Watermelon, coriander, oysters, coffee, honey, jalapeño peppers. These items make for quite a juxtaposed shopping list… and an even stranger list of beer ingredients. However, a growing number of breweries are adding unlikely elements to their base of hops, grain, yeast, and water, and adventurous beer enthusiasts certainly have no shortage of “bizarre” brews to taste these days. Along with the novelty factor that comes with concoctions like Mamma Mia Pizza Beer, there are also some very innovative and flavor-forward beverages coming out of breweries like Woods Beer Company (Mateveza) in the SF Bay Area, Pipeworks Brewing Company in Chicago, and Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales in Delaware.
“We brew for our own palates first and what excites us, in the hopes of exciting some consumers out there,” says Sam Calagione, the founder and president of Dogfish Head. “We’re going to keep flying our freak flag front and center and continue trying out fun stuff.” ~As quoted in Brewed Awakening: Behind the Beers and Brewers Leading the World’s Craft Beer Revolution by Joshua M. Bernstein
One of Dogfish Head’s stranger experiments: Choc Lobster, brewed with live lobsters and dark cocoa powder.
Meanwhile, Woods Brewery, notorious for their Yerba Mate IPA, sums it up in their tagline: Adventurous beers for curious drinkers.
So next time you feel like getting all of your day’s calories in liquid form (you know who you are!) look no further than the beer isle of your local supermarket. Or, more realistically, check your local specialty bottle shop. And get ready, tastebuds!
For the adventurous, a few beers to try –
Mamma Mia Pizza Beer
Jalapeño Imperial IPA (Alaskan Brewing Company)
Yerba Mate IPA (Mateveza)
Pastrami on Rye (Pipeworks Brewing Company)
Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout (Flying Dog Brewery)
What’s the most uncommon beer ingredient that you’ve encountered? What was the drinking experience like?