As the Flyer gears up for tomorrow’s Cooper Young Regional Beerfest, we decided to wet our whistle with a seasonal favorite from Wiseacre Brewery. After a successful debut last year, Wiseacre’s Holy Candy is returning for a victory lap in 2014.
To get the scoop on the beer, I caught up with Wiseacre’s resident Teller of Tales/Captain of Industry, Kellan Bartosch. Fresh from last week’s win at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver—Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb took third place in the German Pilsner category—Bartosch was feeling fine, and decided to join me for a tall one.
“Part of me was actually hoping we wouldn’t win,” reflected Bartosch, “because I knew we’d have to go out and party a bunch more.”
Holy Candy is a Belgian Dubbel: a complex, spicy beer traditionally brewed by Trappist Monks. But whereas the monks usually add a bit of candy sugar for sweetness, Wiseacre decided to use fig puree. That’s how they came up with the name Holy Candy.
“Last year,” remembered Bartosch, “my brother Davin and I were eating some figs, and he was like, hey, this is what Jesus would have eaten if he wanted candy!”
You might think that adding figs would result in a sweeter beer. Well, yes and no. The yeast actually eats up most of the sugar, so Holy Candy is pretty dry. The result is a nice, fruity opening—think plums and raisins—with a clean, dry finish. Bonus points if you can taste the faint notes of white pepper, a gift from the yeast.
Bartosch recommends pairing Holy Candy with red meat. (“I actually think it’d be a good burger beer,” he mused.) He also envisioned a spinach salad with cranberries, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette—which was more than I could bear on an empty stomach. In the name of the yeast, the malt, and the holy fig, I tossed off my beer and headed home for supper. Amen.