Tag Archives: novelty

The Art of Novelty: Rogue’s Bacon Maple Porter

The craft-beer world is an interesting place, with various brewmasters trying to find the next big thing. It seems that the scamps at Rogue ale are going to brand themselves with cult Doughnut-house Voodoo Doughnut, and release something called Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Porter.

At first the idea sounds comical, due to the paring with Voodoo Doughnut, and the name of the beer makes it sound as if the beer will taste of the breakfast pastry. And in looking at the ingredients it well might.

The ingredient list from their full label:

Great Western 2 Row,
Maple syrup,
apple smoked bacon,
vanilla beans,
vanilla extract
Pacman yeast,
Free range coastal water.

(I can’t ignore the “Free range coastal” descriptors in front of the “water” entry, because…sheesh…it reeks of made-up marketing terms).

What’s difficult to tell is if this release is a novelty release, with them trying to leverage both Voodoo’s cult status and the(now two year passed due) Internet’s passion for all things bacon. Sure, sure, the folks at Rogue will tell you it’s a serious release, but I’m not sure if the world is ready for a bacon porter, at least not to the point where they buy it often enough to encourage Rogue to make enough supply to meet the demand. Add to the fact that this isn’t simple a maple bacon porter, it’s a maple porter with a hint of cupcake.

This is the thing about novelty releases – It’s difficult to take them that seriously.

It’s possible that I’m not reading the winds that correctly, and perhaps the beer will have demand enough for several runs over the course of the next year. This is why I’m a writer, and not in the business game. But I do want to celebrate the Rogue is doing this at all, even if it fails miserably. I adore the novel. I love companies that take risks, and introduce new and different flavors into the mainstream. This is how our collective palate changes over the course of a generation or so. Twenty years ago, Pumpkin Ales were novel as well, and now they are a season standby for many breweries. Perhaps in twenty years, cupcake beers will be all the rage. I doubt it, but who knows what the future might bring.

More than anything else, what novelty releases do is alert the rest of us of what is possible, from a product stand point. In the hands of a master brewer, bacon/maple/cupcake flavored beer let’s us know that brewing can do far more than what the BJCP recognizes. A chocolatier who makes a Marmite truffle does the same exact thing, as does a cheesemonger who adds jerk seasoning to its cheddar. It’s innovation for the fun of it. Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it fails miserably. But success and failures are beside the point. In the end, if you pull aside the biases and salesmanship of these folks, I’m willing to bet that if you asked them why they initially made these products, you’ll get an answer similar to that of “To see if I could.”

Such curiosity needs to be lauded and encouraged, by trying out their creations and seeing if they work. I’m going to try to get my hands on this porter for exactly that reason.

Pepto-bismol ice cream

I don’t know which is more disturbing…the fact that someone has made pepto-bismol ice cream, or the fact that there are many of you out there who are thinking right now “Hmmm…I kinda want to try that”.

Thanks Jack!

Restaurant serves $100 Philly cheesesteak

First we had the Zillion Dollar Frittata (actally, it’s only $1000), and now we have the $100 Philly Cheesesteak. But at least the owner of Barclay Prime (the one’s selling this dish) admit it’s simply a marketing ploy.

For the record: Barclay Prime’s cheesesteak is made of sliced Kobe beef, melted Taleggio cheese, shaved truffles, sauteed foie gras, caramelized onions and heirloom shaved tomatoes on a homemade brioche roll brushed with truffle butter and squirted with homemade mustard.

Anyone have $100 to lend me, as well as some tix to Philly?

Oi to be young again!

This one has been making the rounds, and I’ve been meaning to post it… A student in England, to celebrate finishing his finals, makes an 8500 calorie sandwich and finishes it in two days…

For the record, it contains:

  • one loaf of bread
  • Olive oil
  • 8 sausages
  • 4 chili Burgers
  • 4 BBQ Burgers
  • 1 tortilla
  • 1 packet tomato sauce
  • 1 packet of spice mix
  • 125g of chicken breasts
  • 50g of Mushrooms
  • 100g pf Onions
  • 1 Pepper
  • 4 garlic
  • 150g of Salad (the healthy part of the sandwich I presume)
  • 200g Double Gloucester Cheese
  • 200g cheshire Cheese
  • 100g butter
  • 50g Brown Sauce

Yowza. I’m having a heart attack just thinking about it.

Alcohol is a Gas!!

A while ago, I linked to an item entitled powdered alcohol, which promised a flavorless alcohol powder that you can stir into any applicable beverage. I later found out that the makers are no longer selling the product (after I had predicted there wouldn’t be a big enough market for it), and I thought the the fad had gone by the way side (even though I do get about one hit a week based on the keywords ‘powdered alcohol’).

Today, I found something else while scouring the food blogs…Food Goat was linking to a an article about flavorful alcohol that was neither liguid nor solid, but a gas! The product called AWOL (an acronym for Alcohol WithOut Liquid) is a process in which user chooses which alcoholic spirit will be used and the alcoholic spirit is loaded into a diffuser capsule in the machine. The oxygen bubbles are then passed through the capsule, absorbing the alcohol, before being inhaled through a tube. The resultant cloudy alcohol vapor is then inhaled from the end of the tube via a device that converts liquid to vapor over a twenty minute period.

Can you get drunk? Well, yes and no. The machine distributes the alocohol slowly, so you cannot pound ‘em like the more serious drinkers can. But apparently there is a slight feeling of well being that comes after taking the appropriate hits. And if you look at their FAQ, you can see that there are some very stringent concerns about over-indulgence, including a disclaimer about mis-use of the machine that delivers the gas.

But unlike the powdered alcohol, I do see a market for these machines. There’s no way in hell they’ll replace the tried and true delivery mechanism of alcohol (Over the mouth and through the gums, look out stomach, here it comes!), but there is a gimmick market for this, much in the same way there is a market for oxygen bars. If a bar is willing to shell out three to four grand on the machine (which, I suspect, is VERY hackable), then you might see these soon in your local over priced night club.

Chocolate Roulette and Hot Peppers

This is SUCH a good idea! I want I want I want! Too bad they’re currently out of stock.

From their website:

“Seated in individual compartments, twelve chocolate bullets lay waiting to be bitten into. Although eleven of the sweet little slugs contain delicious praline centres, one conceals a seriously red hot chilli that’s guaranteed to blow your head off – metaphorically, at least.”

“The great thing about encasing something so palate-peelingly hot in chocolate is that it takes a few seconds for the ‘victim’ to register that he or she has just bitten into the wrong bullet. So relief and delight are rapidly replaced by abject horror, an expression reminiscent of Kenneth Williams getting into a hot bath, a volley of garbled expletives and a manic sprint to the nearest tap!”

Although it’s a cute write up, heading for the tap would be a bad thing, if I recall, as water only makes the heat of a pepper worse. I wonder if there’s a definitive way to deal with the heat from peppers. If I recall correctly, the heat comes from an oil called capsaicin, so anything that can dilute or breakup oils should do the trick. Would pineapple juice with its high acidic content, work well? I should have payed better attention in science class. Many thanks to fine folks over at Metafilter for pointing this one out.