Hey, don’t knock ‘em til you try ‘em.
Our own Magic Hat right here in Burlington, VT once made a beer called Ale of the Living Dead that was brewed with garlic. It reportedly did so poorly in bars and restaurants that the brewery had to buy back all of their stock. People have described it as being strangely sweet with earthy, herbal notes.
It turns out that quite a few places make beer with oysters (or at least water that’s been soaked on oyster shells). I first came across oyster beer in Dublin, Ireland at the Porterhouse brewery. They make a popular Oyster Stout by shucking fresh oysters right into the conditioning tank.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
More oysters, only these ones are of a slightly more cringe-inducing nature. Wynkoop Brewery in Denver first announced that they had made a Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout as an April Fool’s Day joke, but soon customers were asking if they could have a taste! The brewers describe it as a “meaty” stout with 25 pounds of bull testicles. Yum? Oh, and they come in clever 2-packs.
We’re back in the ocean for this next unusual ingredient. The Williams Bros. Brewing Co. replicates the old Scottish technique of fertilizing barley fields with seaweed by adding fresh seaweed to their mash tun. The result is apparently a rich chocolate ale with “the aroma of a fresh Scottish sea breeze.” Did I mention they’re Scottish?
Coconut and Curry
This combination has some notoriety in the homebrew circuit, and the National Homebrewer of 2010 Remi Bonnart helped New Belgium Brewing Company of Colorado cook up this unusual concoction. The Coconut Curry Hefeweizen’s spice list includes cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, kaffir lime, and cayenne pepper. Whew! Can I get a side of chicken vindaloo?
Tom and Athena Seefurth first got the idea to put pizza in beer in their home in Illinois. No, I don’t think you understand. There is literally a pizza in this beer. Like, they take a margherita pizza and steep it in the mash. Then they wash off the “essence” of the pizza into the brewpot. And, the best part, you can buy Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer online. Don’t worry, it’s vegetarian–no pepperoni to worry about.
Key Lime Pie
Lime isn’t very farfetched of an ingredient to add to beer, but key lime pie? Short’s Brewing Company from Michigan actually won a gold medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival with their Key Lime Pie beer, made with fresh limes, milk, sugar, graham cracker, and marshmallow fluff. It’s basically liquid dessert. Add a dollop of whipped cream and get me a spoon.
Brunch, anyone? Bloody Beer is actually a Short’s Brew creation, too! Those guys have been busy coming up with some crazy concoctions that somehow work, because this brew won silver at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Bloody Beer is fermented with roma tomatoes and spiced with dill, horseradish, peppercorns and celery seed.
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
You might want to dig out that old Holy Grail for this one. The Lost Abbey in California brews their Gift of the Magi Ale as the ultimate Christmas seasonal beer. The small amount of myrrh they use has real roots in ancient winemaking, and they also throw in some actual frankincense bark. There’s no real gold, but the rich golden color and 9.5% ABV is enough to have you singing hallelujah.
Humboldt Brewing Company in California brews a Brown Hemp Ale made with toasted hemp seeds to add a deep, herb-accented flavor. It won’t get you high, but drink enough and it’ll sure get you drunk. Enjoy this one with some of your buds.
What’s the weirdest beer you’ve ever tasted? Tell us in the comments!
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