By Steve Graham
Bess Dougherty didn’t travel far for a new and creative ingredient to enhance a recent creation.
“I picked Swedish Fish because they have always been one of my favorite candies and they have such a unique flavor,” she said. “It also helps that they are readily available at the 7-Eleven up the street from the brewery.”
Dougherty added the iconic gummy candy to a firkin of Uber Lager, the lightest beer at the Wynkoop Brewing Co., where she has brewed since 2012.
“It is the closest beer we have to a blank slate,” she said.
She mixed some candy with boiling water to add into the firkin, then added a small dose of fresh fermenting wort and filled the rest of the firkin with conditioning Uber.
About a month later, she had a lightly flavored beer with an unmistakable Swedish Fish scent and slight pink tint.
“It wasn’t sweet and you could definitely still taste the beer,” she said. “The candy was far from overpowering.”
Dougherty said many customers were curious but suspicious, starting with tasters and ending up with pints. She said others in the Swedish Fish “cult” were “super excited” about the brew.
No stranger to candied beer experiments, Dougherty has also made a Lemonheads cider and a blue gummy bear lager in honor of Denver’s iconic Big Blue Bear.
She said with the brewery’s recent remodel she is focused on getting back online with the Mile High Pale Ale, Rail Yard Amber Ale and other Wynkoop mainstays. For now, if you need to infuse beer with candy, you might need to dunk your own.
Steve Graham is a Fort Collins writer who enjoys the outdoors and great beer.