“Sink the Status Quo”- That’s the motto of Greenville, South Carolina’s Thomas Creek Brewing Company. It’s a lot like the motto of Atlanta’s Sweetwater Brewing Company, Don’t Float the Mainstream. In either case, the end result is good beer, and that’s a victory for all of us.
I’m looking at the Thomas Creek motto right now on the label of my bottle of their Stillwater Vanilla Cream Ale, and whatever you think of the beer, I can tell you that it is certainly not the status quo. The label also says this an “Ale with natural vanilla flavor”, and has an alcohol content of 4.8% by volume. The base beer style is a cream ale, or a beer fermented with ale yeast at a warm temperature, then cold-conditioned like a lager.
Specs and description from the brewery:
A light-bodied and golden American style cream ale with a highly refreshing palate and an undertone of pure vanilla essence from an infusion of tahitian and madagascar bourbon vanilla.
Style: American-Style Cream Ale
Malts: 2 Row, Idapils, Carapils, Caramel 10
Hops: Hallertauer, Tettnanger, Cascade, East Kent Golding
ABV: 4.8% IBU: 23 Original Gravity: 10.71° Plato
I’ve enjoyed vanilla in beer in the past, though I think it generally works better in darker beers like porters and stouts.
Thomas Creek Stillwater Vanilla Cream Ale pours to a pale golden color with a medium head and a light vanilla nose. Taking a sip the beer has crisp biscuit malt up front accented by the vanilla to bring forth breakfast cereal like flavors. A balancing bitter finish punctuates the whole affair and keeps it from being cloying.
Overall, this is an OK beer, but probably not one I would buy again. Malt is a common ingredient in breakfast cereals, and some are flavored with vanilla, hence the association that I was not overly fond of. Even with the average price of $8.99 a six-pack, I don’t think this one really works for me.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.