during which the poor sick stephen quinn suffered a coughing attack and could barely participate
oh the joys of live radio!
Did you see the new helium beers debuting from SamAdams and Stone Brewing? Who would have thought you could put helium in beer, let alone that two breweries would race each other to the post to be the first to produce it.
Oh right, it’s April Fools' Day. There is no helium beer.
But there are crazy and creative beers out there that are no joke! Let’s take a quick tour of the zanier side of craft beer.
The craft beer community has embraced all sorts of brewing innovations, like brewing ales with lager yeast, adding different ingredients such as botanicals in the place of hops to experiment with different flavours, the hop wars and the highest alcohol content contest.
There are also interesting flavours brewers around the Lower Mainland and across the
experimenting with. Locally first, Storm Brewing's James Walton is always
coming up with interesting flavour twists. Earlier this Spring he brewed a dill
pickle IPA. I was fortunate enough to get to try it on cask at United States 's. And I really liked it. I am
a big dill pickle fan, and an IPA fan, so it probably wasn't that much of a
stretch for me, but I did see some pretty interesting facial expressions on
some of the other St. Augustine 's
patrons when they heard about the cask. I asked James how he got the dill
pickle flavour in the IPA. He told me that he took his mother's dill seeds and
suspended them in alcohol for six years. Six years! Now that is dedication to
your craft. St. Augustine
New Belgium Brewing beers are imported into
so if you haunt your local specialty beer store, you should have come across
beers from their Lips of Faith series.
The coconut curry hefeweisen is flavoured with coconut, cayenne,
cinnamon, coriander, fenugreek seek, ginger root, kaffir and lime leaf, with a
hint of banana from the hefe yeast. Vancouver
Also not available locally is
's Short's Brewing Company's Key
Lime Pie, which is made with fresh limes, milk sugar, graham crackers and
marshmallow fluff. The prominent sweet-meets-tart flavour won a Gold Medal at
the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. If you're travelling around Michigan , try to find
this one. And again, if you want to bring one back for me, I wouldn't say no! Michigan
Freetail Brewing in
brews a green beer - it is coloured pale greeny blue from the addition of
spirulina. Perfect for St. Patrick's day, if you happen to be in the San Antonio Texas area! San Antonio
Moving away from flavourings now, we arrive at beer for non-humans. Specifically beer for dogs.
Dog beer is only sort of beer. It does not have the four traditional ingredients in it as hops are toxic to dogs. It also doesn't have alcohol in it, so fido won't be hungover in the morning. Bowser Beer, which has been available in the
for several years, is a non-carbonated mixture of meat-broth and malt barley,
with glucosamine added for joint health. US
Locally, Moon Under Water in
their fundraising beer for dogs in August last year. It comes in two flavours,
Beef & Barley Dunkel and Chicken & Peanut Pilsner, which feature beef
or chicken stock, salmon oil and glucosamine to promote healthy fur and joints.
There is also a Dog Beer in Victoria .
Which just shows you how wide-spread the urge is to share man's greatest
beverage with man's best friend. Australia
Which takes us to man’s other best friend, his beard. And beer brewed with yeast propagated from the brewer's beard.
Rogue's Beard Beer is brewed with a yeast created from Brewmaster John Maier's Beard. Rogue says it is perfectly normal to brew beer from beard yeast "Brewers have used wild yeasts in beer making for centuries. John has had the same Old Growth Beard since 1983 and for over 15,000 brews, so it is no great surprise that a natural yeast ideal for brewing was discovered in his beard." Most beer nerds who tried it, and alas I was not one of them, agreed that it was a decent enough beer, but they probably wouldn't drink it again.
For more weird beers, check out these articles, which include a beer that uses yeast from a hornet's abdomen; one that uses a strain of yeast over 45 million years old; beer made from coffee brewed from elephant pooped beans that sold for $100 a bottle; Sapporo Space Barley beer, brewed in 2009, which featured barley from the International Space Station; and Dogfish Head's Celest-jewel-ale contained dust from lunar meteorites. There is no end to creativity in beer brewing!
However, I think the most recent entry into the weird beer sweepstakes takes home the prize for my weirdest beer. To commemorate last weekend's season finale of AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead,” a
brewed up a smooth, pale American stout. So far not weird at all right? Sure,
right up until they put goat brains in it! The Dock Street Brewing Co. created
the Dock Street Walker for die-hard zombie fans. It is brewed
using wheat, oats, flaked barley, organic cranberries (for a nice bloody red
hue) and smoked goat brains. Dock Street head brewer Justin Low said
contains “intriguing, subtle smoke notes” thanks to the addition of the brains.
And, just to really make you shake your head, that wasn't the first time that animal heads and their contents have been used in beer brewing…
Right Brain Brewery makes their Mangalitsa Pig Porter using actual pig heads and
bones. The beer took home a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in
2011 in the Experimental category. It is only made once a year, and they say
that the Mangalitsa Pig Porter is rich, chocolatey and “infused with a symphony
of salty, smoky and savory flavors.” Michigan
I thought after that list of weird and wacky beers that I would keep this week's beer picks in the realm of the experimental, but much more down-to-earth:
First up, a collaboration beer between Victoria's Hoyne Brewing and Driftwood Brewing, the
mash-up, is available in 650 ml bombers at specialty liquor stores in the city.
Half a baltic
porter was brewed and fermented at Hoyne, half at Driftwood. The brews were
then combined by running a hose across their connecting parking lot. Available
in both Hoyne and Driftwood designed bottles. Rock Bay
Secondly, head on over to East Van and try an infused beer at Parallel 49 and Bomber Brewing. Both tasting rooms have a randall - a tubular tower they fill with fresh ingredients and force beer through to get unique infused flavours. They change the ingredients daily, so follow them on twitter to find out what the flavour of the day is.