How to make beer cocktail sauce from the Dillon Dam Brewery

Summit Suds: Beer news, reviews, recipes and more

The Dillon Dam Brewery’s Exit 205 session India pale ale pairs perfectly with the brewpub’s fried shrimp basket. It is also served with beer cocktail sauce made from the Dam Straight Lager.
Photo from Dillon Dam Brewery

Like many brewpubs around the country, and especially those in Colorado, the Dillon Dam Brewery tries to put its own beer into as many dishes as possible. It allows the restaurant to put a unique spin on standard pub fare and elevate it, such as roasting pulled pork in Sweet George’s Brown ale overnight or topping a Philly cheesesteak with a lager cheese sauce.

Beer is also used in the restaurant’s cocktail sauce that’s served with the fried shrimp basket. The creation came from chef David Blevins and sous chef Matt Tiffin a few years ago when the brewery pivoted away from its fish and chips due to rising costs.

General manager Kim Nix said they floated ideas such as a Thai chili sauce or a standard cocktail sauce before the chefs landed on using beer, specifically the Dam Straight Lager.

“It has that nice balance of maltiness and hoppiness, and I think that maltiness is what comes through in the sauce,” she said.

The concept stems from a practice of using beer as a substitute for other liquid ingredients in a recipe, such as in the place of lemon juice or using an Irish stout to boil potatoes.

“Any time you use water, use beer,” Nix said. “At home, I’ll boil my pasta in beer versus water, and it gives it a different flavor, depending on what you’re going to use it for.”

While Frank’s RedHot is what the restaurant uses, Nix said people are welcome to experiment with hotter sauces or whatever they prefer. As for pairing drinks with the dish, she recommends something easy drinking — similar to how fish often goes with white wine.

“I think the shrimp cocktail pairs best with one of our lighter beers, like our Exit 205 or a Pilsner,” Nix said. “… Since it’s fried, it’s pretty heavy. You don’t want to have too heavy of a beer with it.”`

Beer cocktail sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons raw horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, Frank’s RedHot preferred
  • 3 tablespoons Dam Straight Lager
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and serve with your favorite fried fish, shrimp or other seafood dish.

Jefferson Geiger

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