Turns out there's a lot more you can do with cacao than make chocolate. Yes, the seeds from the plant's squashlike pods are used to make confectionary delights, but they're actually surrounded by a sweet, white pulp that's often wasted.
Like most of the world, this was news to Lompoc head brewer Bryan Keilty. He only learned of it when Repurposed Pod—a company that juices the pulp harvested on its 550-acre cacao farm in Ecuador—inquired about a collaboration. One sip of the resulting Cacao Cream Ale and you, too, will be on #TeamPulp.
Blended with Repurposed Pod's juice and then aged on the chocolate-making cacao nibs, the beer is a hazy 5 percent ABV ale that tastes like a tropical IPA dripped into the melty last spoonfuls of a particularly amazing bananas Foster. Hints of lychee and passionfruit emerge alongside the banana with further sips, the unfamiliar (and astonishingly nuanced) tropical pulp flavor smacked on the lips by recognizable milk chocolate overtones.
Repurposed Pod picked the perfect brewer for the job: Cacao Cream Ale is exactly the kind of wacky and successful experiment we'd bet on from someone who once made a sage, peppercorn, and tomato bloody mary beer that easily ranked among our 10 favorites of 2016. You can try the latest of Keilty's fantastic fruited creations at this year's Fruit Beer Fest, and we highly suggest that you do.
When's the last time you tasted something so completely new, anyway? Recommended.
DRINK IT: Fruit Beer Fest is at Burnside Brewing Co., 701 E Burnside St., fruitbeerfest.com. 4-9 pm Friday, 11 am-9 pm Saturday and 11 am–6 pm Sunday, June 8-10. $20-$25. 21+.