As I was perusing the beer aisle in my local liquor store looking for inspiration for this Wednesday’s post, I happened upon this Dragon & YumYums from Dogfish Head in Milton, Delaware. Who could resist such a fun name and such psychedelic label artwork?? Certainly not me. I was immediately intrigued. When I looked a bit more closely I noticed the name The Flaming Lips on the label as well. Now things were getting even more interesting. I had to know more! Let’s start off with the facts about the beer. It’s a pale ale that’s brewed with a blend of dragonfruit, yumberry, passionfruit, pear juice, and black carrot juice. Wow, right? It has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 6.5, giving it some nice body and weight, and an IBU (international bitterness units) of 25, so it also has some bite to it, but not too much. The taste of this beer is an absolute explosion of tropical fruit, with a nice sweetness that’s balanced by just enough bitterness, and it also happens to be a beautiful pink blush color in the glass. Tart and refreshing, it’s perfect for the warmer months. Now what’s this about The Flaming Lips?? Well, as it turns out, Dragons and YumYums is a first-of-its-kind independent beer and and independent music collaboration between a craft brewery and an iconic American band. Wayne Coin, the band’s frontman, actually wrote two songs that were inspired by the beer’s wild ingredients that were released on April 21 (for Record Store Day) on a 7” vinyl called “The Story of Yum Yum and Dragon.” How outrageous is all of this??
For today’s cocktail, I decided that I wanted to stick with the riotous flavor of this beer and have some fun of my own. I spent some time listening to The Soft Bulletin, a 1999 release from The Flaming Lips that is considered to be their breakthrough LP. Dreamy and hypnotic, with lots of harmonies, synthesized strings, and manipulated beats, it is often compared to the Beach Boys Pet Sounds. Well, my base spirit had to be tequila to echo the band’s slightly psychedelic feel, and I decided to go with its partner-in-crime, pink grapefruit juice, to stay in sync with the beer’s tropical flavor profile. How’s that for collaboration? I added some simple syrup, and just a small amount of a beet and ginger tonic that I thought would add a pop of brightness to the drink. I tied everything together with two dashes of DRAM palo santo bitters because their vanilla flavor profile always marries so well with grapefruit and tequila, and because they are reputed to cause visions. The end result was a wild ride of a cocktail that was held in check by the underlying tartness of the pale ale. Once again, I’m amazed at how well beer takes on this clean-up and balancing role in drinks. As for the the name, Race for the Prize is the first song on the album, and you need only to listen to it to get a feel for exactly what The Flaming Lips are all about. Cheers everyone. Happy Wednesday!
Race for the Prize
2 oz Espolon tequila blanco
4 oz Dogfish Head Dragon & YumYums Pale Ale
½ oz pink grapefruit juice
½ oz simple syrup
¼ oz Herbal Revolution Beet & Ginger Tonic No. 11 *
2 dashes DRAM Apothecary Palo Santo bitters **
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Strain into a tulip glass over fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit and a candied ginger slice. Put on some of The Flaming Lips’ music and enjoy!
*available at MOM’s Organic Market
** available online or at the Art in the Age store in Philadelphia