If there's one thing Americans love more than soaring eagles and waving flags, it's beer. We're hoppy for hefeweizens, we're astounded by stouts and we're particular about our pale ales. We write ballads and novels about it, we throw festivals for it and we consume more of it than just about every other country in the world combined. So in a way it was only a matter of time before other food producers started trying to capture the malty, hoppy essence of a cold draft in their own products – like, for instance, a batch of beer-flavored jellybeans.
Now to some of you purists out there, this might sound like some Shelley-esque horror show science. Just bear with us for a minute. Years ago, the thought of beer-flavored snack food might have been nothing more than a grotesque fantasy but thanks to advances in food sciences, infusing the dark malted roast of a stout or the crisp citrus bite of an IPA isn't just possible – it's positively delicious. For example, here are five new beer-flavored snack foods that will absolutely astound your taste buds.
1. Jelly Belly Draft Beer Beans
It took three years of testing, tasting, revising and re-tasting to perfect, but Jelly Belly has finally completed their newest masterpiece – the draft beer-flavored jelly bean. Introduced in January 2014, these golden-brown beans look and taste exactly like a vintage hefeweizen. Seriously, just check out this video of people trying them.
The Draft Beer beans – which are non-alcoholic – make an excellent party favor and Jelly Belly has already released several combination "recipes"_x009d_ for you adventurous tasters out there. For example, you can combine two Beers and an Apple bean to make a Hard Cider and two Beers, a Hot Chocolate bean and a Toasted Marshmallow bean to create a Mudslide.
Pick up a batch for yourself right here at candystore.com.
2. Sprecher Beer Kettle Chips
Sprecher is a craft brewery in Milwaukee. In addition to producing a bevy of European-style beers, they also make many other delicious foods and snacks – like these beer-flavored kettle cooked potato chips.
It took about a year for Sprecher, working with a local snack food company, to nail the flavor for the non-alcoholic chips. At first they tried to infuse the chips with the flavors of their darker stouts and porters but the taste never seemed to be quite right. So they lightened up and decided to brew the chips with the flavor of the Special Amber lager. The end result is a chip with a subtle beer flavor that doesn't overwhelm your taste buds but definitely makes a difference in how the chip tastes. The beer chips have been a huge success locally and Sprecher is working to expand their distribution, but if you're too impatient to wait for the chips to arrive at your neighborhood grocer you can always try some for yourself by visiting the Sprecher Online Store.
3. Accoutrements Ballpark Flavored Gumballs
There's an old adage that goes "When you can't make it to the ball game, just take the ball game with you – in your mouth."_x009d_ Actually, that adage isn't old at all because we just made it up but that's not the point. The point is that there now exist Ballpark-flavored gumballs. Made by novelty candy producer Accoutrements, these gumballs have been flavored to resemble the three pillars of ballpark fare – peanuts, hot dogs and beer. While we haven't tried them ourselves, online reviews suggest the beer flavor at least is a total home run. You can enjoy them individually or combine all three to create a nostalgic abomination that's sure to keep you cheering inning after inning.
Grab a variety pack of 22 Ballpark gumballs from Amazon.
4. Frozen Pints Beer-Flavored Ice Cream
The story behind the creation of Frozen Pints, as told by Frozen Pints, is that one day someone spilled a beer into their ice cream machine and after tasting the happy little accident the company owners realized they had found their true calling.
That sounds like marketing spiel from where we're sitting – but we're willing to forgive them because Frozen Pints' variety of beer-flavored ice creams are seriously awesome. The Honey IPA ice cream is floral and hoppy; the Vanilla Bock is sweet and darkly complex and the Pumpkin Ale tastes just like pumpkin ale. Just make sure you've got a designated driver if you intend to eat an entire pint at once because unlike the other snack foods on this list, Frozen Pints do contain alcohol. Most of the flavors have very low alcohol-by-volume but some, like the Pumpkin Ale, are equivalent to drinking a beer.
Unfortunately, the alcohol content makes Frozen Pints a tad difficult to purchase. They can't be sold online, so if you want to add a pint to your cooler you need to purchase one of them from a bottle shop or liquor store in the company's home state of Georgia. You can locate the retailer nearest you by visiting the Frozen Pints Website.
If the drive just seems too far to make, then try making some of your own beer ice cream using a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. It's not as fun as just popping off a lid and shoveling delicious beer ice cream down your gullet, but it's the next best thing.
5. Beer Flats Crackers
When it comes to snack foods, crackers reign supreme in America. Yes – crackers. Sound boring? Well there's nothing boring about Beer Flats.
These new beer-flavored cracker flats come in Pilsner and Porter flavors and are sure to liven up that boring cheese plate you serve at your book club meetings. According to Beerchow's review, the Pilsner has a light hoppy shortbread while the Porter tastes more like a dark and complex rye cracker. Whichever you prefer, both should pair excellently with a charcuterie spread or a pint of your favorite draft.
Order a box for yourself from the Beer Flats Website.
When It Comes to Beer, Think Outside the Glass
In this age of advanced gastro-infusions and extractions it's almost criminal to suggest that the complex, hoppy flavors of our favorite craft beers be relegated to liquid form. The reviews are in, the people have spoken and it's clear now that beer-flavored snack foods are here to stay. So instead of trying to fight the tides, broaden your horizons and embrace the hoppy revolution by trying a box of Draft Beer Jelly Bellies or a Frozen Pint. The flavor might come as a surprise, but if you enjoy fine beers then we can guarantee it will be a pleasant one. And that's all we have to say about that.
The ACS Team