Both brews will see a wider rollout than "Fudgie the Beer" did, with the first cans landing next week.
Collaboration beers have become a common way for brewers to experiment with new concepts, plug their friends, and occasionally create co-branded products that garner gobs of hype thanks to an unexpected partnership. From convenience stores like Wawa to clothing lines like Lululemon to snack brands like Mr. Peanut, everyone seems to want a piece of the hip craft brewing world. Another one of those unlikely sensations was last year’s Fudgie the Beer — where New York’s Captain Lawrence Brewery made a chocolate stout inspired by the classic whale-shaped Carvel ice cream cake. The nostalgia of mashing up adult and childhood treats led to repeated sellouts across multiple runs.
So thanks to the success of Fudgie, Captain Lawrence and Carvel have cooked up two new brews for 2019 based on another Carvel staple — Cookie Puss. “We of course entered last year’s Fudgie the Beer partnership with much enthusiasm and the thought that it would be successful because of the excitement around craft beer collaborations,” Scott Colwell, President of Carvel Ice Cream, tells me. “But boy were we pleasantly surprised by just how happy it made everyone. I mean, we sold out twice! So we knew that we needed to come back together to launch something even bigger and better in year two.”
Debuting on February 26, Cookie Puss Milkshake IPA and Cookie O’Puss Pastry Stout turn the ice cream cone-nosed cake (and his Irish alter ego) into two popular modern beer styles. “I am not going to fight the trends of today,” Captain Lawrence Brewing Founder Scott Vaccaro explains. He says Cookie Puss Milkshake IPA “fits right into the trend of flavor-forward, hazy and delicious IPAs! We are proud to throw this one into the fray and let people decide if it stacks up to their expectations.”
Additionally, Captain Lawrence and Carvel are making these brews easier for fans to get their hands on by distributing them beyond the brewery itself (though you can also preorder them both for local pickup from CPtheBeer.com until February 27). “We did not release Fudgie to our distribution footprint last time around and we got phone calls constantly,” Vaccaro continues. “So this time around, we want to ensure that all Cookie Puss fans have a chance to enjoy the beer version of their favorite desserts.” But act fast: Vaccaro still anticipates these limited edition collabs to sell out quickly. “I don’t think we would ever be able to brew enough to satisfy all the fans who want a taste,” he added.
Created in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Cookie O’Puss Pastry Stout — which is brewed with Carvel’s chocolate crunchies — will be available everywhere Captain Lawrence is sold (including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington DC, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Virginia). Meanwhile, Cookie Puss Milkshake IPA — which is intended to toast Carvel’s 85th birthday and is made with Carvel vanilla ice cream — will be rolled out exclusively in New York State in February before seeing its full release this summer to correspond with the brewery’s big day.
“What’s really cool is genuine Carvel ingredients are being put directly into these beers — our crunchies, our fudge, that iconic vanilla,” Colwell explains. “But of course the Captain Lawrence brewers are extremely talented so we don’t mix during the chemistry parts. Once we narrow in on the style, our executive chef works with Captain Lawrence’s brewers to ensure that the tasting notes of the beer reflect that of our cakes and will complement the style of beer being brewed in the best possible way.”
Meanwhile, it’s not just the beers that are selling. Colwell says that the release of Fudgie the Beer also corresponded with an uptick in Carvel sales. “With any high-profile collaboration, brands go in knowing it’s about awareness and relevancy but sales aren’t something you can guarantee,” he tells me. “The good news is we did see an increase. We believe this partnership definitely had a part to play in our growth in 2018 and into this year. As we ring in our 85th birthday in May, it was really important to us to continue that growth and weave in that celebration factor into everything we do in 2019.”
And so, assuming Cookie Puss sees similar excitement as Fudgie did, expect more Carvel beers to follow. “We may even already have something up our sleeves…” Colwell teases.
But the big question remains when will be able to start buying these beers at Carvel itself? “That would be great wouldn’t it?!” Colwell says. “Right now we’re committed to doing what we do best: serving our customers and loyal fans with the ice cream they know and love. But who knows what the future holds!”