The Diesel

Chatting with my mother in Montreal recently she said, “I was reading one of your articles (ie., these posts). And you mentioned mixing Coke and beer, right?”.

“That’s right”,  I said, “the Germans do it, called a Diesel when you use pilsener beer”.

“Let’s try that”, she said. And I realized, it’s the one beer blend or mix I never made. Over decades I combined beer in virtually every way imaginable, but not that way.

I suppose I had the maven’s distrust of what seemed a gimmick drink.

But this was the perfect opportunity to go for it, so we did.

Given the Germans’ unquestioned mastery of all things brewing, I should have credited them with a better idea than (until this test) I did.

Because it’s very good! We used diet Pepsi, and I imagine with full-sugar cola it is even better, but still it was excellent.

I used the vigorous Starke Pilsener from Amsterdam Brewery in Toronto, because that was one of three beers in her fridge.

I had left them there a couple of months earlier.

To my mind it tasted like a good Dunkel beer (Bavarian dark), but more refreshing and not as strong of course.

Which got me to thinking, why the name Diesel? The caramel colour surely. My version at any rate had exactly the hue of Diesel fuel.*



*Undyed. The colouring of fuels in different countries may result in a different colour for Diesel.


3 thoughts on “The Diesel”

  1. On the origins of the name again, I and many others no doubt will recall the story recounted by early beer writers – probably Michael Jackson was first – of German bicyclists devising the mixture. If that origin-story is true, the idea of fuelling the rider is surely relevant too. But still the colour had to play at least a role.

    The history of dyeing diesel fuel is surprisingly detailed, at least I thought so. It emerges that the actual color of undyed diesel is a brownish-green. My mixture looked just like that, probably with the heavy hops of Starke contributing a greenish tint.

    Back when German pils was even more hopped than now, one can imagine the mix had similar greenish tints. The borrowing of “Diesel” to describe the mix had to result from careful observation, in other words.

    • I didn’t think of that, but still a family favourite at any rate! When I grew up there, we drank a lot of Kik Cola, presumably gone with the winds. We also liked RC Crown Cola. There was lots of Coke around too.


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