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Microbrew Infused Caramel Peanuts Debut at Billings Candy Shop

Credit: Brockel's Chocolates, used with permission/Canva
Credit: Brockel’s Chocolates, used with permission/Canva

I like beer. I like caramel, and I like peanuts and popcorn.

So when I heard that a local candy shop had created a glorious combination of all four food groups, I prioritized stopping by for a taste. My agenda today was simple. Finish my work, and go to Brockel’s Chocolates.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM

A downtown chocolate lover’s destination for decades.

Jaci and Jodi Brockel were hard at work at the overflowing candy shop on N 29th St. It’s the same quaint location since their father started the company in 1978. Asked if they’ve ever considered moving to the trendy West End, they said it’s crossed their minds once or twice, but they love the vibe downtown.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM

What inspired the sweet, salty, beer-infused treat?

Jackie Brockel said it was something their dad always talked about doing. Longtime fans know that Mr. Brockel sadly passed away last year. The Brockel sisters mentioned that their mother is still quite involved in the family business, coming in a few times a week to lend a hand around the shop and do the books.

Michael Foth, TSM
Get in my mouth. Michael Foth, TSM

A favorite local brewer contributed the beer.

Award-winning brewer Angry Hanks was immediately on board with the idea, says Brockel. The brewery provided one of its flagship brews for the creation, Street Fight Irish Red Ale. It seems like the perfect fit, as the beers flavor profile is described as,

Deep red in color, this is a malty beer with bready toffee and caramel flavors. Low hop bitterness and low hop aroma round out the finish. 6% alcohol.

The alcohol evaporates out during the cooking process, so you won’t get a buzz when you eat the treat, and it’s completely fine for kids. My minions would devour a bag full in about two minutes.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM

It’s not the first time the company has used Montana booze in their treats.

The sisters continue their dad’s business model of always using the best available ingredients and they attempt to buy local or Montana-made products as much as possible. They’ve incorporated huckleberry vodka from Ennis-based Willie’s Distillery in one of their treats and they’re considering other alcohol-infused creations.

Michael Foth, TSM
Michael Foth, TSM

Taste test.

I tried the Angry Hank’s Kettle Krunch Peanut today and it checks all the marks for me, someone who loves the sweet-salty flavor combo. It’s kind of like traditional peanut brittle, but not quite so hard thanks to the popcorn. Think of the best Cracker Jacks you’ve ever had. The beer flavor is quite faint and not overpowering at all. We look forward to seeing what the crew at Brockel’s will come up with next.

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