The craft beer industry is enjoying a growth spurt, so breweries are taking chances and having fun with non-traditional ingredients. One such trend is making beers inspired by childhood breakfast foods. I'm talking about sugary cereals like Count Chocula and my own personal childhood favorite, Pop-Tarts. But not all of these beers are what they seem.
HefeWheaties is a collaboration between General Mills and Minneapolis craft brewery Fulton. The name is a play on Hefeweizen, a German-style wheat beer. The folks at General Mills thought, "Hey, our cereal is made from wheat. Hefeweizen is made from wheat. It's kind of the same thing." But there are no actual Wheaties in this beer, and you won't find HefeWheaties outside of Minnesota.
How do these frosted strawberry pastries taste in beer form? We may never know — because the beer they inspired, Toaster Pastry, doesn't contain any of them. (Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock)
The Pop-Tart beer is named Toaster Pastry. Made by 21st Amendment in San Francisco, it's inspired by the facility where it's made — a former Kellogg's factory where Pop-Tarts were once manufactured. The beer is an India Red Ale, and like HefeWheaties, is only named for the inspiration, not the flavor. The beer will be released on Aug. 29 when 21st Amendment's new facility opens. Given my affection for Pop-Tarts, I'd like to try this beer. (I know they aren't healthy; they're an occasional guilty pleasure.)
Inspiration is one thing, but what about those weird flavors? Count Chocula Beer comes from Black Bottle Beer in Fort Collins, Colorado. This beer is true to its name; it's made with Count Chocula cereal. In fact, the brewery famously cleared out local stores of the cereal when it started making this beer. Kids couldn't have their Count Chocula for breakfast, but their parents could! To avoid that problem this year, General Mills is sending plenty of cereal to the brewery ahead of Halloween, when the cereal is typically released. The beer with a milk stout base will be released later this month.
This flavorful brew is the latest in a line of Black Bottle beers called Ceriously. Past cereals in the line have included Honey Bunches of Oats, Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Now what we need is a Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch-inspired beer. I'll be waiting in line to try that one.