Draft Beer Jelly Bean Pairings

Michael Donato, September 24, 2015

If someone buys you a bag of beer flavored jelly beans, what do you do with it? 

Well, you eat them. Specifically, you eat them while drinking beer in a beer on beer pairing that might actually be a little silly.

As you might expect, these jelly beans are not exploding with hop flavor. They’re basically grainy sugar with a very mild light malt taste. So, I starting having two or three with a beer when I remembered, and took notes.

Troegs Nugget Nectar
Masks all the malt sweetness, so you get a very dry hop bitterness and lose a lot of the normal juiciness.

Sixpoint Hi-Res
Masks the sweetness again, in this case it really accents the hops, so you get a lot of tangy grapefruit exploding in your mouth.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed
Lots of juicy hops. Particularly citrusy, especially orange. Like orange zest.

Weihenstephaner Oktoberfestbier
Get a little bit of a sour note (I think this might be a bit skunked), some hops, and a flavor that reminds me of a macro lager, perhaps Kirin.

Carton 077xx
Creamy on the first sip, with almost a licorice hoppiness. This works very well, sine theres not a ton of malt to mask.

Ölvisholt Lava Stout
Doubles the smokiness of this one, in a good way. A little bit creamier with a sweet finish.

Troegs Cultivator
Get more of what I’d describe as Bockiness, probably yeast character. A little more bitterness, and a dryer finish.

Ballast Point Dead Ringer
Crisp, citrusy lightness. A little resin feel. Beans taste juicier as I finish. 

Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin
Gives a big hop burst at first, then the heat sneaks in and overwhelms everything. 

The theme here is much the same. The sweet sugary jelly beans make it tough to taste any of the sweet malt in the beer, meaning the other flavors get accented. Depending on your taste and the beer, this could be a good thing. A solid double IPA doesn’t have much malt to lose, and much of the character comes from the hops. Smoky or spicy beers easily get way out of balance, but it’s a fun way to really isolate and taste those flavors. 

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd and still has half a bag of jelly beans. You can also email him at beer@ceetar.com.