Humans have been obsessed with sharks for thousands of years. Phoenicians were known to paint the fearsome sea creatures on their drinking vessels — and were also one of the first civilizations to brew beer. So it’s entirely possible we’ve been toasting in honor of those powerful jaws for millennia.
The latest taste of shark-inspired liquid comes from Evil Genius, the Philadelphia brewery that takes pop culture references and channels them into buzz-inducing gulps.
As the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week returns for a record-setting 31st year, Evil Genius is out with a new label that celebrates the longest running program on TV — and it’s as drinkable as its inspiration is inescapable.
The limited-edition brew, called Baby Shark, is available this week at the brewery’s “lab” and beer garden under the El in Fishtown. It goes along with a series of events, fundraisers, trivia games and movie nights, and will be sold on draft and in colorfully-decorated pounder cans.
The brew takes its name from the nursery rhyme-turned-global phenomenon. If you’re not acquainted, fair warning: it’s an earworm that can leave you begging for respite.
So what’s the drink like? Think of it as the opposite of its namesake. That is, it’s hard to have too much of this hazy IPA.
At 4.4% ABV, it’s extremely sessionable. That word has been somewhat abused by beer marketers over the past few years, but it basically means you won’t get too blasted if you choose this for day-drinking or tailgating.
Like the K-Pop kids ditty, which has somehow infiltrated nearly every corner of society, Baby Shark beer has a hook for every type of drinker.
It strikes a good balance in flavor, with tastes that hit strong notes but don’t overwhelm. Translation: Your friend who professes to hate IPAs will probably suck it down happily (as long as you don’t show her those three letters on the label). Meanwhile, confirmed beer nerds can geek out over the deft use of mosaic hops, whose complexities Evil Genius brewers showcased well.
You’ll smell citrus when you go in for a first sip, and feel a sharp citric tang at the tip of your tongue.
But the beer quickly smooths, turning juicy and soft before sliding seamlessly down your throat. No lingering burn, and very little of the irritation some cloudy New England IPAs can leave on the roof of your mouth if you drink too much of them.
If you’re one of those people who can’t get enough shark in your life — no shame, that’s been a thing ever since the 1970s thanks to Jaws — the beer is just part of Evil Genius’ celebration of the aquatic carnivore, which also raises money for local waterways.
Baby Shark is available starting Saturday, July 27. On Sunday, the brewery hosts a .5K Shark Run (yes, half a kilometer) that’s a fundraiser for the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund. On Thursday, there’s Shark Week Jeopardy, with proceeds supporting the Schuylkill River Conservancy. And throughout the week, the TVs at the Front Street brewpub will be playing vintage and campy shark movies, from Sharknado to Finding Nemo.
No confirmation as to whether Katy Perry’s Super Bowl mate will make an appearance. Maybe that’s what the Evil Genius crew is planning for next year’s Shark Week release.