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Brew Blog: Beer and Cashews

We had some spare cashews in the pantry and, being the innovative people we are, figured we should try to pair them up with a beer suited to their unique flavor. Step aside, peanuts. It's cashew time. We stopped by the D & Q and found two bottles we thought might fit with our chosen nuts.

First, we sampled Pyramid Breweries' Haywire Hefeweizen, an unfiltered wheat ale so cloudy and deep in color it looked like orange juice. We'd seen it before and not tried it, but figured the smooth mouth-feel of a wheat would pair well with the buttery, subtle feel of the cashews.

We were mostly right, but this offering was also so carbonated it felt medicinal on some sips, like an Alka-Seltzer. That said, the crisp, full-mouth feel of the wheat did go well with the smooth cashews. The beer's sweet, flowery smell was a good touch too, but we're not convinced this brew is up to snuff. A second trial would be welcome, but we'd reckon there are other wheat beers out there that would be better stand-ins.

Our second attempt was, admittedly, a random-ass guess, but we couldn't have been happier. Dogfish Head's Aprihop, a "serious India Pale Ale brewed with real apricot," was simply wonderful. This 7 percent alcohol brew smelled sweet, and the head had a sugary tinge to it. Past that, it got even better. One of that often-pleasing group of darker IPAs, this beer finished sweet and bitter at the same time. The apricot hints accompanied each sip all the way down but never grew too strong and, somehow, were never driven out by the hops. Other flavors in the beer tasted like a campfire piled high with musty wood, which was surprising but welcome.

Most importantly, for our purposes here, the bitter flavors passed and left the cashew flavors intact afterward, as a nice mellow finish. To be honest, though, the Aprihop likely would have gone well with any nuts we munched.

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