Milkshakes and Pastries … Wait, Is This A Beer Column?

Beer & Spirits

The “Uncanny Valley” refers to an instance where something fake—usually animated people in video games or movies (think Tom Hanks in Polar Express)— reaches a point where it looks so close to real that it becomes creepy. The uncanny valley in beer happens when brewers attempt to make beer taste like a certain food item so much so that it just isn’t a good beer, and climbing out of that valley is difficult. However, I think we have a couple of examples here that will satisfy your sweet tooth and can be a perfect alternative to the real thing—even if they’re a little freaky (think Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian).

Shades Brewing – German Chocolate Cake

Shades doesn’t approach the uncanny valley—they dance in it each and every night. Their German Chocolate Cake starts off with a lot of coconut on the nose, along with brown sugar, chocolate and a little vanilla. It pours black with a caramel-colored head that laces nicely on the glass. On first bite … err, sip … the coconut, chocolate and vanilla come through with a good amount of lactose. The bitter chocolate finishes the beer off nicely.

Bewilder Brewing – El Fruti Boi

Bewilder Brewing is quickly gaining a reputation for brew – ing excellent beers, and this Milkshake IPA is no exception. Brewed with pineapple, guava and lactose along with some pretty fun new hops, this beer smartly evades the uncanny valley altogether and is more IPA than milkshake. Remember that P.O.G. (passionfruit, orange and guava) drink that would occasionally end up in the back of our refrigerators as kids? This has big P.O.G. energy on the nose with a pretty heavy amount of pineapple and hops. Fruti Boi pours hazy yellow with a wispy white head that quickly disappears back into the beer, leaving just a millimeter of foam behind. On the first sip, you get the pineapple, lactose and that malty sweetness you would expect from a hazy along with some bittering hops that provides a good balance. This is the most “balanced” beer that we tried for this exercise (meaning the bitterness does a nice job of balancing out the sweetness); an excellent choice for skeptics of the style. Get it downtown at Bewilder Brewing on 400 W 400 S.

Read more from Steve Koonce:
2022 Brew Olympics
Kevin Templin: The Lupulin Lord of Utah