Beer has had a long standing reputation as one of humankind’s most beloved inventions, stretching back thousands of years to ancient civilisations. It’s only natural, then, that a few people would take on the challenge to create an alcoholic drink that challenges how we view beer. Experimentations with how the brew is made – from the hops used to the brewing process itself – has come under scrutiny to try to create something new and creative. Then there are the people who take it a little too far.
10. Pizza Beer
How many times have you sat down to eat a pizza, only to think “If only I could drink this”? We reckon the number out there is very small, but just in case you have, the Seefurths have you covered. Known as the Mamma Mia Pizza Beer, the couple claim that their invention is the “world’s first culinary beer”, born from the thought of combining a supply of tomatoes, garlic and herbs. The pair then networked with other radical brewers around the world to finalise a recipe that creates pizza beer.
So, how is it made? Pretty simple. Within the mash, a margarita pizza is added. This is allowed to “steep like a tea bag”, according to the official website. A wheat crust made of water, flour and yeast is topped with some familiar ingredients you’d see from your local pizza place; some tomato and oregano, for instance. More spices are added during a boiling process, and the mixture gets bottled up for two weeks.
So does it fit the bill? According to the reviews, the beer does actually taste and smell just like pizza. Its low score, however, is simply because the absolute last thing people want to crack open on a hot summers day is liquefied Italian dishes. Still, a potential novelty purchase for the teenage mutant ninja turtle of the household.
9. Mangalitsa Pig Porter
Next time you go to throw your dinner scraps away, take a time to think; what would it taste like if all of this were brewed into a beer? Chances are you’ll be more repulsed than inspired, but that didn’t stop Right Brain Brewery from trying their own spin.
The fact that it’s called “pig porter” is its first warning. It’s brewed using the heads and bones of pigs, which are thrown into the mix using cheesecloth bags after being smoked. The beer is then transferred from the bottom into another tank, deliberately avoiding all the fat that rises to the top. Right Brain Brewery would also like to tell you that there’s no need to worry — their latest batch does, in fact, contain the eyeballs along with the rest of the pig head. You know, in case you were concerned that they were missing the good bits.
Just before you file this under “disgusting”, however, perhaps note that the critics who have tried this beer actually state that it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s actually quite good. Drinkers of the porky porter pointed out that the flavor had a smoky hint to it, with the taste of fatty pork coming through at the end. So if you’re looking for something to accompany some roast pork, you can do worse than this pig-beer.
8. The End Of The World
For some people, brewing beer is a passion. For others, it’s straight-up competition. While everyone else is presumably cramming strange things into their mashes to make strange new beers, there’s an ongoing war to make some of the strongest beers known to man. In the arena of ‘extreme ABV brewing’, breweries from across the world work to create beverages of high alcohol content. One of those breweries is Scotland-based BrewDog.
They entered the arena with their beer, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, which earned a respectable 32% ABV rating. When it was beaten by a German brewery, they had to step up their game with Sink the Bismarck! at 40% ABV. When that lost its title, BrewDog once again put up a fight with an interesting beer called The End of History. At a powerful 55% ABV, The End of History is not a drink to be taken lightly. The first thing you note about a bottle of The End of History isn’t its strength, however; each one was stuffed inside a stuffed animal. And we don’t mean the kind you find at a Build-A-Bear:
“Only 12 bottles have been made and each comes with its own certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel,” the website says. “The striking packaging was created by a very talented taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill. This release is a limited run of 11 bottles, 7 stoats and 4 grey squirrels.”
Since then, the war for the highest ABV has run into fierce competition, with some accusations of cheating along the way. As long as nothing is bottled in anything weirder than a stuffed stoat, however, The End of History may be outdone, but it won’t be forgotten.
7. Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
It may be strange to some people that some beer use coffee as one of their ingredients, but when the coffee itself also uses a strange ingredient in the brewing process, you end up with a beer that requires a brave resolve to try.
The Beer Geek Brunch Weasel from Mikkeller seems innocent. It’s a 10.9% Norwegian beer that’s classed as an Imperial Oatmeal Stout. It contains coffee as one of its ingredients, but not the kind that you can buy in the supermarket – Mikkeller states that the coffee within Beer Geek Brunch Weasel is “one of the world’s most expensive coffees”. So you know you’re getting quality the moment you buy it. That is, if you decide to buy it after you discover the coffee is brewed from cat faeces.
It is, apparently, not a practical joke. After all, we’re not talking about any cat, here – the dung comes from “weasel-like civet cats” who are renown for being choosy how they eat. The cats consume only ‘the best and ripest coffee berries’, and their stomach enzymes play a part by breaking the beans down. In short, these cats are doing you a favour, thank you very much. Now drink your cat poo beer. And if you want further proof the world slowly went mad while you weren’t looking, the beer is getting absolute rave reviews, being praised as “world-class” quality. One of the reviews goes into detail about the flavour, stating that it has a “bitter coffee in the backend”, which probably could have been worded better.
