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 ago, I spoke to Brandon Stanko, the head brewer at DuClaw Brewing Company, about a bizarre yet intriguing new beer that had just been released. Over the course of that time, Sour Me Unicorn Farts has taken the brewery’s distribution area by storm, becoming one of those limited release efforts that almost every beer connoisseur like myself is trying to find.
While I thought it wouldn’t be easy, especially judging by social media posts of people I follow trying to get their hands on it, I managed to find a four-pack at my local beer store. I figured, since I got to talk to the person who helped bring this beer to life, I definitely had to try it – and make it the subject of one of my Thirsty Thursday features.
Based in Baltimore, DuClaw was founded in 1996 as a brewpub just outside of the city and now the company features more than 30 beers in its arsenal, which is available in 19 states. The signature beer in that lineup has to be Sweet Baby Jesus, a chocolate peanut butter porter that has won a slew of awards, including a bronze medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. Like most breweries, DuClaw is constantly looking to create innovative beer and, in this case, got some inspiration from a local Baltimore staple.
The idea for Sour Me Unicorn Farts came from Diablo Doughnuts, a Baltimore bakery that makes some pretty decadent doughnuts. One doughnut called Unicorn Farts, an iced doughnut covered with Fruity Pebbles cereal and drizzled with glaze, was the company’s top-seller and, after a visit to their bakery, Stanko and his crew immediately wanted to turn the doughnut into a beer. The liquid version is somewhat similar – a sour ale brewed with Fruity Pebbles that contains edible glitter. It’s 5.5 percent alcohol by volume, medium-bodied and, as Stanko said, balances both sweet and sour.
Sour Me Unicorn Farts can be found in kegs and in 16-ounce four-packs, though not for long, especially since 40 cases sold out in mere minutes at the launch party. The label is eye-grabbing, featuring a blue and purple color scheme, a cloud, and a cartoon unicorn with rainbows coming from its butt. On the backside is an extensive explanation of what this beer is, so the drinker knows it’s origin, as a collaboration with Diablo Doughnuts:
When I cracked it open, I immediately could tell that some sort of fruity cereal was used in the brewing process. It gives a strong fruity smell, a combination of the artificial smell of Fruity Pebbles as well as some orange, with a pretty strong tart note at the end.
It’s a deep golden color and pours like most sours, with little head. As far as the glitter, I found it to be somewhat unnoticeable when I tried to look for it but as the beer was just sitting next to me, I saw it shimmering, especially when the light hit it. If expecting heaps of glitter, almost like when you pour table salt in water, you’ll be disappointed – it’s more of just a nuance. So, if you want to see it, make sure the lighting is right.
The thing that stood out to me the most when I tried this beer, as far as the flavor is concerned, is how much orange I could notice. It jumped right out. It’s pretty strong in the orange flavor department and, like the smell, it has a sweetness which is followed by a sour tartness. There’s also a fair amount of acidity, which the cereal’s flavor kind of keeps in check, I’m thinking. I got a strong SweetTarts candy type of taste as well, which I enjoyed. I’m not sure how much flavor I anticipated from the cereal but I expected maybe a little more. Having said that, as far as sours go, I think it’s a pretty solid effort. But I couldn’t drink more than one.
I don’t mind a good, gimmicky beer. I think Stanko and the folks at DuClaw proved here they have the capabilities to make solid sour ales no matter what the ingredients. I found the potency of the cereal a little underwhelming, however. This particular four-pack was just under $14, which could change from place to place. As far as BeerAdvocate goes, the average score was 4.2 and I think that’s a little high – I would give it a 7.6 out of 10.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.