Two years ago, organizers of the Indiana State Fair approached the Sun King Brewery to make a special beer just for the State Fair. Last year, the fair was canceled, but this year’s fair is an attempt, so Dave Colt, owner of Sun King Brewery in Indiana, came to mind.
If you’re in Indiana, the biggest food attractions are giant turkey legs, funnel cakes and corn dogs, he says. “Turkey leg beer sounds rough, so let’s make funnel cakes,” says Dave Colt, owner of Sun King Brewery in Indiana.
And that’s exactly what Colt and his team at Sun King did – they made a State Fair State Fair Funnel Cake Pastry Ale. “Three hundred funnel cakes were lovingly murdered for making this beer,” Colt says. “We threw them whole into the bog, and they collapsed while we bogged.”
It is true. Three hundred funnel cakes were thrown into the bog to make the beer. You can see Colt and his crew throw the cakes right into the bog here. “It smelled so good that day, but we didn’t get to eat a single cake,” says Elizabeth Belange, marketing and sales director for this Indiana brewery.
The scent was so enticing and the crew was so disappointed that Belange, who is a skilled home baker, made homemade funnel cakes, which she took to the brewery the next day. However, these cakes were eaten by the brewers, instead of being sacrificed for the beer.
To make pastry, more than just a bunch of funnel cakes was needed. Colt examined the history of the state’s fair sweet, as well as the historical tastes and methods of making them. “When we do something like that, we like to do it from a historical point of view,” he says. “Old-fashioned recipes required a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon, and we did.”
He and his team then matched flavors with malt and yeast, and they came up with State Fair Funnel Cake Pastry Ale, which smells and tastes very much like a funnel cake became a tasty beer.
This is not the first time that Sun King has made a crazy, pastry. “We made a beer called Cookie, and the inspiration for it came from what if we made beer that tasted like a chocolate cake?” Colt says. “We also made a chocolate cake and a giant chocolate cupcake, and we threw giant cupcakes in the lot.”
The new brew is sold in both cans and pulls right at the Indiana State Fair, which started last Friday, and the Indiana State Fair runs through August 22nd. The beer is also sold on tap at the brewery’s tasting rooms, as long as stocks last. However, the iff State Fair Funnel Cake Pastry Ale is running up, it has gone too well and no more funnel cakes will be sacrificed to brew more beer. “It would be a good problem to have,” Colt says.
Although Funnel Cake Pastry Ale is gone, the folks at Sun King are already working on their next project: Popcorn Pilsner, which was made with a blend of seven heirloom popcorns grown in Sunman, Indiana (and then appeared on Just Pop In, a local gourmet popcorn shop.) The first time the brewery made a popcorn ale, they popped popcorn at the brewery.
“It took 14 employees who worked on 14 popcorn poppers for 14 hours to pop all 100 kilos of popcorn,” Colt says.