6. PB&J Beer
There’s no dancing around the name of this one. If you want to go back to the days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but want an adult twist on it, these stouts might just be right for you. Yes, that’s right – stouts plural. It turns out, PB&J beer isn’t isolated to just one brewery. Making the perfect beverage-based replica of the iconic sandwich is a hobby quite a few breweries have taken up, with creations including Peanut Butter Jelly Time, No Crusts, PB&J Stout and the more simply-named Peanut Butter and Jelly Beer.
The latter beer was brewed at Edmond’s Oast, a company who have experimented with beverages such as chocolate and banana beers. They keep the ingredients as authentic as possible, using grape juice and peanut butter powder to nail the flavour of the sandwich. People who drink it agree; the beer’s flavour comes “exactly as promised”.
Just don’t let the kids catch wind that you have a case.
5. La Jordana del Escorpion en Fuego Hacia la Casa del Chupacabra Muerto
A beer that contains a scorpion as an ingredient would definitely be classed as a little weird, but the Unknown Brewing Co. didn’t stop there. The mix of one of their brews calls for ninety-nine of the nasty creatures to be added to the recipe.
The name (which is the long string of Mexican that makes up the title of the entry) translates out to “The Path of the Fiery Scorpion through the House of the Dead Chupacabra”, which is probably an absolute pain to try to order in the middle of a crowded bar. It’s at a pretty potent 10.1% ABV, and contains agave nectar and serrano peppers alongside the ghastly ingredient mentioned before. The scorpions come into play during the brewing process, thrown in when the beer and the hops are boiled.
It seems the addition of scorpions did not harm the flavour too badly. Reviewers say that the beer is “a decent beer on its own” and “certainly an experience”, just in case you’re looking for a brew with a sting in its tail.
4. Sumerian Beer
Sometimes, a beer doesn’t need weird ingredients in order to stand out. Sometimes, it depends where the recipe came from.
Such is the case for Great Lakes Brewing, who tried to create a Sumerian beer. The ingredients weren’t the curious part about this brew; what was interesting was how scholars from the University of Chicago were eager to help create it. After all, when you’re trying to brew a beer that dates back four millennia, you’re going to need the help of friends.
Before people could write, the Sumerians were tinkering with beer. When they did get around to inventing the written word after all those pints, they describe some of the beers they created as “a golden beer, a dark beer, a reddish beer, a dark and sweet beer and a filtered beer”. Unfortunately, the exact recipes of each of those beers are lost to history, but the brewers were encouraged to experiment with the ingredients the ancient Sumerians had on-hand to reproduce a guess as to what they were drinking – beers made from dates, coriander, fennel and juniper berries.
Sometimes you just need some space and some beer, but some people want some space in their beer.
The brewers at Dogfish Head decided to add something a little not-of-this-Earth into their drinks; lunar meteorites. Before you consider their antics a little over the top, there is a little logic in using the space rocks in a beer — their makeup of salts and other minerals allows them to actually aid during the fermentation of the beer, giving the ingredient more use than just a simple novelty.
And if you want a little extra sensation of space with your drink, the Rehoboth Beach brewpub also sold covers to help “protect” your beer. Its material? The same stuff they use to make actual spaceman suits out of. Because when you ask someone to hold you beer, you want to make sure it comes back in one piece.
2. Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale
At this point, we’ve probably covered enough beers where you could construct a full-course meal with different kinds of beverages. Those with a weaker stomach are probably grateful that there hasn’t been a beer that represents a dessert yet. This entry is for them.
Unfortunately, the actual ingredients that go into Charlie Well’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale are kept a secret, but they promise that they use “the finest ingredients” combined with ‘accredited mineral water’ to produce the brew. At a modest 5% ABV, the Pudding Ale is another entry into the brewery’s range of “pudding ales”:
“This is very much a beer first and a dessert second,” says Karl Ottomar, the head brewer. “It is brewed with our trusted pale ale malt and a secret blend of complex sugars. The initial sweetness of Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale is tempered by a gentle bitterness which delivers the sweet taste of caramel and toffee along with a smooth and robust aftertaste.”
Despite the alluring company description, the beer received an overall “okay” score by reviewers. The beer goes a bit overboard with the sweet flavours, creating more of a mess than a tasty beverage, thus proving you can’t have your cake and drink it too.
1. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
When you’re creating a stout, you have to get the balance of ingredients just right for an appetising blend. When it comes to an interesting mixture, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout has all the bases covered.
The 7.5% ABV brew contains some fine flavours in its mix; seven kinds of malts, Styrian Goldings hops, Colorado hops, barley, and twenty-five pounds of bull testicles. You know, the usual suspects. The best part about the beer is that its origin was a joke in itself. A video that the company uploaded for April Fool’s Day back in 2012 was meant to be just that – an April Fool’s joke. But when people began to respond positively to it, the Wynkoop brewery decided – unfortunately – that it had to become a reality. As such, real, actual bottles of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout were brewed and bottled.
To top it off, the resulting flavour is apparently quite decent, with people complimenting the brews strong, meaty flavour. So, at least the idea isn’t a load of bull, even if the drink is.
S.E. Batt is a humor writer. He writes freelance non-fiction for various websites, and moonlights as a fiction writer when he finds the space to do so. He enjoys cats, keyboards, and tea, but not all at the same time.