Monday, July 10th, 2017

Craft Crosscut 7.10.17: A Flight of Pina Colada

Ron Swarner


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsIt’s National Piña Colada Day: And now that song is stuck in your head, which is why this day is not only absurd, but evil. In 1954, Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Oasis Bar at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, came up with a delicious, fruity cocktail that celebrated the flavors of the Caribbean. The Piña Colada, made with rum, pineapple, and coconut, was an instant hit. Creamy, sweet, and tart, the cocktail quickly caught on with tourists and locals alike. The Piña Colada eventually became the official drink of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the cocktail’s popularity also became its demise, as restaurants and bars started making the frothy concoction with pre-made mixers and syrups that in no way even resembled the freshness of the original recipe. Since it’s National Piña Colada Day, and Peaks and Pints is a craft beer bottle shop and taproom, a beer flight of Piña Colada seems to be in order. Maybe not the way “Monchito” intended but we present Craft Crosscut 7.10.17: A Flight of Piña Colada.

Ace-Pineapple-Cider-TacomaAce Pineapple Cider

5% ABV

California Cider Company, the first family-owned cidery in the U.S., has been producing Ace ciders since 1993 in the beautiful Sabestopol seas of Sonoma County just north of San Francisco, obviously next to some of the world’s most renowned wine makers. Their Pineapple Cider, the world’s first pineapple cider, is produced by adding pineapple juice to the fermented apple base. The pineapple flavor and aromas are there but the sweetness is not. It is similar to nibbling on the core of a fresh-cut pineapple. You get the entire tropical pineapple flavor without the over-the-top sweetness. The tartness of the pineapple provides the cider with slight acidity, which stays on the palate.

Maui-Mana-Wheat-TacomaMaui Mana Wheat

5.5% ABV, 20 IBU

Looking for a German-style wheat beer with a delirious touch of tiki? Nestle up to the bar for Maui Brewing’s Mana Wheat. The Hawaiian brewery has, obviously, thrown in Maui Gold Pineapple into its wheat beer. Aloha! At first all you’re likely to detect in the nose is a nice bright hefeweizen aroma of bananas and clove. Ultra-ripe pineapple flavor shows up subtly in the medium-length finish (along with a mild hop note), then gradually becomes more noticeable, though never heavy-handed. This craft beer literally brings the islands of Hawaii to you!

Maui-Brewing-Coconut-Hiwa-PorterMaui Brewing Coconut Hiwa Porter

6% ABV, 30 IBU

Brewed with hand-toasted coconut and six varieties of malted barley, the Coconut Hiwa Porter is a very dark, almost impenetrable, black coffee color. The aroma recalls baked coconut macaroons or, on the other end of the spectrum, coconut suntan lotion. The coconut flavor is present, but not overwhelming in the mouth, along with other roasted earthy lactose flavors. As you move the velvety brew over the tongue, woodsy pine notes from the hops deliver just enough bitterness to balance. Coconut Porter benefits from flavors that are smoothly blended and not too heavy. It’s a solid porter you could drink all night — or all day, while catching swell at the glass-free beach. Okole maluna!

Wingman-P-51-Coconut-PorterWingman P-51 Coconut Porter

8% ABV, 31 IBU

The P-51 Porter was Wingman Brewers‘ first real beer recipe. “It goes back to 2008 when Derrick (Moyer) and I were home brewing,” explains Thoburn. “At the time, Lazy Boy Porter from Everett was my favorite beer around, so we tried to emulate that. The beer was initially made for a friend’s birthday and called Nalty’s Tall Order Porter since he’s a tall dude and asked us to make a Porter for his birthday party. The beer went over so well with our friends that it remains the only recipe we’ve never changed since Wingman started … with Washington-grown barley and Moxie Valley hops.” The P-51 Porter is a robust and clean-finishing porter that offers rich, malty flavors that highlight hints of chocolate, coffee, nuts and smoke. Wingman Brewers introduced a coconut porter to the Port Townsend Strange Brewfest several years ago. It was a huge hit. The coconut version adds elements of toasted coconut aroma and flavor.

Ballast-Point-Pineapple-SculpinBallast Point Pineapple Sculpin

7% ABV, 70 IBU

In 1992, homebrewing enthusiast Jack White opened Home Brew Mart in San Diego — a shop filled with supplies, ingredients and instructions for helping his fellow brewers make better beer at home. A simple shop it remained until Yuseff Cherney, an award-winning homebrewer himself, hopped aboard. The two men opened Ballast Point Brewing in the back of the store in 1996. Today, Ballast Point makes nearly 40 varieties of beer, the best known is Sculpin, an American-style IPA. Named after a type of fish that, though equipped with poisonous spikes, is also considered very flavorful, the brew is hopped at five separate stages during the brewing process, including a final dry-hop with the pungent American varieties Amarillo and Simcoe. Pineapple Sculpin is this same IPA brewed with sweet, juicy pineapple. Pours a clear golden orange with a khaki head. Smell is of citrus fruit, citrus zest, pineapple juice, and pineapple chunk aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest, grapefruit juice, and pineapple juice flavors on the finish.