Gut Check did a double-take at the grocery store when we first spotted the pink label. "Jellybean Milk?" Behold, the latest seasonal flavored creation from the milk geniuses at Prairie Farms Dairy, based in Carlinville, Illinois (they also have a milk processing plant in Hazelwood). Naturally we had to get to the bottom of it. We bought a quart of "Jellybean Milk," as well as its sister flavors "Easter Egg Nog" and "Chocolate Marshmallow Milk," and headed back to headquarters for a taste test.
"It hasn't appealed to everyone, but we knew that it wouldn't," says Rebecca Leinenbach, sales program director for Prairie Farms. "We're just trying to have something for everyone. It's been more popular with children."
Leinenbach tells us that seasonal, specially flavored milk is becoming more and more popular. While Prairie Farms used to confine its offerings to the holidays -- egg nog for Christmas, pumpkin spice for Thanksgiving -- it has begun to branch out.
"[Customers asked] 'Why don't you do this more often?' We thought, 'Well, why not?'" she says.
Prairie Farms already added a "Red Velvet Milk" to its winter line, and with the arrival of spring comes "Jellybean Milk."
"We worked with our flavor company," Leinenbach says of the milk innovation. "We give them ideas, and they go back to their labs."
So what does "Jellybean Milk" taste like? First, we unsnapped the plastic ring and poured ourselves a glass -- it's a thick consistency, with an electric pink hue that's more magenta than the Pepto-Bismol color depicted on the carton.
One observer questioned how it could be "jellybean-flavored" when jellybeans come in all different varieties. The first sip tasted exactly like the pink ones that come from the bags you buy at the grocery store -- not like those hoity-toity deluxe Jelly Belly flavors. Another Gut Checker -- and bubble-tea enthusiast -- compared it to a milk tea, a little more watery than a strawberry milk.
By the way, if you're hoping to try "Jellybean Milk," you'd better be quick about it. Leinenbach says after a month on the market, the entire stock has sold out and stores are running out, too. Once it's gone, it's gone...until next year, that is.
Asked whether this new line of seasonals has been a success, Leinenbach was coy.
"I'll tell you this: I'm already planning some flavors for summer," she says. "They're even more exciting."
Anyone hazard a guess? Suggestions? Better yet, any clue what booze we should be mixing with our "Jellybean Milk"? Leave 'em in the comments.