Beer: Banana Them All to Hell!
Brewery: Graft Cider (Newburgh, NY) / Slim Pickens Cider & Mead (Tampa, FL)
6.9% ABV / 11 IBU
In general, bananas can go to hell. Nature’s ugliest fruit serves but two purposes: 1) To be removed from its peel and discarded so that Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton have something to slip on, and 2) To rot and blacken and become redeemed in the form of banana bread. Seriously, banana bread is amazing. How can bananas suck that much? When one of these showed up in your school lunch, you were screwed, If Cryptopsy’s None So Vile is the answer, bananas are the question.
Against all odds, Banana Them All to Hell! – part of Graft Cider’s ongoing collaboration series “Shared Universe” – succeeds in capturing the best aspects of a dry cider, paired with the sweeter notes of a fruit beer. Somewhat surprisingly, this cider strays away from Graft’s core competencies, super floral bouquets from introducing hops (typically citra) into the process or punchy sours spiked with salt that end up walking a very fine line between gose and cider. Banana Them All to Hell! embodies neither of these things, although it is super, super dry and barely sweet in the typical Graft tradition.
The banana part – a Slim Pickens innovation – offers a riff on Bananas Foster, with sugar, dark rum, and vanilla. This makes for a good sales pitch – and great packaging, as evidenced by the Planet of the Apes-referencing can art. Amazingly, all of those flavors come across in Banana Them All to Hell!, mostly cider upfront, but with a pleasant aroma and mellow aftertaste of bananas and vanilla. Credit to Banana Them All to Hell! for transcending novelty. This shit is bananas, but C-I-D-E-R is the star of the show.