We have a late contender for 2017’s best overall beer label, and it comes from Sacramento, CA. Track 7 Brewing Co. is a quality brewery that we’ve seen have significant success in a few Paste tastings, primarily for hop-forward offerings such as Panic IPA and Left Eye Right Eye DIPA, but this new beer is far off that beaten path. Mutant Snowman is a unique, 7.6% ABV holiday kettle sour with cranberry, orange and hibiscus, but what really caught our eye was the spectacular theming, drawing inspiration from what is undoubtedly the greatest newspaper comic strip of all time, Calvin and Hobbes. It refers to the murderous “snow goons” accidentally created and brought to life by Calvin in one memorable story, which was later cobbed for the title of one of the strip’s trade paperbacks, Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons.
Behold the full label in all its glory below, and click for more detail:
In terms of the liquid in the can, Mutant Snowman is as weird as its source material. The beer pours pink-tinged, as most beers made with hibiscus tend to do, and is lightly funky and tart, with hints of red fruit, citrus and complex floral/vegetal notes that duke it out with grainy malt and hints of fruit-forward sweetness. It’s actually more balanced than the crazy theme and coloration would have you expect, although the lingering flavor of orange is an unexpected, idiosyncratic touch.
All in all, it’s a clever, loving little tribute to one of the most inspiring strips to ever hit the Sunday funnies. We’d like to think that even author Bill Watterson, notorious for his desire to never see Calvin and Hobbes commercialized in any way, would hopefully approve of seeing his creations evoked in such a playful and zany way. And while I’m at it, here’s hoping he’d also approve of the couples costume worn by the author of this post and his girlfriend this year.
All we ask for is a follow-up beer called “The Noodle Incident,” or perhaps “Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie.”