There are few things in the world that bring an immediate smile to my face. The laughter of my kids. The warm embrace of my loving wife. And, oatmeal cream pies. There is something so simple, so delightful and so fulfilling about that sweet vanilla cream sandwiched between two of the most delicate oat cookies known to man. How can it get any better? Oh wait, what if that oatmeal cream pie was a beer?!
PastryArchy is a limited release beer series from Duclaw Brewing Company in Rosedale, Maryland featuring out of the ordinary flavors that you can’t help but to be intrigued by. Being a die-hard oatmeal cream pie fan, my mouth practically hit the floor when I stumbled across this craft beer on the shelves of a Total Wine, and I had to give it a shot to see if it could actually live up not only to my expectations, but my childhood memories of devouring these at all hours of the day.
How it Looks
Pouring this 16th edition of PastryArchy, we’re presented with a fantastic golden, slightly hazy color. There is very little head on the pour, and what was there dissipated quickly, leaving no signs of lacing as I rolled the beer around the glass. What I notice the most here is the amount of particulate matter floating around the glass which could be some of that oat, but likely some unfiltered yeast. It might look a little off-putting to some, but that’s extra flavor!
How it Smells
The smell of this craft beer is really what starts to build on the overall complexity. As you can see on the can of this one, there are a lot of ingredients that have gone into making this beer in hopes of hitting that very specific flavor profile. The spice notes are really what hit me up front, coming from the cinnamon, clove and ginger.
The sweetness was not as present in the smell as I was expecting, but there’s no doubt that it’s there in the form of a hint of caramel and vanilla. Really examining the aroma of the beer, I can also pick up on a little breadliness and yeast as well.
How it Tastes
The moment of truth for me with this beer is the taste. Before getting into all of the details I can tell you that I certainly found the sensation of eating an oatmeal cream pie while enjoying this beer - the magic worked, my expectations were met, and my inner child is pleased.
With the first sip, I immediately found that same spice sensation with a very smooth, medium-bodied mouthfeel. That ginger and clove taste is very much present, almost giving this a little bit of a gingerbread taste once the oat flavor and breadiness from the yeast start to pull through, and with a little bit of imagination, it tastes exactly like one of those soft oat cookies fresh out of the wrapper.
Given that this was brewed with molasses and brown sugar, I was expecting a bit more sweetness and almost a syrupy texture, but that wasn’t at all the case. It was enough sweetness, with a hint of vanilla to be representative of the cream filling, but I had to remind myself that this isn’t a stout or a porter and isn’t supposed to be overly sweet. Instead, it’s an imperial ale which is very recognizable when you get the bitterness that comes along with the finish.
I was very impressed with this edition of the PastryArchy series from Duclaw Brewing Company. It is a very complex beer that fires on all cylinders and does an excellent job of representing the characteristics of an oatmeal cream pie, while still delivering a quality and recognizable beer. You get a little bit of everything with this beer. Sweetness, bitterness and spice are all presented in a well-balanced blend.
While the summer is coming to an end, this is the perfect beer to open at the end of a long day, after a meal, as a liquid dessert without getting into something super heavy and sticky like a stout (though I would love to see this beer brewed within that style.) If you happen across any of these in the store, I’d definitely recommend you give it a try, and keep an eye out for more in this PastryArchy series from Duclaw Brewing Company.