The Monster Mash
According to the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law, beer can only be made with barley, hops, and water (yeast hadn’t been discovered yet). Over time, for a number of reasons, this became the norm for making beer around the world. Much of the craft beer revolution was a revolt against the adjunct-laden mainstream lagers that were seen as less than “pure.” With a few exceptions, the early days of craft brewing were all about the re-embrace of beers made using nothing but water, malt, hops, and yeast.
This didn’t last long. Soon craft brewers were digging up local specials from around the world that almost disappeared in the fizzy yellow wave. Many of these were from Belgium, like Trappist Ales, Wits, Saisons, and more esoteric wild fermented beers. Meanwhile, the early ranks of craft brewers were originally homebrewers, and use to more wild experimentations. Things started getting weird.
The IPA boom mostly overwhelmed the early weirdness craft brewers were dabbling with, but it never went away, and now the Weird Wave is cresting. In many ways, IPA is where it started. Once so-called “New England” IPAs normalized a huge amount of heterodoxy in a fairly austere style, the dam broke (so many water metaphors!). Fruited IPAs, Milkshake IPAs, Double Fruited Kettle Sour Milkshake IPAs (yeah I’m going to make one of those…)… all bets were off.
The other primary component of the Weird Wave is the Pastry Stout. Make your beer taste like a German chocolate cake by throwing German Chocolate cake in it! Add lactose to stand in for the necessary cup of milk on the side! Churros, donuts, bear claws and pastries of all kinds were being used not only as a flavor inspiration for high gravity, high alcohol, sweet Imperial stouts, but as actual ingredients in the brew.
Drake’s has a company palate that tends to favor drier, crisper beers, so there hasn’t been much interest in making one of these sugary monsters until now. Combine Halloween, the imagination of our staff, and a deep-seated taste for weirdness, and you get Monster Mash. An Imperial Milk Stout brewed with every staff members favorite Halloween candy, including gummy worms, sour patch kids, and chocolate of all kinds. It was a ridiculous pillowcase full of sugar coma. We brewed it up and put it in a 16oz can. Find it at Drake’s Barrel House on Halloween, and shortly after at our other locations. Have fun with it!
-John Gillooly, Drake’s Brewmaster