Jelly Belly Debuts Beer-Flavored Jelly Bean

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The local Fairfield company Jelly Belly has made hundreds, perhaps thousands, of jelly bean flavors since they debuted in the summer of 1976. But their newest one, draft beer, really got my attention.

Apparently, for decades, a beer-flavored jelly bean has been one of their most highly-requested flavors. But their “research and development team wanted to get it just right before announcing the new flavor to the world.”

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“This took about three years to perfect,” says Ambrose Lee, research and development manager for Jelly Belly Candy Company. “The recipe includes top secret ingredients, but I can tell you it contains no alcohol.” The biggest question they first had to answer was what type of beer to make into a jelly bean. “Ale or Lager? Stout? Lambic? Pilsner? In the end, the company opted to pay homage to its German ancestry with a Hefeweizen-inspired ale flavor, and Draft Beer Jelly Belly® jelly beans took shape.”

According to Jelly Belly:

The effervescent and crisp flavor is packed in a golden jelly bean with an iridescent finish. Beer connoisseurs will find the flavor profile to be clean with notes of wheat and a touch of sweetness. The aroma is mildly bready. While Draft Beer packs a flavor punch, it is alcohol free.

The new flavor will debut at this week’s Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and ISM in Cologne, Germany, and will be released on store shelves shortly thereafter, in early 2014.

Last night they had an event at the 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco, where they handed out small packages of the new flavor. At first, I thought I could only get some banana flavors with a hint of clove in the background, but not much else, and little in the way of what I’d call “beer” flavor. But in conversations with other there at the event, what emerged was that the flavors I’d been searching for disappeared if you drank an actual beer beforehand. Several people I talked to recounted the same experience, but those who resisted the temptation to order a beer first had a very different experience with the jelly beans.

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Happily, I took a few packets home with me, and tried them again this morning before my usual cup of breakfast beer (kidding). Anyway, the theory of the night before proved true. They do actually have a subtle beery flavor with wheat and the banana and clove notes you’d expect in a hefeweizen. It’s not a strong taste, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I assume when you have actual beer in your mouth that it kills the subtler flavors in the candy.

Last night, I also spend some time talking with Rob, one of the Jelly Belly R&D guys who worked on creating the new beer flavored jelly bean. He mentioned that they’d originally considered doing a craft beer assortment but getting the first one right took so long that they abandoned that idea. I offered some suggestions, and who knows, maybe we’ll see some more types of beer turned into jelly beans in the future. I suspect many people will think of it as just a gimmick, but the company has a long history of creating original flavors that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect. So why not. They’ve done a cocktail line of jelly beans, so beer frankly only makes sense. If you see some, give them a try. Just don’t have a beer first.

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Holiday Gift Guide For Craft Beer Lovers

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Today’s Black Friday infographic, which for the start of the traditional holiday shopping season, is a “Holiday Gift Guide For Craft Beer Lovers” brought to you by Lets Pour, an online beverage retailer. All of the items on the gift guide are stocked by them. So instead of braving the absurd crowds today you can do all of your holiday beer shopping from the comfort of your home, with a beer in your hand.

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Click here to see the gift guide full size.

Turkey & Travel: How We Celebrate Thanksgiving

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Today’s bonus infographic is all about the holiday, entitled Turkey & Travel: How We Celebrate Thanksgiving. It was created by Nationwide Bank, and shows a number of factoids about Thanksgiving, including a comparison of what was served at the first one compared to our modern meals.

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Click here to see the infographic full size.

Beer At The Thanksgiving Table

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Thirty years ago, in November 1983, Michael Jackson wrote an article for the Washington Post entitled “Beer at the Thanksgiving Table.” It was subtitled “Wine is acceptable for this annual feast, but what if you prefer beer?” It was apparently one of his first pieces on the topic of pairing beer and food.

The article contains one of my favorite quotes by Michael:

To give thanks is a matter of joy; should that be confined by excessive sobriety? Better still, Thanksgiving is an annual opportunity to refresh old friendships and make new ones, in which matter both the ritual and effect of a shared glass is the best tie.

When you consider this was written when Sierra Nevada was still a very small brewery, New Albion had just closed and Mendocino Brewing had only been founded the same year, it’s a remarkable time piece. Nobody was even thinking about pairing beer with food yet. Now we take it for granted. But back then most people still needed convincing. This is great reminder of how far we’ve come and how much of debt of thanks we owe to Michael.

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Here’s Michael’s suggested general pairing suggestions from thirty years ago:

As an aperitif: Dry, hoppy beers with some bitterness. Try New Amsterdam (from New York) or Anchor Steam (San Francisco).

With fish: Pilsners. Almost all of the well-known American beers are loosely of this style. So are the best-known imported brands, like Heineken and Carlsberg. Czech and German Pilsners tend to be drier, and therefore go especially well with the more oily varieties of fish.

Shellfish: Dry stouts or porters.

Smoked meats, sausages: If you can find it, the smoked Rauchbier of Bamberg, Germany. Or a German altbier or weizenbeier.

Pasta: The less spicy pasta dishes of Northern Italy go quite well with the Munich Dark type of beer. It is, after all, commonly served with the admittedly-heavier noodle dishes of Germany.

Fowl: Munich Light with turkey; perhaps the slightly less sweet Dortmunder style might go better with chicken.

Red Meat: English Pale Ale.

Game: Scottish ale, which is heavier.

But take the time to go back and read the entire article. And give thanks that nobody looks at you funny when you bring beer to the Thanksgiving meal. As is my personal tradition, I’m enjoying some Anchor Christmas Ale with my meal, something I’ve been doing for roughly twenty-five years. Happy Thanksgiving.

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What Should I Bring To Thanksgiving?

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Today’s infographic is a flowchart to help people answer the question “What Should I Bring To Thanksgiving?” It was created by someone at Chow. But you’d better hope you’re going to a dinner at a casual friend’s house, because that’s the only way you’re getting a decent beer, or at least “bombers of Dogfish Head ALe, whatever that is.

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Beer In Ads #1029: How The American Turkey Captured France


Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from November 1948. Part of their “Great Contributions to Good Taste” series, according to the story, it was poor French peasants who discovered that turkeys could be raised and eaten and they became wildly popular there, when news travelled back to the colonies and the rest, as they say, is history. Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow,

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Beer-Fed Turkeys Taste Better

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An AP story, Farmer says beer for birds improves flavor, claims that at least one farmer believes that’s the case. According to the AP article, Joe Morette of New Hampshire started giving his turkeys beer in 1993, when on a hot July day, “[a] turkey knocked one over and started drinking and they’ve been sipping the suds ever since.” He continues. “Morette, who prefers serving the turkeys lager, insists the beer makes birds fatter, more flavorful and juicier.” Peta is reportedly against this and stated “turkeys shouldn’t be fed beer and ‘farmers across the country use questionable practices to keep costs down or to alter the taste of animals’ flesh because their priority is profit, not the animals’ welfare.'” As far as I ‘m concerned that’s reason enough it’s a good idea.

Happily, cooler heads prevailed. “[A] poultry expert with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension said it is unlikely that the birds are suffering. ‘I don’t know exactly how much beer each turkey is consuming, but it would have to be a lot in order for it to kind of have the same effect as too much beer on people,’ said Carl Majewski, a field specialist in food and agriculture.”

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It could even be good for them.

Kathi Brock, national director of Humane Heartland, which oversees the treatment of farm animals, said that standards from the American Humane Association don’t prohibit serving beer to animals. “I consulted with an avian veterinarian who said that while giving beer to turkeys is not a standard protocol, hops could be beneficial for the intestinal tract,” Brock said.