Weekend Sip: You can now get drunk on peanut butter
The can: Mother Earth Brew Co.’s Sin Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout, $ 12 for a six-pack
The back story: For many, peanut butter is a beloved food going back to childhood, as in the proverbial PB&J sandwich. But who would think that peanut butter might be the “it” flavor among the craft-beer crowd?
Yes, brewers are incorporating the food into their offerings, often in tandem with chocolate and even jelly (or fruit) flavorings. Mother Earth Brew Co., a craft producer that was founded in California nine years ago, has found particular success with its Sin Tax peanut-butter beer.
The Mother Earth team admits it was inspired by another California brewer that concocted a peanut-butter cup porter. So it tried its own version, but in the form of an imperial stout, a higher-alcohol variation (8.1 % ABV in the case of Sin Tax) on the popular dark-colored stout style. Either way, the beer maker says it’s about playing into our love of peanut butter. It “is a very rich and somewhat decadent ingredient that reminds people of dessert, or even childhood, so there is a nostalgic factor at play,” says a company spokesman.
As to how the beer is made, Mother Earth won’t give away too many secrets. But the company says it uses a peanut-butter “derivative” (as opposed to actual peanut butter) and it claims the beer is thus safe to drink even for individuals with a peanut allergy.
The peanut-butter stout has emerged as one of the brewer’s most popular sips and is carried widely. (Mother Earth is distributed in 19 states, plus internationally.) In fact, it is often combined in a glass with another popular Mother Brew beer, Cali Creamin’ Vanilla Cream Ale. The result has been dubbed a “Cali-Tax.”
What we think about it: This is proof that craft brewers will try just about anything. And we’re all for experimentation — provided the idea works. In the case of Sin Tax, the peanut flavor is very subtle — more like a nutty sweetness than an actual explosion of peanut butter. That might make it a little disappointing to hard-core fans of the food, but we actually think it works in the beer’s favor and gives it a rounded taste that complements the overall richness of the stout style. We also detected a jelly note, but the brewer says that might have been wishful thinking on our part (we do love a good PB&J).
How to enjoy it: The beer does indeed pair perfectly with a PB&J, the brewer says. But it also goes well with chocolate desserts or a plate of barbecue, the Mother Earth team adds. Oh, and you can use it recipes, too — think cupcakes and brownies.