Worn out by IPAs and tired of the same-old stout? A new roster of locally brewed beers is bringing something interesting to the table: inspiration from a wide range of curious, generally hop-free foods.
Between a ramen noodle-infused sour and Girl Scout cookie-inspired stout, these craft brews stand out as some of the most unconventional food-flavored beers in town. Don’t get it twisted: We’re not suggesting them as meal replacements, but we’re also not not suggesting it, either. With flavors as diverse as funnel cake and salsa verde, these six boozy beverages taste even more bizarre than they sound.
Cup O’ Beer by Collective Brewing Project
Gose, 4.4 percent ABV
This Fort Worth brewery has received national and international attention for its sour German-style beer, and with good reason. While on a trip to San Diego, head brewer and co-founder Ryan Deyo noticed several Ramen spots as he was touring breweries and had the idea that noodles could be used as a fermentable starch. So while this beer isn’t necessarily meant to taste like a bowl of miso Ramen, the noodles are incorporated into the brewing process, which is pretty unheard of.
Hints of lemongrass, ginger, lime and coriander round out the Asian flavors, and seaweed-cured sea salt adds a creative touch to the overall taste. Be on the lookout for another food-inspired flavor from Collective: Cup O’ Sumpin Sour, a pie-inspired beer with cherry, blueberry, vanilla and cinnamon.
Available at select Texas retailers.
Funnel Cake Ale by Community Beer Company
English summer ale, 4.2 percent ABV
Bread and beer are basically the same thing when you think about it, at least in the way of main ingredients. That is why this State Fair of Texas-themed ale makes so much sense. Its funnel cake flavor is developed with Maris Otter English malt and malted wheat for a crisp, bready taste. Whole Madagascar vanilla beans are pureed and infused into each batch. Creators of this dessert beer suggest a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream to accompany this brew. You'll also find it served at the fair with a cinnamon-sugar rim. When the fairgrounds empty out, start looking for Community Beer Company’s second food-flavored beer, a savory snickerdoodle ale.
Released Sept. 22 at the brewery and available at select retailers.
Salsa Verde by Martin House Brewing Company
Hatch chile/tomatillo ale, 7.6 percent ABV
If you’re a fan of micheladas, this beer is your new best friend. Roasted hatch chili peppers, tomatillos, lime and cilantro make for a full-fledged fiesta in your mouth. When you're not mixing it with your favorite Mexican cocktail, rope swinging and pepper-eating contests are the suggested “adventure pairings” for this spicy beverage, the experts at this Fort Worth brewery say. They also recommend a pint with al pastor tacos or beer-can chicken. Be on the lookout for Yakima Valley Apple, their collaboration with Bishop Cider Company in Dallas that will be released later this month.
This limited edition, micro-seasonal brew is out now. Grab a six-pack at select retailers before it is gone.
Brunch Money by Armadillo Ale Works
Imperial golden stout, 10 percent ABV
This bold brew takes food-flavored bevvies to new heights. Its taste is reflective of not just one dish, but your whole favorite Sunday morning hangover meal. Willy Wonka would be proud of the way coffee, chocolate, vanilla, honey and caramel flavors are fused together in every sip. This Denton brewery suggests pairing the “stout-inspired golden ale” with chicken and waffles, spicy chorizo migas and buttermilk biscuits with Southern-style chocolate gravy. Special ingredients include beans from West Oak Coffee Bar in Denton and unrefined maple syrup from Ben’s Sugar Shack in New Hampshire.
Availability: "Random releases throughout the year," brewers say.
Sin Mint Temptress by Lakewood Brewing Company
Imperial milk stout, 9.1 percent ABV
Unfortunately, you won’t find this one being peddled by scouts at your local grocery store. But the seasonal, best-served frozen, cookie-inspired stout is up for grabs soon, thanks to Lakewood Brewing Company and its Temptress series. Don’t waste any more time deciding between dessert and a cold one because this chocolate mint-flavored milk stout has the best of both worlds. If the beer doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, brewers suggest pairing it with s’mores, fudge or other sinful snacks.
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Limited release in early winter (October through December).
Peanut Butter & Jealous by Noble Rey Brewing Company
Cream ale, 6 percent ABV
Brewed with natural peanut butter extract and mixed berries, this beer screams after-school snack. Noble Rey brewmasters suggest pairing it with banana splits or sweet breakfast foods such as pancakes, French toast and muffins. But don’t be afraid to sample this full-bodied beer on its own; the flavors speak for itself. This nontraditional cream ale was created as a lighter, more summery alternative to Barampus, a brown ale with peanut butter and holiday spices released last year.
Available from August until it runs out.