Flying Bison just released their second Paula’s Donuts beer this past Wednesday and I was lucky enough to stop the by brewery to enjoy a fresh pint and bring home a six pack. Holy Cannoli is a Pastry Blonde Ale made in collaboration between Flying Bison and their soon to be neighbors Paula’s Donuts. Just a few months ago we saw the first release, Peanut Stick Porter, which was amazing. So it leaves me with very little worry, if any, that Holy Cannoli will not follow in suit.
The Beer: Paula’s Holy Cannoli by Flying Bison Brewing Company
Style: Pastry Blonde Ale
Special Ingredients: Vanilla, Nutmeg, Milk Sugar,, Cinnamon and Cacoa Nibs
Flying Bison provides a nice introduction for Holy Cannoli on each bottle!
‘Likes a cannoli in a glass, ‘Holy Cannoli’ combines hints of pastry crust, vanilla cream, cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg.’
Crack It Open
Holy Cannoli pours a very attractive crystal clear light amber color with a nice creamy head to top it off.
The aromas are packed full with each of the ingredients used. Some are stronger than others, though they flow in such perfect alignment. First and foremost, the strongest of them all is the nutmeg with a closed second being the cinnamon. It possesses a very strong blanketing affect on the rest of the aromas. After taking a few more strong sniffs it’s not at all difficult to pick up on the rest. The cacoa nibs seem to settle themselves as the background for the nutmeg. While the milk sugar and vanilla add a bit of sweetness that seems to settle at the very bottom under the rest.
Take A Swig
The flavor is very similar to the aromas but with a slight change of when each flavor kicks in. The nutmeg is exactly the same, very strong and blanketing. But it flows very smooth. The nutmeg binds very well with a slight cacoa nibs flavor. When I say slight, it’s a very light touch. Yeah, now after finishing about half my glass, I’m noticing that the nutmeg and cacoa nibs actually partner up throughout the entire sip. The strength of them both varies throughout the entire sip. In the beginning it’s very light and then as you move towards the mid sip it starts to spike. But the strongest point for the nutmeg is with the swallow. This is where you will see a strong rise in the nutmeg flavor with its accompanying cacoa nib accent. Another intriguing aspect at this point of the sip is a sudden surge of cinnamon that appears and then just as quickly disappears. It’s there and then it’s gone. A nice unique aspect.
Now let’s talk about the vanilla and milk sugar because these two definitely sweeten things up a bit, but just the perfect amount. There is a slight presence at the beginning of each sip and then things get interesting. If you let it linger and fully enjoy each sip, you may notice the sweetness slightly picks up and then settles out with each swallow. There is a slight aftertaste with a nice flare up of vanilla and milk sugar. That may linger for some time. Now that I am onto my second bottle I’m noticing a nice vanilla background with each sip. It doesn’t get in the way of the nutmeg, though it is very similar in strength. I guess you could say it pairs up and follows the same course.
The aftertaste can hold some mystery. Like I said before there is that surge of cinnamon, though it quickly dissipates. Once you have a few sips you may notice the cinnamon and nutmeg get stronger in the aftertaste. At first I wasn’t really picking up on much of an aftertaste. But once you get a few sips in, there tends to be a lingering presence. A solid combination consisting primarily of nutmeg and then this interesting combination of vanilla and cinnamon. Very tasty as well as interesting. It’s not a very strong aftertaste, though it will stick with you for a while.
The overall mouthfeel is relatively light. A bit creamy for a Blonde Ale, but let’s not be too picky. This is a good frickin’ beer!
As much as Holy Cannoli is a Blonde Ale, the pastry aspect tends to be a bit stronger. There are some nice blonde ale aspects with a crisp smooth beginning but the creamy mouthfeel changes things up a bit. Not that I am complaining, Holy Cannoli would be an excellent selection for a dessert beer or one that may accompany you while reading a book or inga late night discussion. Regardless of how you drink it, I am sure you will enjoy it. As simple as it may be, if you take the time to fully enjoy you will begin to notice the intricacies of each sip.
Just beware, the ABV of 8.0% may creep on you.