Every year, the State Fair of Texas holds a highly anticipated fried-food competition. Artery-clogging entries have included fried bubblegum, fried loaded baked potatoes and fried Sriracha. This year, for the first time since the fair began in 1886, a beverage won the Most Creative blue ribbon: Funnel Cake Ale.
Funnel Cake Ale is an English-style summer ale brewed to taste like fried dough. Fair-lover Justin Martinez came up with the idea and Community Beer Company, based in Dallas, perfected the recipe. English malts give the craft beer a toasty flavor, and it gets an airy quality from being aged over vanilla beans. The beer glass is rimmed with powdered sugar.
We visited the State Fair of Texas this weekend and drank a few cups. The light amber beer looks very pretty and certainly has that funnel cake smell. It tastes like a crisp ale, good but nothing too special, but that powdered-sugar rim is genius, giving the beer a delicate sweetness that can only be accredited to amusement park confections. We may need to add powdered sugar to all our ale glasses from now on.
The State Fair of Texas, which includes livestock competitions, live music, auto shows, carnival rides and lots and lots of fried food, is open from now until October 19.
Alyson Sheppard is a writer at Playboy Digital. Her work has appeared in Maxim, Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney’s, National Geographic Adventure, Jezebel, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep