Infusion Vanilla Bean Blonde Ale
Infusion Brewing Co., 6115 Maple St., Omaha
Available: on tap and in bottles. Also being served in cans at the College World Series
ABV: 4.8 percent
Vanilla Bean Blonde Ale, perhaps the most talked-about beer at Kansas City’s “Boulevardia Beer Festival” last weekend, came to be almost accidentally, Infusion owner and founder Bill Baburek admits.
When putting together a debut lineup of Infusion beers in 2013, he opted for a simple, clean-tasting blonde ale. However, he wasn’t happy with the finished product.
“It was blasé,” he said. “There wasn’t much to it.”
So he added Madagascar vanilla to half the batch and left the other half as it was. He put them both on tap in the nearby tasting room and let customers decide. The results were dramatic. The batch with the vanilla lasted just a few days, and bartenders said people came in specifically for it and left when they were told there was none left.
“We knew then that we needed to make more,” he said.
The Vanilla Blonde, available in bottles at Hy-Vee, has become Infusion’s staple. It has spurred season favorites like pumpkin spice vanilla in the fall, gingerbread vanilla during the holiday season and chocolate vanilla around Valentine’s Day.
“In Nebraska, a lot of people like sweeter beers,” Baburek said.
It might not get as much love from the “beer-geek community,” Baburek said, because of the sweetness and the fact there’s nothing complex about it or the brewing process. However, it immediately impresses with a dark-golden pour. Meanwhile, the clean, smooth taste, followed by strong notes of vanilla, leaves a distinctive impression that creates a unique beer-drinking experience.