Flavored Brews: Who Wants Beer that Tastes Like Beer?

Is flavored beer a venial sin against the beer gods?
Or is it an homage to a centuries-old European tradition?

The Belgians have their cherry- and berry-flavored lambics, and the British love their summertime citrus-lager shandies. The first wave of American craft brewers followed with seasonal fruit brews based on native ingredients like summer blueberry and autumn pumpkin beer.
But we are not a people known for moderation and restraint. Take a competitive spirit and throw some good old American ingenuity into the mix, and what do you think you get? We are seeing brews that are guaranteed to wake up Budweiser-dulled taste buds, and others that are more likely to test your gag reflex.
Here’s a look at some of the more unusual beers from the can-you-top-this category:

http://www.pizzapartyweekend.com/pizza.jpg Pizza and beer are a match made in heaven. But some people just can’t leave well enough alone. No token sprinkle of oregano here; wheat-crusted, garlic and tomato-topped Margarita pizza is steeped like a tea bag to make Tom Seefurth’s Mamma Mia Pizza Beer.

http://www.artzberger.com/BeerCans/newcans/canpics/Bud_Light_Chelada0809.jpg Try to imagine the worst Bloody Mary ever. Now imagine it with carbonation. And clam-flavored juice. You’re getter closer, but you’ve still not reached the awfulness that is the Budweiser Chelada.
http://vintagemetalart.com/shop/images/breakfastnowserved.gif If you’re looking for a beer to drink with breakfast (and really, who isn’t?!) you’re in luck.
We live in bacon-crazed times. It was inevitable that someone would step up and brew a bacon beer, and the Goose Island Beer Company gives us Maple Bacon Stout. Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout is a breakfast smorgasbord of oatmeal and coffee, and the Shenandoah Brewing Company’s Chocolate Donut Stout is a beer that only Homer Simpson could love.
Unusual fruit beers are also being explored. All too many of them smell like Kool-Aid and taste like Robitussin (see Michelob Ultra Pomegranate Raspberry). A few, like 21st Amendment’s Watermelon Wheat Beer and Schmaltz Brewing’s He’Brew Origins Pomegranate Ale (This Ain’t Your Bubbe’s Manischewitz), manage to walk the line between novelty and quaffability.
http://www.guysdrinkingbeer.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/keylimepie2.jpg The same can not be said for most dessert brews. As a group, they are sickeningly sweet, syrupy, and cloying. There are blessedly few brewers tackling this ill-advised category, but we do have Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout and Short’s Brewing Company’s Key Lime Pie, with its unmistakable sauerkraut aftertaste.


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any less palatable, we bring you dog food-flavored beer. Bowser Beer and Happy Tail Ale are meaty and alcohol-free.

The simple fact is there is no single beer taste. Beer can be hoppy or malty, bitter or sweet. And as these new brews prove, it can taste like any number of things beyond the expected range of familiar flavors. Whether it should is another matter.

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3 Responses to Flavored Brews: Who Wants Beer that Tastes Like Beer?

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Beer that Tastes Like Beer | Gigabiting -- Topsy.com

  2. Bacon has it place and creme brulee has its place, and it is probably not in a beer. Only in rare brews does the fruit essence (and it should be an essence) does this work. I had a micro brew tonight that was a quadruple that was made from dark candy sugar, it was sweet but it still tasted like beer. Seriously good but one was enough.

  3. Bizarre beers but some are logic, why not a pizza-beer?

    Fruit beers – may be can suite to my palate..

    Interesting and funny post 🙂



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