The landscape of food-based beers is tenuous and strewn with landmines. For every gem like 21st Amendment's Toaster Pastry (a strong, hoppy red ale), there's a dud like the gimmicky Cave Creek Chili Beer, or a polarizing enigma such as the cloying Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale. So we approached the new BOOMCHICKAPOP Popcorn Ale with understandable trepidation.
Thankfully, this is no stunt beer, but a collaboration between two Mankato, Minnesota, businesses, the eponymous brewery and Angie’s Artisan Treats. "I’ve known owner Angie Bastian for a few years, and we were thinking at the brewery how a Belgian-style farmhouse ale could be made with Popcorn and Barley," say Mankato Brewery co-founder Tim Tupy. Angie's gladly sent over its air-popped popcorn — which can be broken down into fermentable sugar — and after several test batches, the brewery had a beer it loved and wanted to distribute.
If you somehow made it past BOOMCHICKAPOP Popcorn Ale's obvious name and didn't know it, the Belgian ale was made with popcorn — about a serving in every pint — you likely wouldn't guess it. The snack only lends a mild toasted aroma that blends with the barley character. For the part, BOOMCHICKAPOP is a dry, spicy Belgian ale; a perfect thirst quencher. And at 5 percent alcohol, it's a fine session beer. It's also hard not to recommend the obvious pairing of a bowl of popcorn and Netflix with a four-pack of the beer.
BOOMCHICKAPOP Popcorn Ale is currently available, but while Angie's sells nationally, the beer will be limited to Mankato Brewery's Midwest distribution through Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin.