| Pastry Beer
by Denny Morris
Hello Bob -
'm guessing there are a lot of Americans ike me that have been
consuming more junk food during the course of the pandemic. I
know I've done my part to push up sales of frozen waffles an
Oreos, so are beers infused with foods that could euphemistically be
called “comfort.” are my style too.
I just saw a survey that said 95% of craft beer drinkers prioritize
taste over such considerations as ingredient lists, freshness, and
provenance. I admit that's me. I love high-flavor, over-the-top styles
such as heavily hopped IPAs and, more recently, so-called “pastry
stouts”: Those are some of the most powerfully flavored ales
available. In fact many are brewed with dessert-like additives, from
cannolis to candied apples. Now we're talking.
How's this for a statistic that says I'm not alone - sales in the
American stout category rose 8% over the last 52 weeks, vs. the
same period a year earlier. Sales of tamer counterparts—export
stouts and dry stouts such as Guinness—grew barely 2 percent
during that time.
Besides being rich in flavor, pastry stouts invariably have a high
alcohol content—at least 8%—a further selling point in my book The
science behind it is that yeast converts sugar into alcohol during
fermentation, a process that goes into overdrive when sweet
ingredients are thrown in. For me ABV is something I always
consider when purchasing beer. Don't get me wrong I buy my share
of session beers but they just don't have the flavor of the big guys.
As I see it the proliferation of many high-octane / big flavor brews on
national craft delivery platforms proves their broader appeal. More
brewers are making them than ever before. Of course I guessing
that some brewers just add ‘Pastry Stout’ and ‘Imperial Pastry Stout’
to their labels just because they’ve become so prominent. That's
okay with me as long as the beer delivers.
I did find this quote on the topic by, a spokesperson for Tavour, the
country’s largest online craft beer retailer. “While we are heavily into
IPAs, stouts are increasing, and pastry stouts are about 15% of
sales, currently.” That was unheard of a few months ago.
I saw that even in cities such as Boston—historically linked to the
most traditional beer styles—high-ABV stouts are seeing
unprecedented growth. Earlier this year, Clown Shoes Beer released
Hephaestus, a dark beer aged with espresso and flaked, sugary
oats. (Think: oatmeal raisin cookies. I was lucky enough to have one
and it was great.
Earlier this year, Harpoon (one of my favorite breweries) collaborat-
ed with a neighboring dessert shop to concoct the eponymous Mike’
s Pastry Cannoli Stout. Brewed with actual pastries from the local
landmark, it was an instant hit. And yes I had that one and it too was
I hope some of your readers who have never tried a pastry
beer/stout give it a chance. It's a guilty pleasure but a fun one!
Thanks Denny for a most enjoyable article. It was a fun ad interesting
read. While I enjoy pastry beer on occasion I sometimes find them to
be a bit too sweet. They are however a good example of why the
world of craft beer is so interesting and enjoyable. .
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer in any way just as Denny did. I select the best
and publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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