When I was a kid, there were few places more exciting than the supermarket cereal aisle. The brightly coloured boxes, the cartoon animals surfing waves of chocolate or diving into pots of honey, the sparkles and rainbows and worthless free prizes – they weren’t just selling cereals in that aisle, they were selling dreams. Mum tried her best to divert our attention until we reached the boring muesli section, but she was fighting a losing battle. We wanted colour! We wanted sugar! We wanted plastic-wrapped stickers and collectable trading cards!
On hearing that those mad, bearded wizards at Garage Project were brewing a Cereal Milk Stout, I was immediately transported back to that aisle. Cereal milk is of course the delicious, sweet milk left in the bowl after you’ve scooped up the last Frosty – and the more sugary the cereal, the better the milk.
Happily for me, a whole box of this beer ended up in my house because (am I allowed to do a brag here?) my boyfriend Tom Cottle designed the label. I made helpful suggestions like “Have you thought about adding a leprechaun” and “What about a tiger sliding down a rainbow into the glass?” so I didn’t feel bad about drinking half the bottles.
According to the label, the Cereal Milk Stout is brewed with “corn flakes, oats, chocolate wheat, and a generous dose of milk sugar” (that’s lactose). I think they missed out “essence of childhood dreams”, but whatever.
It smells like milk chocolate, roasted malt, golden syrup and – if I close my eyes and employ some imagination – actual milk. In the mouth it’s very sweet, chocolatey and smooth, with gentle carbonation and a little crisp roastyness at the finish - just enough to stop it being cloying. Does it taste like cereal milk? Of course not. It tastes better. It tastes like beer.
I’m an adult and not really allowed to eat cereal anymore, but that doesn’t mean I can’t conjure that same sense of magic and wonder when I visit the supermarket. The dazzling colours, the excitement, the desire to buy and try everything I see on the shelf – it all still happens, only now it’s in the beer aisle.
Garage Project Cereal Milk Stout is available at craft beer-loving supermarkets and liquor stores. For more info visit www.garageproject.co.nz.