The same logic could be applied to beer, especially given the penchant of some brewers to add all manner of weird and wonderful ingredients either to the mash tun, or the fermenter.
The addition of certain fruits to the beers is a long-standing tradition, especially in Belgium, and no one would doubt that a properly matured Kriek, or Framboise is a satisfying and enjoying drink. Other additions, such as chocolate or chilies often work too, and despite initial hesitancy, often turn out far better than the label might hint at, but there are limits, and when they are breached, what might have seemed like a good idea when first proposed, can in certain instances, turn out t be a complete disaster.
Included amongst the beers I accumulated over the course of the summer, was a Peanut Butter Milk Stout, from the equally strange sounding, Belching Beaver Brewery. I acquired this “strange brew” in one of the deliveries from FUGSCLUB – the monthly subscription club run by Fuggles Beer Café; a set-up that helped the company get through the worst of lockdown.
It was a beer I kept looking at but couldn’t quite bring myself to crack open and drink. The very concept somehow, seemed wrong, and yet, according to the can, the offering from Belching Beaver (the very name is off-putting), is America’s favourite Peanut Butter Milk Stout. You mean there are more versions of this beer?
Belching Beaver are based in San Diego, California, and appear to be a reasonably sized outfit, that offers a wide range of different brews. According to their website, their aim is to offer quality craft beer, whilst inspiring good times – “Dam good times,” if you will pardon the pun!
The answer is this combination didn’t work for me. It wasn’t undrinkable, and I sort of get what the brewery are saying on the side of the can, about the aromas of roasted peanuts blending with those of dark chocolate and coffee. This makes sense, as the beer is basically a milk stout with added natural peanut butter flavouring.
So, an experiment, but exactly that, and a repeat purchase from me at least, is out of the question. Looking online, a handful of other brewers produce a Peanut Butter Milk Stout, including Hammertons in the UK and Tailgate Brewery, from Nashville, Tennessee. Both beers have won awards, as has Belching Beaver, so they must be doing something right – or are they?
The cynic in me suspects that it’s the novelty factor, so more likely the “shock factor” that has propelled these beers to stardom, but do let me know what you think.
Footnote: I have included a few photos, of other "experimental" beers, including the opening shot which demonstrates Bateman's rather short-lived attempt at mixing up the flavours.