Harpoon Brewery is teaming up with another local institution for its latest beer, but this collaboration might be the sweetest.
The Boston-based brewery is collaborating with Mike’s Pastry on a cannoli-inspired stout brewed with actual cannoli shells from the iconic North End shop, according to a press release. The 7.3 percent ABV beer is also made with cocoa nibs, lactose, and vanilla in an effort to re-create the flavor profile of Mike’s Pastry’s most well-known dessert.
Tim Kast, the brand manager at Harpoon, says the cannoli shells were crushed up and added into the mash of grains at the start of the brewing process like any other specialty malt. While the shells added some fermentable sugars to the mix, Kast said the amount used was relatively small and that most of the flavor in the finished produced comes from the other ingredients, including the cocoa nibs, lactose, and vanilla.
“But it was a great way to get the folks from Mike’s involved on the brew day and a good excuse to eat cannolis at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday,” he added.
Harpoon is planning a release party at its Seaport Brewery next Thursday night — February 27 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. — to kick off the new creation. Tickets for the event, which are $25, include a draft pour of Mike’s Pastry Cannoli Stout, a cannoli at a top-your-own cannoli bar, and a take-home 16-ounce can of the beer.
For a limited time, the beer will be also be sold in cans — with labels evoking Mike’s signature string-tied white boxes — at retailers throughout New England, as well as in several other states where Harpoon beers are distributed. The company’s suggested retail price for the 16-ounce four-pack is $12.99.
According to Harpoon, distribution will run from the end of February through the beginning of April.
The concept isn’t completely novel. So-called pastry stouts have become a growing trend and craft brewers across the country — from Wisconsin to Florida to Maine — have offered varying iterations of cannoli stouts. Harpoon even experimented with a whisky barrel-aged cannoli stout in 2018. Other local breweries have gone as far as using things like cereal or waffles in the mashing past of the brewing process.
However, the company — which has breweries in Boston and Vermont — has made a recent habit of collaborating with well-known local names. They have repeatedly teamed up with Massachusetts brands like Dunkin‘ and Polar Seltzer — and even released a Boston Bruins-themed beer last month with the help of forward and Walpole native Chris Wagner.
Harpoon says a portion of the proceeds from each case sold of the new Mike’s Pastry Cannoli Stout will be donated to a charity chosen by the local bakery chain called Christmas in the City, a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to helping those affected by homelessness and poverty.