Now you can ask, 'Pass the beer and the brittle, please'
The chance to wed two great flavors was also an opportunity to bring two local companies together to develop a new product that helps both mark their business anniversaries, said Jeremy Liles, owner of Oliver's Candies in Batavia and Elba.
Hence, Oliver's Candies and Eli Fish Brewing Company have collaborated to bring Genesee County its own local version of beer brittle -- peanut brittle with a beer base instead of water to give the candy an added flavor dimension.
"I like the collaboration amongst businesses, and with this being our 90-year anniversary, I thought it was a fun project," Liles said. "I love Eili Fish and eat there often and those guys are great over there, so that's what I liked about it, just the whole collaboration idea and experimenting with something new, and introducing something new to our customers."
Master candy maker Doug Pastecki said he and Liles have been fascinated with the idea of beer brittle since reading several years ago about a collaboration in California between a candy company and Anchor Steam Brewing. At the time, there was no local brewery, and using a mass-produced beer wasn't appealing so the idea got shelved. As Oliver's 90th anniversary approached, Pasteck and Liles were casting about for a new product idea when the trade magazine re-ran the beer brittle story. With Eli Fish coming up on its fourth anniversary, it seemed like a perfect time for the two companies to work together.
"We got together, we picked up the beer and we got it right in the first shot," Pastecki said.
The beer is a sweeter beer with a complex malt flavor, "Bad Bad Le Roy Brown," an Eli staple.
Malt, sugar, and peanuts go great together, Pastecki noted, and of course, peanuts are often served in bars so that aspect was also a natural fit.
That doesn't mean there wasn't some R&D involved in the process, said Adam Burnett, master brewer for Eli.
"When you just eat a lot of candies, drink a lot of beer, and figure out what goes well together, that's the fun part," Burnett.
Burnett said he was also energized by the opportunity to collaborate with a local legendary company, and from an industry he hasn't previously worked with.
"I definitely have a bit of an MO for doing collaborations by any means necessary," Burnett said. "I think it raises both brands. Every other collaboration I've done has been with breweries, which is a lot of fun for me, but this is outside my wheelhouse. I got to learn about what's going on here. Getting to learn about the history of Oliver's and getting to take part in something for a big anniversary for them is special for me. At Eli Fish, we're the new kids. It's nice to be taken into the old guard a bit."
The beer brittle is being sold at both Oliver's Locations -- Batavia and Elba -- as well as at Eli Fish.
Photos by Howard Owens.