Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Sampling "beer" snacks you can buy at the store

"Beer" products now on sale at your local market (© Brian Brown/Beer in Big D).

What's in a name? Well, if it's a food item found on local store shelves with "beer" in the name, you'd naturally expect to experience something beer-like in the flavor. The thing is, though, not every implied infusion actually contains beer.

For example, Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa is made with beer from Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., a fellow Fort Worth business. Yet, on the coupling of two other Cowtown companies, there's not a drop of Martin House beer in a Best Maid Beer Pickle.

Indeed, on the grocery aisle, "beer" is a term to be taken either literally or figuratively, depending on the product. Even then, beer as an ingredient doesn't always translate to "beer" as a tasting note in the literal cases, while all bets are off when it comes to food items trying to be "beer-flavored" without the benefit of beer.

In any case, below you'll find notes on nine products for sale in North Texas with beer (or ale, porter, etc.) in the name or the ingredients. Some have beer, some don't. And, of course, some have the taste beer, while others taste like nothing of the sort.

Harpoon Alehouse Cheddar
:  For this product, cheese curds are soaked in both Harpoon IPA and Harpoon Dark (a Munich-style dunkel) from Harpoon Brewery of Massachusetts . The result is a firm, crumbly cheese with a strong flavor element likely attributable to the beer, though I don't really get the "hoppy" impression noted in the commercial description.

Maker: Vermont Farmstead Cheese Co. (South Woodstock, Vermont).

Purchased at: Market Street.

Red Dragon Cheddar Cheese with Wholegrain Mustard & Ale: Its packaging lists "ale" as an ingredient, but a further search suggests this cheese is blended with a Welsh brown ale. Red Dragon is a soft and creamy cheddar, with a well-balanced taste profile. A mild mustard flavor is most prominent, with a bit of brown ale coming out in the aftertaste.

Maker: Somerdale International (Wellington, Somerset, England).

Purchased at: Central Market.

Sierra Nevada Mustard
: Two varieties of mustard incorporating beers from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of California are available on local shelves. The first, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Honey Spice Mustard, is sweet and spicy with an earthy element and a smooth texture. As for the other, Sierra Nevada Porter & Spicy Brown Mustard is bolder and grainier, coming across as a darker version of French's Spicy Brown Mustard.

Maker: Frank's Famous Foods (Lafayette, California).

Purchased at: Market Street.

Boardwalk Craft Beer Pretzels:
 Beer isn't among the ingredients, so we'll assume these Pilsner and Stout-flavored pretzels are designed to mimic the respective beers. Maybe they do, maybe they don't. Either way, both are salty and sawdust-like at their core. The Pilsner pretzels are herbal with some sweetness, while the Stout pretzels have traces of brown sugar and cocoa powder, along with an intense, sort of dipped-in flat brown ale kind of flavor.

Maker: Boardwalk Food Co. (Sarasota, Florida).

Purchased at: Central Market.

Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa
: Made with Texas Red American Amber from Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. of Fort Worth, Mrs. Renfro's Craft Beer Salsa is Pace-like, but more complex as it delivers a moderate kick with a noticeable malt sweetness in the finish.

Maker: Renfro Foods (Fort Worth, Texas).

Purchased at: Kroger.

Wackym's The Temptress Cookies: Infused with The Temptress Imperial Milk Stout from Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland, what emerges from this pairing is a chocolatey, malty butter cookie that makes for an ideal snack pairing with the beer for which it's named.

Maker: Wackym's Kitchen (Dallas, Texas).

Purchased at: Central Market.

Best Maid Beer Pickles
:  No beer is used in the pickling process for Best Maid's beer pickles. Instead, the company adds lemon and coriander to the brine to model the flavor profile of The Salty Lady from Martin House Brewing Co. of Fort Worth. What emerges is a tart, salty pickle with a hint of lemon essence.

Maker: Best Maid Pickles (Fort Worth, Texas).

Purchased at: Market Street, Best Maid Pickle Emporium.

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