“Wow. I mean, I’d drink it, because alcohol, but…wow.”
~American beer drinkers
America is a nation of innovation, nurturing the minds that eventually came to bring us DVDs, the Internet, and probably some other things that we don’t even use to watch pornography. Nowhere is this enterprising spirit more apparent than our constant efforts to improve upon perfection (read as: beer). Each year brewers go out of their way to give us new and interesting ways to get drunk on liquid bliss, ranging from the strange to the “are you sure that’s not whiskey?”
As purveyors of all things American, we constantly find ourselves inundated with a plethora insane sounding beers that we absolutely have to try at this moment. So for tax write-off purposes, we’re going to list the five newest, most exciting, and strangest beers that have hit the market this past year so we can try them without having to buy them. Because this is America goddamn it, and if we can find a way to get the government to pay us to get drunk, we’re going to move heaven and Earth to make that happen.
Or just write 1,500 words on weird beers. Tomato to-mah-to.
The Five Newest, Strangest Beers in America
HONORABLE MENTION: SPRECHER HARD ROOT BEER
This is only an honorable mention because it’s technically not beer, but it deserves your attention nonetheless. Root beer was most successfully mass produced during the prohibition, because Americans were so desperate that any product that even had the word “beer” in its name was good enough for them. It remains a popular soft drink, though the key ingredient for early versions of root beer, the sassafras root, apparently is a carcinogen that causes liver damage. Nice going, Temperance Movement. Of course, the root beer we drink and enjoy now replaces sassafras oils with good old fashion chemicals, so there’s no reason to be suspicious of the samples of root beer your kids are given at the end of the brewery tour while you pound enough beer samples that you have to meander for an hour until you’re good to drive again.
However, Sprecher Brewing Company (who of course hail from Wisconsin) might want your kid stumbling around too. Sprecher makes their own beer, but they’re best known for their high-end pop, from regular standbys like Root Beer and Cream Soda to more inventive carbonated drinks like Ravin’ Red (cheery, cranberry, honey, and ginseng) and Orange Dream (honey, orange, and vanilla).
Sprecher decided to change the game when they created “Hard Root Beer,” a fermented root beer with five percent alcohol that takes their root beer and adds oak and bourbon flavors. We cannot stress enough how happy we are this exists. They’re basically taking the soft drink that’s main purpose is to be a non-alcoholic replacement for beer, and getting rid of every reason that it’s a non-alcoholic replacement for beer. At only $5 a four pack, we might have to take a trip to pick up a case of the stuff.
But enough about boozy soda, it’s beer time.
ROGUE VOODOO CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BANANA ALE
Rogue Ales is an Oregon brewery known for its large selection of unique and varied beers. They also apparently like doughnuts. Or at least using doughnuts as an excuse to make a beer with a longer name than most college essays. The brewery has created multiple beers with the owners of Voodoo Doughnuts, an Oregon bakery that does wonderful, terrifying things to buttery dough. Yes, you just clicked their link, and yes you immediately noticed the bacon maple doughnut, so you can see why we’d get behind them.
Do you remember the first time you encountered a fully stocked ice cream Sunday bar as a kid? In theory, you should have felt overwhelmed with the sheer amount of sugary options to choose from, but you had a sort of manic calm about you. You then proceeded to put every fucking thing you could on top of your ice cream and douse the fucker in chocolate sauce, right? Of course you did. And it was delicious. That same basic approach was taken Rouge’s latest collaboration with Voodoo—the Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale. Not content to just make a beer with chocolate, or even a Reese’s Peanut Butter Beer, they added bananas to the whole thing because fuck you, don’t question genius, it sounds delicious and you absolutely want to try it, don’t you? That’s what we thought. The fact that the intense amount of sugars in this beer will also make it more alcoholic is just a hidden bonus. However, there are even more American ingredients that you can use for beer, like…
ROUGE VOODOO BACON MAPLE ALE
Is it a little lazy to use a second beer from the same brewery/doughnut shop collaboration? Maybe, but this is the most widely available bacon beer we found that wasn’t from Canada. It also includes maple syrup as a polite way to say to the aforementioned Canadians, “Anything you can do, we can do better.” So while chocolate, banana, and peanut butter sounds delicious (we’d be lying if we said some of our staff members aren’t strongly considering paying $13 bucks to get a 750 ml bottle of it sent to their homes) bacon and maple just sound American.
