made with mild, light beer styles that complement the orange juice. The best examples are wheat beers (like Hefeweizens and Belgian Witbiers), lagers, and fruity IPAs. Start with a 1:3 ratio of juice to beer. Avoid beers with strong smoky, spicy, or piney flavors that will conflict with the smooth sweetness of orange juice.

Though the simplest classic beermosa is made with just beer and orange juice, you can get creative by incorporating other fruit, fruit juice, herbs, and even liquor. Read on to find out more about beermosa’s history, what styles of beers to use, and a few recipes to mix things up a bit.

What is a beermosa?

Mimosas are a popular brunch drink because they take the brightness and flavor of a traditional breakfast beverage and pair it with champagne, a dry, bubbly drink typically reserved for evenings and special occasions.

The beermosa is a beer-based variation on the popular Mimosa cocktail, which consists of champagne and orange juice. Beermosas, on the other hand, consist of beer and orange juice.

Both the beermosa and the Mimosa are popular brunch cocktails, not only because of their use of orange juice but because they are lower in alcohol than liquor cocktails. The origins of the Mimosa vary, but it’s believed it was invented by a bartender at the Ritz Carlton in Paris in 1925. Many people credit Alfred Hitchcock with popularizing the drink in the states in the 1940s. 

It’s not known who the first person was to coin the term “beermosa,” but it first appears in Google trends in late 2010. This backs up one popular beermosa origin story: that the beer cocktail was first invented at the 2011 National Homebrewers Conference in San Diego.

Is a beermosa the same thing as a Brass Monkey?

The traditional Brass Monkey (and indeed, the one the Beastie Boys were rapping about) was a canned cocktail consisting of orange juice, vodka, and dark rum.

This cocktail was later used as inspiration for mixing malt liquor and orange juice, which is sometimes also called a Brass Monkey. Because of this, some bars still call their beermosa a Brass Monkey, even though it’s technically a different drink.

Does beer go well with orange juice?

Beers have been brewed and garnished with fruit for centuries, with orange longing being the fruit of choice.

The acidity and sour tang of orange juice balance the malts and spicy hops of many styles of beer. 

Beers with particularly strong bitter or smoky notes, however, usually don’t work as well with orange juice as their lighter, fruitier counterparts.

What is the right beermosa ratio?

The right beer-to-orange juice ratio depends on your own taste. Most beermosa recipes call for around 4 ounces of OJ for each 12-ounce beer. 

This 1:3 ratio is usually a good starting point. If your beermosa tastes too sweet and juicy, add more beer (or balance with bitters). If it tastes too much like plain beer, add more juice.

The best beers to use in a beermosa

Some styles of beer are better complemented by the flavor of orange juice than others. In general, lighter beers with more mild flavors will allow more room for the orange juice to shine. Other beers that are brewed with fruit may also be complimented well by the OJ.

Here are a few of the best beer styles to use for a beermosa:

  • Wheat beer (i.e. Hefeweizen or Belgian Witbier)
  • Lager
  • Fruity or citrusy IPA
  • Saison
  • Gose

Wheat beer (i.e. Hefeweizen or Belgian Witbier)

German wheat beers (Hefeweizens) and Belgian Witbiers are similar in that they are both brewed with wheat.

These beers are light in color, cloudy, and often have citrusy or spicy tasting notes all by themselves. Adding orange only enhances these already naturally occurring fruit flavors and aromas.

A classic example of this is the popular beer Blue Moon, which is traditionally garnished with an orange wedge, and sometimes used as a base for beermosas.

Lager

A light, simple lager is a great base for a lot of beer cocktails, since it doesn’t have strong sweet or bitter flavors to be at odds with fruit.

Mexican lagers are often garnished with lime or lime juice, so they make a great beermosa as well.

Lagers are also widely available, making them an easy, no-frills ingredient.

IPA (fruity or citrusy)

Not all IPAs are created equal, so tread lightly when selecting an IPA for a beermosa.

You’ll want to look for IPAs that are already citrusy or fruity. Avoid IPAs described as dank, piney, or bitter as these flavors will fight against fruit juice.

Many IPAs lean into their natural fruitiness, and some put it right there in the name. Keep an eye out for IPAs like the Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA.

Saison

Saisons are farmhouse-style beers originating in Belgium.

They are effervescent, fruity, and spicy, making them a great option for beermosas. Saisons are also usually relatively low in alcohol content, meaning they won’t knock you out if you have a couple with brunch.

Gose

Impress your guests by making your next round of beermosas with a Gose. Originating a thousand years ago in the German town of Goslar, today’s Gose are brewed with more than 50% fermented wheat.

Most notably, though, salt is added to the modern Gose to make them match the salinity of the water in Goslar. This saltiness balances the sweetness of orange juice beautifully.

Tasty beermosa recipes

The classic 2-ingredient beermosa is an ideal blank canvas for getting creative with additional mixers, styles of beer, or styles of juice. Here are a few good recipes to try:

Classic Beermosa

This classic Beermosa recipe from Liquor.com is about as simple as it gets. The mild flavor of the light lager will allow plenty of room for the orange juice flavor to shine. 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces light lager
  • 4 ounces orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • Garnish: orange wheel

Method

  1. Fill a chilled beer glass with the lager, and top with the orange juice.
  2. Garnish with an orange wheel

Strawberry Beermosa

For an extra refreshing treat, you can add other fruit to a beermosa. This Strawberry Beermosa recipe from Honest Cooking incorporates a simple strawberry puree. 

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces strawberry puree (see step 1)
  • 4 ounces orange juice 
  • 10 ounces citrusy IPA or white IPA 
  • Sliced strawberries, for garnish

Method

  1. For the strawberry puree, combine 2 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries with 1/4 of water. Blend until smooth. Add more water where needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it will keep for about a week.
  2. In a cocktail shaker or mason jar (with lid), combine the strawberry puree, orange juice, and beer. Shake until combined and foamy.
  3. Pour the strawberry beermosas into 2 champagne flutes or cocktail glasses.
  4. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices and enjoy immediately!

Braulio Shandy (Valtellina)

Many beermosa recipes call for the addition of bitters to balance the natural sweetness of both the beer and orange juice. This Food52 recipe takes things up a notch by using amaro instead, as well as some fresh herbs.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Braulio amaro
  • 1 freshly squeezed orange
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • Ommegang Wit Beer (or another wheat-style beer)
  • Twist of orange

Method

  1. Muddle the mint briefly in a shaker, then add the Braulio and orange juice.
  2. Meanwhile, fill an ice-filled highball glass ¾ of the way with beer.
  3. Add ice to the shaker, shake, and strain over the top of the beer. Garnish with an orange twist.

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