With the rise of new hybrids, potent American wild ales, 100-percent Brettanomyces beers and bizarre spice/herb/vegetable saisons (among others), craft brewers continue to surprise. But, it’s not often you get tossed a curve ball in the form of a pale ale.
Last night, I cracked open a bottle of Ass Kisser Vanilla Pale Ale out of San Jose, Calif. Vanilla’s a fairly rare ingredient to come across: It’s mostly relegated to orange blossom wheat beers and heavy chocolate-and-vanilla stouts, so cracking open a vanilla pale is cause for pause. In short, this beer’s pure fun. At 5.5%-ABV, it’s pretty sessionable and goes down smooth with creamy, sweet vanilla and a kiss of orange and floral hops—not unlike a hoppy Creamsicle. Its snappy finish also keeps the vanilla from becoming cloying, so going back for another sip is no trouble at all. This type of beer can be divisive, for sure, but if you love vanilla, or Creamsicles, or pale ales, definitely check it out.
What’s the most surprising vanilla-infused beer you’ve come across?