My dad isn’t really a craft beer guy. He was drinking long before any of the fancy pants, IPA-or-die craft breweries took off, and as such he prefers to keep it simple, to consume only the tried and true, the canned good ol’ boys: Coors Banquet and Coors Light. He likes Modelo and Pacifico too, but my point is that he doesn’t often venture beyond the macrobrewery selections.
He first had Mother Earth Brew Company’s Cali Creamin’ a year or so ago at the San Diego Zoo. He adored it, and he raved about it time and time again, but he could never find anywhere that sold it.
Flash forward to a couple weeks ago. He and I were up in Alpine, CA and we walked into Barons Market. Despite being a grocery store, Barons had a beer selection that rivaled a lot of the specialty beverage-only places I’d been to. It was superb, and they just so happened to have six packs of that sweet, sweet Cali Creamin’. Dad was overjoyed. He gave me a couple of the beers to take home, and here we are now.
My receptacle of choice for this beer was a Firestone Walker pint glass, taken, as usual, from the Isla Vista Woodstock’s.
Can Art: The can is the same pleasant blue color as those Moroccan Argan Oil bottles, which reminds me that I need to wash my hair soon. Mother Earth’s logo is this kind of minimalist tree thing that for some reason looks sentient. It calls to mind those trees from Avatar, the ones the hippie aliens connected their hair to in order to share knowledge and “feel the vibes” or whatever.
I think Mother Earth’s tree logo is supposed to look friendly, but I can’t ignore the obvious jack-o’-lantern face in the middle of the trunk and the icky tendrils that curve around it. It looks like a malevolent piece of broccoli.
The logo for this particular beer is a bus, modeled, it appears, after the classic Volkswagen Type 2. It has a surfboard leaning against it. Vista, CA is a surf town, so it looks like they were running with what they knew best here.
“Cali Creamin'” is both an appropriate name for the beer and one I’m very hesitant to Google unless SafeSearch is on. The word “creaming” is already unpleasant enough as it is. Why shorten it?
Beer Appearance: It looks like your standard beer: strong goldish, tawny color, and very, very carbonated. It’s got bubbles out the wazoo. Touching the glass will agitate the hell out of the poor beer, causing it to release more bubbles in an attempt to frighten off predators. I’m more intelligent than most beers, so this display didn’t intimidate me.
The head of the beer was pretty much non-existent. It may have been a faulty pour on my part, but as editor-in-chief of this publication, I’m just going to tell y’all that that wasn’t the case. What little head I could see was a creamy and off white in color.
Smell: It smells like a standard ale with some vanilla bean extract poured in. If you poured a lukewarm Bud Light over a pint of Breyers, you’d get a smell approximate to this. A Golden Oreos aroma comes to the forefront once the beer warms up.
It’s weird, ’cause though the smell itself is a mellow, cool, vanilla ice cream kinda thing, it emanates aggressively. I could smell it as soon as I cracked open the can, and my face was at least two feet away when I did that. The beer’s across the table from me as I write this and I’m still getting whiffs of vanilla.
Taste and Overall impressions
Cali Creamin’ was wheaty right at the beginning, a lot like any lighter beer. Not super full-bodied or anything, and no hoppiness that I could detect. After that initial taste, Cali Creamin’ then goes pretty much the opposite direction of beer and starts to taste like a dessert.
Through some kind of magic, the beer becomes a little bit thicker tasting, a little “heavier” in comparison to the airiness of its peers. As it was in the beer’s smell, vanilla was prominent in the beer’s taste, too. A creamy sort of vanilla with a distinct sweetness. Flavored coffee creamers come to mind as a comparison.
The finish is smooth and surprisingly clean given the blast of vanilla you receive. There’s no lingering sweetness in your mouth or on your tongue, and to be honest, that’s probably a good thing. This brew is tasty and soothing to the taste buds, but that damn vanilla thing it’s got going on just makes it difficult to love.
In my opinion, Cali Creamin’ is best enjoyed in small amounts. Beyond 12 or so ounces, I think the beer and its sweetness could get a bit nauseating. Obviously, I’d advise against chugging unless you find that you really enjoy the flavor.
I’m speculating here, but I imagine Cali Creamin’s unique taste could make it a real pain to pair with food. If you ordered, say, a burger or a steak, the savoriness of those foods just wouldn’t be that compatible with the sweetness this brew brings to the table. I suppose you could pair this brew with some ice cream or a nice slice of cake, but then you risk looking like a weirdo. I don’t know. Cali Creamin’ might be best for standalone drinking sessions, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Light, sweet, and creamy, Mother Earth’s Cali Creamin’ is a real treat… in small amounts.
I’d suggest you walk before you run on this one. Order small, sip, don’t chug, etc. It’s a yummy beer. Don’t ruin it for yourself by diving headfirst into a big mug of it.
Suggested for: Cream soda lovers, light beer bros (and ladies), those seeking dessert beers.
ABV: 5.2 % IBUs: 20