When I visited Fort George Brewing on a crisp afternoon in April, my friends and I shared a flight of eight beers that spanned the map, stylistically. Which do I remember, three months later? Tuesday’s Lunch, a macadamia nut and blackberry flavored stout whose pillowy malt base stood in for the bread component of a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That beer was one of the remnants of Fort George’s Stout Month celebration, and I filed it away as a fun one-off, not expecting to taste three more PB&J beers in the next few months.
Do we have a mini trend on our hands? Let’s hope so. I’ll admit these beers sound gimmicky, but after tasting Terrapin’s Liquid Lunch porter, Listermann’s Nutcase peanut butter porter with raspberry jam, and Pateros Creek’s Rattlesnake Jack blackberry, peanut and chipotle wild ale, I’m a believer. The beers lean jammy or peanuty depending on which you’re drinking, but all have that classic sweet-savory interplay that characterizes a PB&J.
Fruit beer fans should head straight for Liquid Lunch, whose raspberry-heavy aroma is reminiscent of a Founders Rubaeus. There’s only faint peanut butter on the sip, with bitter roast standing in to add depth and counter the sweet fruit. Peanut fans, on the other hand, will gravitate toward the Listermann offering…if they can get their hands on it. It’s a version of the brewery’s GABF medalling Peanut Butter Porter, but with raspberry jam. There’s ashy, dry peanut flavor in both the aroma and sip, with just a thin current of tart fruit flowing underneath. (Our genius move? Blending the Listermann and Terrapin. Now that’s a killer PB&J porter.)
For drinkers who want something totally out-of-the-box, Pateros Creek’s Rattlesnake Jack (available in limited quantities in cans) is an exploration of just how far this flavor combo can go. It’s a wild ale, fermented with a house yeast and lactobacillus, brewed with dry-roasted peanuts, blackberries and chipotle peppers. All three are present in the tart sip: blackberry jamminess hits first, followed by dry peanut shell flavors and a cresting chipotle heat that dissipates on the sip. There’s plenty going on, but the beer is well-constructed and its flavors progress in an orderly fashion that lets you enjoy each before the next hits the tongue. It’s probably not for everyone (what wild ale is?), but we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Which PB&J beers have you tried and enjoyed? Let us know in the comments, since we’re clearly on the hunt for more.