Beer is definitely a versatile substance. You can, of course, drink it, I’ve also read that women have used it as a hair treatment (hop-scented hair? Not sure if I should be thirsty or turned on), and I’d probably eat my own foot if it were cooked in a craft-brewed pale ale reduction. But up until now no one had made the connection between beer and the world of confections.
Yeah, I’m talking beer in your candy. It’s about time that all those rum balls and Bailey’s-filled bonbons got knocked off their pretty pedestal. Enter Beercandy, the beer world’s answer to the raised nose of spirited sweets.
Beercandy was started back in late 2010 by fellow homebrewer, beer nerd and all around craft brew-fueled culinarian Steve Casselman. According to the story (bound to become the stuff of legend), Steve was enjoying a Belgian beer fest with fellow members of his homebrew club, The Maltose Falcons, and it came time to taste an exotic lambic called Rose de Gambrinus. Apparently, it was so damn sour that the members of the club quipped “You can’t do anything with that beer.” Steve took that as a challenge and decided to make some lambic lollipops. Once thing lead to another and, as homebrewers are meant to be, Steve found himself slave to beer candy experimentation.
The end result? How about a selection of beer-fueled, chocolate-covered caramels and hop-oil flavored hard candy? I thought that’d get your attention. Let’s hit the caramels first. Beercandy’s caramel line-up features a White Chocolate IPA, Dark Chocolate Stout, Milk Chocolate Lager and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Lambic.
And just to allay any fears that these things won’t live up to expectations, let me just say my experience was a good one. The chocolate is definitely high-quality, no waxy carob BS here, and the caramels are just chewy enough to get the point across without ripping your fillings out. As for the beer flavors? Subtle restraint is the best way I can describe them. The malt of the lager plays well with the dark chocolate and you can certainly pick out the hops in the IPA as it melds into the creamy white chocolate. The dark chocolate and the slight fruity sourness of the raspberry lambic is a killer combination. To round things out, you’ve got the double chocolate punch of the stout caramel. Not to get melodramatic, after all, it’s only chocolate, but these things are brilliant.
And because Mr. Casselman wasn’t content to stop at chocolates he’s managed to tickle the sweet tooth of the hopheads out there with his Hop Drops. Nothing too complicated here, just the sweetness of hard candy doused with a bit of all natural hop oil. Think of the Hop Drops as the nicotine gum for hop addicts. Great for places where you can’t get your hop fix like church and the office.
The Beercandy line is just one more reason why we homebrewers are a gift to this planet. If it weren’t for the endless tinkering of guys like Steve Casselman things like white chocolate IPA caramels and Hop Drops wouldn’t exist. I for one don’t ever want to know a world without them again. The caramels are available in either 4 or 12 packs as individual flavors or mixed variety packs. Hop Drops come in both 4 and 8oz bags and two flavors, American Cascade and British Fuggles. You can order your Beercandy at Beercandy.com. (And if you want to spread the word get one of their t-shirts too.)
12-pack Assorted Caramels $18.50
8oz Hop Drops $15.00