Nope, no saccharine-sweet vanilla extract bombs here: Spring’s vanilla-infused beers are all about control and complexity. Here, our favorite six to mix right now.
MobCraft Night & Day: This beer should not work but somehow really does. A hybrid of a vanilla porter and an IPA, it pits floral, earthy vanilla against rich roast, but ties them together with roast/hop bitterness hopheads will love.
Worthy Lights Out Vanilla Cream Stout: A can of this smooth, 7.7%-ABV stunner quenches your thirst for stouty roast but perks up your palate with just a wisp of ethereal vanilla. The milkshake-smooth swallow means you slurp it down before you notice the sneaky booze.
Tallgrass Vanilla Bean Buffalo Sweat: A vanilla-spiked version of the flagship Buffalo Sweat oatmeal cream stout. Like everything else about this winter, the Kansas brewery’s cold-weather seasonal’s still available.
Mother Earth Cali’ Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale: A cross between beer and cream soda, this 5.2%-ABV easy-drinker’s brewed with a little corn and honey malt to boost sweetness yet keep the swallow clean and un-sticky.
Knee Deep Imperial Tanilla: Knee Deep’s standard Tanilla is one of the world’s best beer-float brews; the 10%-ABV imperial version may be the ultimate. It’s also splendid alone, sultry and tough at once with stoic roast and vanilla muscle.
The Tap Vanilla Norton: A subtler take on the gigantic-stout-with-syrupy-vanilla, this 9.1%-ABV sipper snakes a tail of smooth vanilla bean through a cola-like mouthfeel. The beer’s strong, ashy roast tames that sweet thread into submission.
…and on tap:
Orlando Paradise Vanilla Almond Kolsch: Crafted to celebrate the brewery’s eighth anniversary, this certified organic kolsch—available only at the brewpub—is a classic refresher ramped up with vanilla and nuts.