BEER….YECCHH!!!

I’ve previously written about Rheinheitsgebot, the
German purity law which defines water, barley, hops and
yeast as the only ingredients allowed in the brewing of
beer, and how it is often disregarded by modern
brewers. We’ve read about all sorts of fruits,
vegetables, spices, coffees and other flavorings which
make new styles of beer, or simply change the make-up
of a long established style such as “mango” IPA or
“raspberry vanilla “ stout. But at least, eclectic
ingredients are everyday, readily available commodities
which can be enjoyed by them themselves, without
being added to beer.

More recently however, brewers have been adding
strange ingredients to resurrect ancient styles, and
create new ones which defy the imagination of normal
beer drinkers and serve mainly to “push the envelope”
and demonstrate that some brewers have gone “over
the top”.

It didn’t take long for Icelandic brewers to go over the
top. Prohibition in Iceland only ended in 1989. One
would think that at the end of that horrible dry spell,
Icelandic drinkers would be well satisfied with a nice
helles, doppelbock or even an imperial stout. But
apparently the brewers at the Stedji Brewery in
Borgarfjordor thought that Icelanders need something
more, so they began brewing Hvajur beer for the annual
Thorri Festival in January and February, where festival
goers dine on fermented sharks, sour whale fat and
ram’s balls. With a cuisine like that, it’s only fitting that
a brew like Hvajur accompany the feast because it is
brewed with whale testicles smoked over fires of sheep
dung! Can you just imagine John Wayne walking into
Cohan’s Pub in ‘The Quiet Man” and saying “Barkeep! I’ll
have one of those sheep shit beers”?

The Order of Yoni Brewery in Warsaw uses “hi tech
microbiological techniques to prepare the lactic acid
bacteria from the vagina of a unique woman” for use as
yeast to start the fermentation process. Their ad
proclaims “Made from the essence of a hot underwear
model”. Drinking this vagina beer will most likely NOT
replace certain aspects of a sexual encounter.

Closer to home, but also referencing a novel way of
harvesting wild yeast, is the Rogue Brewery of Oregon,
brewers of Rogue Beard Beer which uses a wild yeast
cultured from nine hairs off the chin of brewmaster John
Maier. I sampled this beer only once, but it was after
attending an Oktoberfest in Helen, Georgia. Many pints
of Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner and other
German festbiers kind of dulled the palate but the name
alone was enough to make me retch.

Even closer to home, Sam Calgione, founder of Dog Fish
Head brewery in Delaware and renowned for his
knowledge and expertise on all things “beer”, recently
brewed “Chicha” from an ancient Peruvian recipe which
calls for chewing a purple colored corn and using the
saliva generated as a fermenting agent. Perhaps the
judges at a brew competition could define the mouthfeel
of this beer as “chewy”.

Not only one but TWO breweries have noted the
importance of cat shit in the brewing process. The
Mikkeller Brewery of Copenhagen was the first brewery
to brew Beer Geek Brunch Weasel which uses coffee
beans excreted by the weasel-like civet cat, who dines
only on the richest and ripest of the coffee beans.
Special enzymes in the digestive tract of the civet break
down the beans to make them suitable for inclusion in
the beer. Not to be outdone, the Perrin Brewery of
Michigan brews Big Konas using the same technique. I
wonder who first saw a civet cat relieving itself and
thought “Hey! This might be useful in my next batch of
beer”.

Keeping with the idea of #2 making beer, we must not
forget Sankt Gallens Brewery of Japan which takes the
civet digestion process to a new high. They brew “Un
Kono Kuro” (a takeoff on the word “Unko” , or Japanese
for “crap”), a Black Ivory Coffee Beer brewed with coffee
beans hand picked out of elephant shit. The excrement
is provided by Thailand’s Golden Triangle Elephant
Foundation, which evidently charges great deal for their
elephants’ offerings since a keg of this beer sells for
$1100, or $1100 more than I’d be willing to pay.

“Pisner” beer from Denmark is brewed with barley
fertilized by 50,000 liters of human urine collected from
the troughs at the Danish Roskilde Music Festival. The
Danish Agricultural and Food Council calls this
“beercycling”. I call it NUTS!

Not all ingredients have to be run through a digestive
system, however. Some are just added BEFORE
ingestion such as those in Dock Street Brewery’s
Walker Beer, which uses pre-sparge goat brains in the
brew. The claim is that this beer will make you smarter,
but frankly I believe this to be an outright lie. The
dumbest human who ever lived HAS to be smarter than
a goat!

The Suntory Brewery of Japan adds two grams of
collagen per can to it’s “Precious” beer, which is aimed at
the female market, in an attempt to make them think
they’ll look younger by drinking it.

The Three Sheeps Brewery of Sheboygan, Wisconsin
brewed a onetime only beer “Nimble Lips, Noble
Tongue”, an IPA made with Italian squid ink. If somehow
an Albanian squid got mixed up in the extraction
process, would this ruin the batch?

Colorado’s Wynkoop Brewery is widely known for it’s
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which includes 25 lbs of
freshly sliced and roasted bull testicles in each batch.
Perhaps a way to increase one’s testosterone?

Home brewer Dailey Crafton of Brooklyn uses ants to
make his beer. He decided to include flower petals in his
latest brew and was just about to throw them in when
he noticed a column of ants marching out. He though
“What the hell….maybe I’ll get a really wild yeast strain
from them”. So in went the ants.  Also from the insect
world comes “Bumblebeer’, made by brewing
researchers at North Carolina University, who theorize
that pollinating insects would be a great source of wild
yeast due to their close association with flowering
plants. (Your children’s tuition pays for this kind of
thing).

As for me, I think I’ll stick with more traditional methods
of making beer. After reading about some of the above
nonsense, even a Caramel Porter sounds pretty good.


                          Cheers!








            Dan
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