Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
Several weeks back, I stopped at my local bottle shop to grab an assortment of high-end singles to share with a friend who snagged some stuff from Other Half Brewing Company. While I had an idea of what I wanted from a couple of breweries, including one of my favorites, I was at a loss on how to round out my six-pack of 16-ounce pounder cans. Whenever I visit this shop, there’s always several efforts from Decadent Ales sitting on their social media shelf, which is nothing more than popular beers the company promotes via its Facebook and Instagram accounts. I finally, after seeing oddly-unique stuff from Decadent, decided to buy one – Bacon French Toast.
Located just outside of New York City, Decadent Ales is a nanobrewery that creates seemingly bizarre efforts, though it seems to always have a finger on the pulse of innovative beer. It was founded back in 2016 by Paul Pignataro, Jim LeRay and Andrew LeRay in an 1,800-square foot facility underneath a chocolate shop and the company focuses on New England style IPAs and dessert-inspired pastry stouts. Decadent continued to evolve and grow in popularity, moving into a new facility in 2018, while pumping out a rotating list of dessert-inspired brews.
Bacon French Toast caught my attention because it’s two things I very much love, but I really contemplated how a brewery could bring those complex flavors to a beer and still make it taste refreshingly delicious. It’s an 8.4 percent ABV New England IPA that features maple syrup, caramelized sugar and bacon, all of which is explained on the label. Speaking of the label, it’s a light robin’s egg blue color featuring a French-looking chef holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a big strip of bacon in the other – oh and his body is a giant slab of French toast.
I really didn’t know what to expect here, but one I popped it open, I got a healthy whiff of maple syrup and vanilla that was surprisingly reminiscent of French toast. I noticed a little of the brown sugar and some sort of citrusy fruit in there as well but couldn’t quite place it. Bacon French Toast is a medium-bodied effort and poured like it, with a golden color and a lackluster head – that would prove to kind of hurt the overall carbonation as I made my way through this beer. Maybe it’s just not up to my specific preference?
When it comes to taste, this beer blew my mind. It really did offer the qualities of French Toast and I could certainly taste it with each and every sip. I’m not so sure where the bacon comes in, perhaps some bacon smoke flavor, but it really might’ve just enhanced the overall characteristics of the French toast taste. I did notice a slight piney bitterness on the back-end as well as some orange and floral notes mixed in. There were likely some other flavors in there as well but I found the maple syrup to be so potent that I couldn’t really get anything else out of this beer. I could notice the sweetness of the caramelized sugar that was used, however.
Before I score this beer, I would like to say that I think Decadent executed it wonderfully. If you purchase this beer hoping for a French toast taste, that’s exactly what you get. Having said that, I just don’t think it’s something for me, as I didn’t care for the combination of the two. I found it to lack drinkability, especially after the initial novelty wore off. It’s everything it claims to be on the label – but too adventurous for what I expect a New England IPA to be. I’m not sure how much it costs for a four-pack but I paid $4.60 for this particular single. When I went on to BeerAdvocate, the overall score was 3.84 and I thought that was high. I would give Bacon French Toast a score of 5.5 out of 10. I really need to try something a little more straight-ahead from Decadent, because it’s clear the brewery knows what it’s doing.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.