In the world of beer, some trends pass in the blink of an eye while others last for years or even decades. A dozen years ago, a lot of people though the IPA craze was just a passing fancy but time has proven them wrong. I’m guessing that this spring’s big beer craze, glitter beer, will not prove so enduring as hops-heavy IPAs, though stranger things have happened.
What is glitter beer? Use your imagination. For those who’ve never jumped up on a unicorn’s back and ridden through the marshmallow forest, or wrestled with gummy bears on Sugar Mountain, glitter beer is exactly what it sounds like: beer that is magically infused with sparkly fairy dust. At least two breweries around Seattle are offering glitter beers this spring. Both introduced the beer to commemorate Pride Week, a celebration that culminates with the Pride Parade in Seattle on Sunday, June 24th.
Redhook Brewing recently announced that Nick Crandall, the head brewer at the Redhook Brewlab on Capitol Hill, created Highly Verotic Pale Ale. It is described as a shimmery American Pale Ale, brewed with citra hops, mosaic hops, and glitter. The beer will be available at the Redhook Brewlab (701 Pike Street) and will be the star of the show when Redhook shuts down the street for a block party on Sunday, June 24th (2:00 – 10:00 PM), which is when they’ll tap the beer for the first time.
Down the road a bit, in South Lake Union, Mollusk Brewing also created a glitter beer to commemorate Pride Week. The beer is available at the Dexter Brewhouse, the pub next door to the brewery that serves all of Mollusk Brewing’s beers (803 Dexter Avenue).
This Instagram-friendly beer trend has swept the nation in recent months. Brewery Vivant in Michigan, Bold Missy Brewing in North Carolina, Ska Brewing in Colorado, Sasquatch Brewing in Portland, and Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego are among the many breweries across America that are riding the wave of glitter beer.
The original glitter beer was brewed by Three Weavers Brewing Company in Inglewood, California. Apparently, Brewmaster Alex Nowell created Mel’s Sparkle Pony back in 2015, so the technology behind glitter beer is nothing new. Technology? Uh, I meant to say “magic.”
If you don’t want to see what’s behind the curtain, stop reading now.
One very important question is, why would you want to put glitter in a beer? That, I cannot answer, but I can share with you the actual method by which you do add glitter to a beer. It’s not at all complicated. It’s a food grade, FDA-approved dust that brewers can add to kegs as they are filled with beer. The beer is not brewed with glitter. There’s no special process that creates glitter in the beer.
Edible glitter is available in many colors and is made from sugar, maltodextrin and mica-based pearlescent pigments. As such, it has no impact on the beer’s flavor. It simply glitters until it eventually falls out of suspension. I suppose you could say that it’s like the suspended reality that keeps so many of our childhood fantasies alive. Simply google the term edible glitter to fully destroy the magic.