Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 9.6.17: A Flight of Monster Cereals

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightRemember when you woke up to snores from “The Room” at 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Psychedelic clothing draped the beanbags. Starving, and not waiting to awake your parents, you tiptoed in footie pajamas toward the cereal cabinet for greatness in a box, the all-sugar-little-added-value, strangely colored food group known as breakfast food. Oh, joy! You poured Count Chocula into a Slurpee cup as to not alert of your early feeding. Ok, maybe that was just Peaks and Pints. Oh, but the Count Chocula and Franken Berry. … General Mills hit it out of the park with those monster-themed breakfast cereals in 1971. The monster factory kept on keeping on, with Boo-Berry in 1973, followed by the short-lived Fruit Brute in 1974 and Fruity Yummy Mummy in 1987. In recent years, we’ve seen a seasonal resurrection of all five Monster Cereals, turning teeth and milk a lovely shade of colors. Today, Peaks and Pints debuts its S’mores Porter that we brewed across town with Wingman Brewers. As we sampled it we thought of Count Chocula with his infamous Bela Lugosi-esque “I want to eat your cereal!” line, enticing us to eat his delicious chocolate cereal surrounded by marshmallows, aka s’mores. In honor of our S’mores Porter release party at 6 p.m. tonight we present a flight of General Mills’ inspired goodness we call Craft Beer Crosscut 9.6.17: A Flight of Monster Cereals. Cerealiously.

Lindemans-Kriek-TacomaLindemans Kriek

3.5% ABV

In 1974, fans of the Monster Cereals were introduced to Fruit Brute, a frosted fruit-flavored cereal with lime marshmallows hosted by a cartoon werewolf. Fruit Brute had a good run of eight years and disappeared in 1982. During a full moon in 2013, Fruit Brute returned this time as a frosted cherry-flavored cereal with regular marshmallows, only to vanish back into the shadows the following year. Speaking of sweet cherry, Lindemans has been brewing lambics since 1811. They were the first to introduce lambics to the American market (in 1979) and have remained the most popular brand. While they also make a peach, raspberry and pear lambic, the cherry is their most traditional flavor. Whole fresh cherries are added to the casks, triggering a third fermentation and promoting a spritz-y carbonation that gives the finished beer a champagne-like character with excellent mouthfeel. The flavor is akin to a natural black cherry soda, having a dark sweetness with only a flash of malty bitterness.

Samuel-Smith-Organic-Strawberry-Fruit-Beer-TacomaSamuel Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Beer

5.1% ABV, 14 IBU

One of the original two monster-themed cereals introduced in 1971, the classic Frankenstein’s monster inspired Franken Berry. However, since Franken Berry was a strawberry-flavored breakfast offering, the only thing scary about this “monster” was his unfortunate shade of hot pink. Hundreds of years older and not as pink, Samuel Smith’s Organic Raspberry Fruit Beer is brewed at the All Saints Brewery in Stamford, England using all manually operated equipment. Barley and wheat are combined to make an ale, fermented and aged for an extended period, then taken to Samuel Smith’s brewery in Tadcaster, England. It is at this stage where they blend in pure strawberry juice to create a fruit-forward ale with malt and some bittering hops on the back. The result is soft and subtle, with the sophisticated and elusive flavor of fresh strawberries beautifully married to clean, smooth malt. An elegant beer, indeed.

Skookum-Purple-Clouds-TacomaSkookum Purple Clouds

7% ABV

In 1973, Boo Berry joined Franken Berry and Count Chocula to round out the infamous Monster Cereal trio. A wiggly blue cartoon ghost welcomed us to the first ever blueberry-flavored cereal haunted by marshmallows. Skookum Purple Clouds IPA is the Boo Berry of craft beer, brewed with loads of oats, puffed wild rice and lactose … and house puréed blueberries and whole vanilla beans then hopped generously with Simcoe, Citra and Mosaic hops. It’s Boo Beery with notes of jam, mild citrus, breakfast grains and loads of fruit. It has a soft, luscious mouthfeel along with restrained bitterness and semi-sweet finish for a beer that’s so crushable it’s like lapping up spoonful after spoonful of Boo Berry.

Wingman-Brewers-Smores-Porter-TacomaWingman S’mores Porter

8% ABV

Along with Franken Berry, Count Chocula hit the scene in 1971. The mascot was based on the most popular and easily recognizable of movie monsters — Count Dracula. Count Chocula was a vampire who prefers chocolate to blood to naturally his cereal was chocolate flavor frosted cereal plus marshmallow bits, much like Wingman Brewers’ S’mores Porter, the second collaboration porter with Tacoma bottle shop, taproom and restaurant, Peaks and Pints (Peaks and Pints Perfect Proctor Porter was the first). Peter Brown, Wingman Brewers lead brewer on the S’mores Porter sang campfire songs as both ownerships stirred Pale, Chocolate, Victory, Black and Carafa Type 2 malts in the mash tun. As Cascade and Saaz hops boiled the campers tossed in an endless stream of marshmallows and Honey Maid Graham Crackers. The dessert porter sports a tingly, medium mouthfeel, followed by roasted malt, graham cracker, cocoa and marshmallow with long chocolate finish.

Urban-Family-Nillasicle-TacomaUrban Family Nillasicle

8.3% ABV

Yummy Mummy made his great debut in 1987, featuring fruit-flavored cereal and vanilla-flavored marshmallows. Sadly for Yummy Mummy, he only made it for five years, disappearing in 1992. However in 2013, it made a second temporary return in fall of 2013 reappearing to haunt as an orange-cream flavored cereal with regular marshmallows, similar to Urban Family Brewing’s Nillasicle IPA. Some might frown upon a beer that mimics Nilla wafers, but that’s because their taste buds are stuffy. This hybrid double IPA sports multiple dry-hop additions of Citra and Simcoe for a tropical-citrus-piney aroma nose-punch. Let the beer nerds choke down a triple IPA today — it leaves more Nillsicle for the rest of us.