Which ingredients “you can combine” and “which you can’t” can always unleash fierce verbal battles. Tell that to the members of the Wikipaella. In the world of beer brewing we have left behind the German purity laws and in their stead some creative winds are blowing. Some very creative ones, even.
So much so that as a form of summer entertainment we have set out on a quest for improbable ingredients that we never thought we would find in beer. We warn you now that we have only ventured to read and write about them but not to actually taste them. To the curious and brave of the world: if you try, please tell us about it afterwards.
WITH WHALE TESTICLES: First place in beer brewing weirdness goes to the Icelanders, who in honour of Thor have created whale testicle beer. We, together with all ecologists’ organisations around the world, ask ourselves whether such a tribute was really necessary, but according to the brewers, it was a matter of living up to the God of Thunder: “We have put a lot of effort into ensuring that a whole testicle is used in each brewing cycle”, said the company’s spokesman, so that “we can honour the God Thor even better”.
The tribute also includes the traditional preparation of whale testicles: curing and smoking them with sheep dung. Apparently this produces an excellent smoky flavour. Furthermore, this Icelandic brewer argues that this is “a very healthy brew” that helps people “turn into true Vikings”.
PIZZA-FLAVOURED Mamma mia! a few Italians surely exclaimed when confronted with this perversion of their most universal dish, and this was the name given to the beer. Tomato, garlic, oregano and basil are added to the brewing process and then strained. Or that’s what they say.
WITH MILK. This could well be the ultimate product by the creators of the brinner, and it is actually a Japanese invention. It is called Bilk and comes from the creative mind of the son of a liquor store manager established in an area with an important dairy market. We have not tried it and to start with makes us feel curious and sick in equal parts, though it’s true that the graphic image makes it look quite tempting.
FROM THE KITCHEN GARDEN TO THE BOTTLE: Although in Spain we think that beer containing vegetables is preposterous, it is true that there are some firmly consolidated types of beer made from all kinds of horticultural produce. Pumpkin Ale was first brewed by the early American settlers. Local chronicles say that even George Washington, Ben Franklin y Thomas Jefferson drank them.
In this line we find the carrot-based creations brewed in Australia. The idea was dreamed up between a farmer from this Pacific country and a brand of craft beer. Both noticed that the sugar in carrots can be transformed into alcohol through fermentation and threw themselves head-on into this beta-carotene-filled adventure.
After drinking this last one, it only remains for us to close with a “that’s all, folks”. At least for now, because as we like to say, dear beer-loving friends, who knows what extraordinary oddities the future will hold?