I love sugary breakfast cereals. Apple Jacks, Lucky Charms, Count Chocula. All have that sweet, crunchy goodness and turn the taste of the milk into something that makes you want to slurp every last drop.
Now, what if you could impart that taste into beer?
A small but growing number of craft brewers are discovering the combination can indeed result in a special brew.
Mike Wallace, owner and brewmaster at Ten10 Brewing in downtown Orlando, has produced several small batch cereal-themed beers for special events: Lucky Charms in a milk stout for St. Patrick’s Day and Cinnamon Toast Crunch to spice up an oatmeal stout for an anniversary part were two winners. “The beers are awesome,” Wallace said.
Devour Brewingin Boynton Beach, Fla. used 17 pounds of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for its Cinnamilk Cream Ale that came out in September. Devour tapped the brew on a Friday night just as research for this article was beginning.
Devour Owner and Brewer Chip Breighner said he was trying to recreate that cereal milk taste just as you finish the bowl. His inspiration: “One day the idea just popped into my head,” he said. That led him to local grocery store to buy 15 boxes cereal which happened to be on a 2 for 1 sale.
“These days nothing is off limits for breweries,” said Breighner, who used to work on bars’ tap systems for a distributor before opening Devour in a small industrial park in 2015. “If it’s edible we put that in beer.”
Breighner also added Madagascar vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks to the Cinnamilk brew which took 3 weeks to ferment. The beer has a distinct cinnamon taste which doesn’t hit the palate until after first swallow. For now, the beer is just available on tap at the brewery.
At least one brewery has bottled their breakfast cereal beer. Black Bottle Brewery in Fort Collins, Colo., has done that with its Cerealiously Count Chocula, a dark, full bodied stout, and a few others made with Golden Grahams, Reese’s Puffs and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Dustin Larson, a cicerone at Black Bottle, said there’s a simple reason for the beer-cereal combo:
“There’s lots of flavors in cereal that offer up some great flavors in beer,” Larson said. The brewery has also done brews with Honey Bunches of Oats, Peanut Butter Crunch. A typical batch includes 30 pounds of the cereal.
“They’ve been received very well by the public,” he said. “Typically we see a good buzz on social media when it’s time for the next release and crowds come in seeking it specifically.”
This month, Black Bottle brewed an early batch of the Count Chocula version to enter it in to Great American Beer Festival and will have the official release with the next batch in October just in time for Halloween.
Fulton Brewing, which is down the road from cereal giant General Mills in Minneapolis, last year made a HefeWheaties. So popular, it was available in cans in the region.
Wheaties is not actually in the beer, but there is wheat.
“We were intrigued from the get-go on this idea for many reasons, including that we’re both Minneapolis companies, and that the beer and the cereal both started from the same place in terms of raw ingredients and the same city,” says Ryan Petz, president and co-founder of Fulton.
The Hefeweizen is a German style of wheat beer, typically brewed with over 50 percent malted wheat, making it a natural fit for Wheaties.
“This was a true partnership between Wheaties and Fulton,” says David Oehler, marketing manager of Wheaties. “Both teams were passionate about this project and got to work quickly. We enjoyed the chance to collaborate with Fulton throughout the entire process from idea generation to can design.”
Funky Buddha Brewing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has a beer called Sticky Treats Rice and Marshmallow Blond Ale that until recently was name Rice Krispy Treat Ale. The brewery does not use Rice Krispies in making the beer, but instead a flaky rice and vanilla to give it that familiar sweet taste of a Rice Krispy Treat.
Phil Galewitz has been writing about the the craft brewing industry in the Mid-Atlantic states since 2011. He lives in Washington D.C. and South Florida. Twitter: @philgalewitz Instagram: Philmorebeer. He visits over 300 breweries a year across the United States.