In 1917, Harry Burnett Reese worked on a dairy farm owned by the Hershey Company, which morphed into a job in the company’s candy factory. While some folks like to tinker with electronics in their basement, Reese hid beneath his main floor experimenting with different candy formula, with the intention of making extra money to care for his growing family. He created the H. B. Reese Candy Company in 1923, selling a large variety of confections. One day one of his family members got his or her chocolate stuck in his peanut butter. The rest, as they say, is history. When World War II hit, Reese chose to discontinue production of everything but the peanut butter cups, which required less sugar than his other candies. It was a savvy move that guaranteed his family’s prosperity. Reese never saw his 77th birthday, leaving the company to his six sons, Robert, John, Ed, Ralph, Harry, and Charles Richard Reese. In 1963, they decided to sell the business to the Hershey’s Chocolate Company, where Reese had gotten his start close to 50 years before. Therefore, on this national I Love Reese’s Day (it’s a thing), Peaks and Pints presents a flight of peanut butter and chocolate craft beer that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 5.18.19: A Flight of I Love Reese’s Day.
Craft Beer Crosscut 5.18.19: A Flight of I Love Reese’s Day
5.3% ABV, 30 IBU
This Belching Beaver Brewery brewed, 2014 World Beer Championships silver medalist milk stout hits a nostalgic note: Peaks and Pints remembers how good a creamy peanut butter sandwich tastes with a glass of milk. That same luscious, nutty peanut butter flavor flows alongside coffee creamer richness; slight coffee roast and peanut butter on our noses before a lightly roasted, bitter finish.
9.1% ABV, 24 IBU
In 1989, believing that Kansas City was suffering from light-beer fatigue, John McDonald launched Boulevard Brewing Co. McDonald is a pioneer in creating a craft beer culture in Missouri and beyond, redefining American beer as Boulevard grew from a small-scale brewery to the largest in the Midwest. Boulevard’s two top-selling flagship beers, Pale Ale and Unfiltered Wheat, were instrumental in developing a market in Kansas City for craft beer. In Kansas City, Missouri, Christopher Elbow has been handcrafting masterpieces in chocolate for more than 15 years. In developing Chocolate Ale, Elbow and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels harmonize the interplay of chocolate and malt. Valrhona chocolate from Dominican cacao nibs weaves between layers of honey, brown sugar, caramel and nutty malt, rounding into a luscious, lingering finish.
Wingman Brewers introduced a peanut butter and coconut porter to the Port Townsend Strange Brewfest several years ago. At its 2014 Porterpalooza festival, the Tacoma brewery dropped the coconut and added chocolate. It was a huge hit. It re-appeared for Porterpalooza 2015, this time in 22-ounce bottles as a seasonal. Peanut Butter Cup Porter tastes like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup full of rich peanut, chocolate, some light roasted notes and a decent amount of sweetness.
8.5% ABV, 55 IBU
Caldera Brewing Company’s colossal brewery sits just off Interstate 5 near Ashland, Oregon. The brewery honors the passing of a beloved pooch named Mogli with its Mogli bourbon-oaked chocolate imperial porter. Both the style and the beer are a mouthful. The more we smell this craft beer, the more we are reminded of s’mores. We pick up slightly burnt marshmallow, powdery graham cracker and a lot of cocoa. Tucked beneath those notes were some toffee, charred oak and a bit of mocha. The taste opens with a lot of sweet cocoa notes, mixed with roasted malt, espresso and burnt chocolate. Marshmallow and a touch of coffee-like acidity and burnt brownies round out the flavors.
10% ABV, 68 IBU
Victory at Sea’s story begins in 1992, when a homebrewer named Jack White, recognizing the dearth of good supply shops nearby with which to augment his hobby, opened Home Brew Mart near Mission Beach in San Diego. Another homebrewer, Yuseff Cherney, soon joined him, and together the two moved the brews they were making in their back yards to the back of the shop. In 1996, Ballast Point was born. It wasn’t until 2007, however, that Victory at Sea imperial porter premiered tasting almost like tiramisu. Bitter medium-roast coffee flavors play at the sides of the tongue while a sweet vanilla and Irish cream character build at the front. The variants followed, including Peanut Butter Cup Victory At Sea, a 10 percent ABV imperial porter brewed with coffee beans sourced from Caffe Calabria, vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter. Creamily cohesive peanut-buttered black chocolate melds with dark-roast coffee. Nutty mocha resilience allows dark toffee, vanilla, espresso and cappuccino illusions to deepen its rich complexity. Hops lend some bitterness to the beer’s light roast and alcohol, culminating in a long dry finish with light coffee notes left on the tongue.