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Where in Town: Whole Foods, 1440 P St. NW

Price: $14.99 / 750 mL

Novelty Act

The craft beer movement’s innovative spirit can sometimes lead brewers down pretty wacky roads. Take BrewDog’s The End of History, a limited-edition, 55 percent alcohol concoction packaged inside a stuffed squirrel. Or Shorts Brewing Company’s Key Lime Pie beer, brewed with fresh limes, marshmallow fluff, and pounds of hand-crushed graham crackers. Novelty brews like these could easily be dismissed as gimmicks. For my part, I try to preserve an appreciation for the creativity and technical skill that go into them. But the fact remains: Some experiments work and some don’t.

Ale Fail

My latest foray into novelty beer was Rogue’s Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale, brewed in tribute to Portland’s famed Voodoo Doughnut pastry shop. The beer is based on the shop’s Memphis Mafia doughnut, itself a nod to an Elvis Presley-style grilled banana and peanut butter sandwich. An interesting idea? Sure, but one that goes wrong from the start. The beer’s nose had the artificial aroma of a scratch-n-sniff sticker, and tasting its absurd mixture of flavors felt like choking down a megadose of Pepto-Bismol—an unfortunate association reinforced by the beer’s bright pink bottle, meant to mimic the boxes the doughnuts come in. Try this beer for giggles, perhaps, but I suggest skipping it and going straight for actual dessert. Better yet, try one of Rogue’s much tastier brews, like Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout or Double Chocolate Stout.

Photo by Tammy Tuck