Remember when beer consisted of malted barley, hops, brewers yeast, and water? Rare is the American (or Scandinavian, or Japanese, or…) craft beer that adheres to the Reinheitsgebot, that almost-500-year-old Bavarian beer purity law. That’s not a complaint, mind you. Even the Germans realized, hey, beer made with wheat is a pretty nifty idea. And rye compliments pale ales fantastically. Adding coffee and/or chocolate is a natural compliment to stouts. Belgians have long proven that fruits and herbs broaden the palette and palate.
But are things getting a bit OTT, over the top? When we just looked at pumpkin beers, it seems brewers (and consumers) aren’t complacent sticking with squashy or pie-like beers. The trend continues to go crazier and crazier. The examples are infamous and limitless. Let’s start withMama Mia Pizza Beer (which genuinely tastes like biting into a pizza, filling your mouth with a “premium” brand beer, then shaking your head vigorously). Same goes for Rogue’s Bacon Maple Ale inspired by the doughnut from Voodoo Donuts (if it got locked in a Texas smoker). Then there’s the specialty lineup of dessert-flavored beers from Shorts Brewing (Key Lime Pie, Carrot Cake, Strawberry Short’s Cake, etc) and carnival favorites like Korndog Kolsch from Coney Island Brewing. Ballast Point, which makes my favorite IPA, collaborated with homebrewer Alex Tweet to release Indra Kunindra - an India-style Export Stout brewed with Madras Curry, lime leaf, coconut, cayenne and cumin. Who hasn’t seen that viral video of the tweaker freaking over the double rainbow, which in turn inspired Black Fox’s and Trinity’s Double Rainbow, with exactly that in the recipe (red saffron and rose hips, orange pumpkin and tangerine, yellow turmeric and honey, green peppercorns and parsley, blue corn and agave, and violet barley and Shiraz grapes… What, no indigo carrots or açai berries?) It’s only a matter of time before a brewer starts plucking unicorn tail feathers to make a Quintuple Double-Trouble … Boochi-boochi Bingo… Potato Juice… Belgian Sour (and a splash of lime).
But I get it, I do. Truth is, I’m just as guilty in that whenever I see outlandish beers like these, I try them. But do I try them a second time? Do you? If everyone tastes them “just to see” (perhaps the same reason the brewer brewed it in the first place), are these one-off beers a good thing or should they be a passing fad? What’s the craziest beer you’ve heard of? If you got to try it, did you even like it?