Why 21st Amendment’s Pop-Tart Beer Tastes Better Than It Sounds

21st Amendment's Toaster Pastry beer was inspired by Pop-Tarts.
21st Amendment's Toaster Pastry beer was inspired by Pop-Tarts.

After years of planning, San Francisco's 21st Amendment Brewery has expanded with a new brewhouse capable of fermenting 1,000 kegs of beer at a time. The new facility sits across the bay from the original, still operating, brewpub, and resides in a former Kellogg's factory. In the buildup to 21st Amendment's first batch on its new system, the company decided to create a special new beer, something to honor momentous step in the brewery's growth. They settled on a strong, hoppy ale reminiscent of the former Pop-Tarts that once filled the factory.

So why brew an homage to Kellogg's Pop-Tarts? 21st Amendment brewmaster and co-founder, Shaun O'Sullivan, says that he and fellow owner Nico Freccia felt a deep sense of nostalgia for the pre-baked pastry. "We grew up with Pop-Tarts and loved that our brewery is in a place that made them," he says. "And, they're more interesting than a Corn Flakes beer."

Thankfully, the resulting Toaster Pastry India red ale better resembles a West Coast IPA, with a little extra malt character, than a sweet, starchy breakfast treat. "The idea was create the flavor profile of biting into a Pop-Tart," says O'Sullivan, "not make a liquid Pop-Tart."

21st Amendment used biscuit malts for a Pop-Tart crust flavor, and dark crystal barley with fruit-forward hops to recreate the jam-like filling. Our in-house Pop-Tart expert, who also grew up on the pastry, likened the brew to the frosted cherry flavor, but agreed that it bears far more resemblance to the India red ale style listed on the can.

If you're looking for a sweet, rich dessert beer, like Rogue's Voodoo Doughnut collaborations, you'll be disappointed. Toaster Pastry is a full-flavored beer, but not as heavy as you'd expect from a 7.6-percent alcohol ale. And you certainly don't need a Pop-Tart-filled childhood to enjoy the brew. Toaster Pastry joins the 21st Amendment year-round lineup, and can be found on draft and in 19.2-ounce tallboy cans. 

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