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Carla Jean Lauter

Carla Jean Lauter is a craft beer lover and investigator of all things beer. She started a craft beer website and blog thebeerbabe.com in 2007, sharing her thoughts as she explored what was new in beer, as well as brewery visits, trips and "beer adventures." Moving to Portland in 2009, she found herself surrounded by the Maine beer community and has been exploring it ever since. In her blog, Carla profiles craft beer (and some mead and cider, too) being brewed in Maine, as well as looks into the people, places and stories behind the beer that makes the community so vibrant. Join Carla on her beer adventures and advice on where to get the best, newest, and most interesting fermented drinks around. Carla can be contacted at askthebeerbabe [at] gmail.com or on twitter at @beerbabe. Subscribe: RSS Feed for The Beer Babe

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The Beer Babe with Carla Jean Lauter
Posted: January 31, 2014

Beer-inspired jelly beans

I’m not usually a sweets person – give me a great plate of cheese and meat and I’ll be your friend for life. But when I saw the press releases floating around about new beer flavored jelly beans from Jelly Belly, I knew that I had to get some. After some reaching out, Jelly Belly sent me a care package with the new flavor and a few extra flavors to create recipes with.

The beans themselves contain no alcohol, and it isn’t their first foray into adult beverage flavors – there are already flavors for fruity drinks like margaritas, daiquiris and piña colatas. But in response to steady requests for a beer flavored bean, they decided to design one.

They are cool looking – the beans are a golden color with a sparkly quality to them. They smell like bread and yeast. Ok, go ahead and laugh at the idea of me carefully smelling a jelly bean…

The package came with a little beer stein as well so I had to put them in there. Because it’s cute.

The taste. Well, first I tried one bean. Then I tried five in my mouth at once.

There is – if you inhale at the right moment – a beer quality to their flavor. It’s not the breadiness of the aroma but almost a beer-ish undertone. The problem is, though, that they’re too sweet. After that first bite or two, the taste kind of fades back into being “generic jelly bean” as you chew.

However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have potential. There are a little bit of lemony notes in there, and it is not in any way an unpleasant flavor – kind of like a super light hefeweizen or maybe a summer ale.

My major suggestion for improvement would be to turn up the bitterness just a little bit more. Add some hoppy notes – not too much, but just enough so you can remember it’s beer all the way through. I did thoroughly enjoy eating them, however, and I’d probably pick them up again if I saw them in a store. (Their website says they’ll be back in February).

Also kind of fun was that they included “recipes” to mix these draft beer beans with others, which is something fun that Jelly Belly has done for some time.

First up – beer sangria. I have never seen a real-life beer sangria, but I tried it anyway. The peach is so fruity and juicy it overwhelmed things a little, but maybe if you substituted a sour cherry you could approximate a  lambic. Similarly, their recipe for apple cider was a little overwhelmed by the apple. Still tasty, though.

Then, I saw this:

First of all, it came as a surprise to me that there is now a tabasco flavored jelly bean. (To anyone listening: please do sriachia next!). Michelada is a drink that’s a mix of beer, hot sauces and lime juice – and something I have never personally tried -if anyone knows of somewhere I can get a good one, please let me know.

I bravely amassed these beans in hand, expecting something gross – but was pleasantly surprised. Unlike the apple & peach beans, the lime was a nice unifier of tastes, instead of dominator. I think you could do this w/o the tabasco and end up with a successful impression of the mexican beer & lime combination.

For the craft beer geek, I think there’s a little ways to go here. But if they do up the bitterness of the bean’s formula a tad, I could imagine more recipes.

Maybe…

  • Draft Beer + Cappuchino + Chocolate Pudding = Coffee Stout
  • Draft Beer + Lemon Drop = Shandy
  • Draft Beer + Banana + Orange = Hefeweizen

For now, I’m enjoying the novelty of the beer beans and hoping that a few beer geeks can enhance this experience in future batches.

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