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America’s favorite sandwich … on draft or in cans

By Paul Viau | Mar 02, 2016
Photo by: File photo OOEY-GOOEY, SOFT AND CHEWIE — Nothing beats a good PB&J sandwich, with the exception of Catawba Brewing's Peanut Butter Jelly Time ale.

Spring is right around the corner, and all the students who bring their lunch to school are looking forward to a summer vacation time — without peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Meanwhile, many of us who have cultivated a taste for craft beer are awaiting (not so patiently) for the annual release of the popular Catawba Brewing seasonal — Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

Now, before you climb on your high horse and ride off into the sunset claiming to be a craft beer purist, let me tell you that this beer is one of my all-time favorites. The Catawba crew has just-plain ‘nailed’ the taste and wholesome goodness of fresh peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“Peanut Butter Jelly Time ale is a one-of beer that makes you feel like a kid again,” said Catawba Brewing’s co-owner Billy Pyatt.

Best of all, Catawba has hermetically sealed this wonderful throwback to youth in a potable, portable and recyclable container.

PBJT has been a staple in our spring beer cooler for years, and right now I wish I could reach into the refrigerator and grab a can to further inspire my writing. Unfortunately, the Viau household has been out of Peanut Butter Jelly Time since last spring, so I had to settle on Catawba’s King Winterbolt — no complaints, here.

The annual release of Catawba’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time is right around the corner — March 4 at Catawba’s three locations in Asheville and Morganton.

This is good news, indeed, because my lovely wife, Carol, who is our designated CFO, refuses to tackle the mountain of paperwork required to prep for our income tax filing until she has Peanut Butter Jelly Time at her disposal.

This year our taxes are going to be so complicated, I’m purchasing a case of PBJT at the release event. Only a few beers will be consumed in tax preparation — the rest will ease the emotional pain of March Madness and financial pain of April 15.

Catawba’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time is a wonderful elixir. And the magical way the Catawba brewers craft PBJT is indeed a recipe for sweet success.

PBJT starts out as a wholesome light brown ale that provides the bready qualities for base of this ‘sandwich in a can.’ After fermentation, the ale is rested on a mixture of whole roasted peanuts and all-natural raspberry puree.

There is no Welch’s grape jelly in this beer, nor should there be in any beer, but trust me —   the raspberry notes in Peanut Butter Jelly Time are instant gratification, immediately followed by the satisfying mouth feel of good peanut butter.

You know — I’m not making this up — writing about Peanut Butter Jelly Time has so captivated me that I just took a break from writing this column to go to the cupboard and get a fork-full of Jiff Extra Crunchy right out of the jar. Which makes me wonder, “Why doesn’t Catawba package and sell the leftover peanuts from brewing Peanut Butter Jelly Time?” Surely, they would taste better than boiled peanuts — Maybe even as good a beer nuts.

Anyway, it’s time for me to wrap up this column with the particulars of Catawba’s release party for Peanut Butter Jelly Time. This ‘must taste’ event starts at noon, Friday, March 4 at all three Catawba tasting rooms — 63 Brook St. in Biltmore Village, 32 Banks Ave. in Asheville’s South Slope and 212 Green St. at Catawba’s brewery in Morganton.

If you can’t make the event, look for Catawba’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time in stores, bars, pubs and other locations where craft beer is sold. But get it fast, because it sells out each year.

Oh yes, and here’s a Catawba Brewing news flash — As of this writing, Catawba’s brews are now available throughout North Carolina — from coast to mountains. Congrats to the Pyatts.

For more information, visit www.CatawbaBrewingCo.com.