Yes, we’ve mentioned the existence of bacon beer previously, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out that a brewery and a doughnut company made a beer using maple flavoring and actual bacon. You can smoke a beer to give it a “bacon taste” or you can man up and actually put sliced up delicious pig meat into a giant vat of beer that you actively turn into mind-numbing booze. Beer isn’t supposed to have a fat content, but we’d absolutely drink one that does.
SHORT’S S’MORES STOUT
Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire, Michigan didn’t need any outside help when they decided to brew a beer with graham cracker, milk chocolate, marshmallow, and smoked malt because… oh goddamn it guys you clicked the link already to try to buy it didn’t you? Stop it, come back here. Yes, Short’s decided to take all the best things about camping and combine them into one easy-to-get-you-drunk package. We’re going to save you the future disappointment by letting you know in advance that this is the last beer on this list that you’re going to be actually interested in drinking, as the next two are fairly…unique.
But, enough about that, let’s focus on the S’mores beer, goddamnit! According to the brewery, you are encouraged to add a flaming marshmallow garnish to this beer when drinking it from a mug, and we’re so upset we didn’t come up with that idea independently. Seriously, just look at that thing. Holy hell.
While we’ve not had many beers that have, you know, marshmallows in them, any time you can put American cubes of horse hoof and sugar into a beer, we’re going to pay attention. And we’re going to road trip to your brewpub to get a pint. No amount of distance can stop us. Don’t ever underestimate us, northern Michigan.
Theoretically, combining kimchi and beer sort of makes sense. After all, kimchi’s just fermented cabbage. Beer’s fermented too, right? Except that saying these two ingredients should be combined because they share the word “fermented” is like saying that John and Joan Cusack should make a baby because they share the same initials—you might go in with good intentions, but you’re going to end up with a deformed, unholy monstrosity.
That said, there has been a mini-boom of sorts of homebrewers using kimchi in their beer ingredients, because hell, the internet exists. So that’s why you can find numerous examples of people adding kimchi to their beer, and topping it off with a little Sriracha hot sauce, because apparently American homebrewers like to hand their beers to someone, wait to see what look registers on their face, and then start cracking up saying, “Hah, you just drank spicy cabbage beer! WEIRDO!”
Of course, if you really want to go full-on crazy with your beer ingredients, look no further than Colorado.
WYNKOOP ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTER STOUT
While most of you are familiar with this term, some of you might not know what a Rocky Mountain oyster is. But as you find yourself staring at the two fleshy, squiggly-veined lumps placed randomly in front of this phallic can of beer a shadow of fear has just crossed your face. Yes, Rocky Mountain oysters are bull testicles. For eating! Considered a delicacy in Colorado, Rocky Mountain oysters are technically deep fried testicles of a bull calf.
As it is a popular regional dish, Wynkoop made video as an April Fool’s joke about taking bull balls, and instead of frying them, tossing them into a beer. Because this is the internet, the general response was not, “Haha, oh man, could you imagine? Bull balls in a beer? What a riot! Lulz!” but instead, a distressing amount of people exclaimed, “Oh sweet! When can I buy a bottle?”
And with a true, “Fuck it” American attitude, Wynkoop shrugged and said, “Well, they’re asking for bull ball beer, so let’s make some bull ball beer.” And now, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is a real fucking thing.
Just let that sink in for a second… and trust us, we are using every bone in our bodies to stop ourselves from making easy ball puns here, but let’s just say that it’s apparently a well-rounded stout (oh God, we’re so sorry), even though you’d have to be pretty ballsy to try it (It’s a sickness, really, we can’t help ourselves). While, granted, we’d want to test (ugh, that wasn’t even that good) the beer out of sheer curiosity, we see men (Oh God, that one was borderline criminally bad) shrink (is someone listening? Can you just submit the article now before we keep doing more of these?) at the idea of consuming beer brewed with the testicles of a bull.
Anyway. Beer made out of balls. Well done, America. We think.