“Guys. It’s beer. You’re overthinking it.”
~Brewers to their marketing departments
Beer pretty much sells itself. The only reason no beer company has the tagline of “Drink This And You’ll Feel Good And The Rest Of Your High School Classmates Will Think You’re Totally Cool” is that society has too many lawyers, man. Not surprisingly, then, beer is hugely popular, and with the current boon in craft breweries in America there has never been a better time to be a beer enthusiast. However, this popularity also means a crowded marketplace. Gone are the days where you can open up a brewery in your garage, make a decent IPA, and expect to watch your business soar because, guess what, there are 4,000 other breweries out there that just made an IPA that tastes just like yours. You gotta sex it up to stand out.
Unfortunately, or fortunately for fans of weird beer news, this means that we are constantly being exposed to brewery gimmicks meant to drum up some free publicity by doing something “totally out there” to their beer. It’s the reason why you can drink Pizza Beer, Donut beers, or beer brewed with bull testicles.
And so far, 2016 has seen this trend continue. So we’re going to let you know about some of the more out there beers that have come out in the past 8 months or so, because we like to reward pure insanity from our breweries.
Strangest Beer Gimmicks: June 2016 Edition
The dirty secret about beer brewing that your officemate who won’t shut up about his homebrews has been keeping to himself is that you would be surprised at how much shit you can put in beer that will do little to affect the taste. If you put a bunch of mushrooms into your wort while brewing beer, you probably won’t come out with a good beer, but you also will not detect any mushroom flavor in the end result. Breweries have realized this little secret, and aim to entice adventurous beer drinkers by offering crazy beers with unique ingredients. Sometimes these are actually pretty decent, and sometimes they’re just trying too hard. And while we’ve yet to try the following beers, we’re still pretty confident that they’re going to fall into the “trying too hard” camp.
When Minnesota’s Mankato Brewery teamed up with Angie’s Boomchipapop to make a popcorn beer, the initial response these two were no doubt going for was for people wandering the aisles of their local liquor store to put their hands up to their faces and shout, “Say whaaaat? Popcorn? In my beer! Now I’ve heard everything!” Really, though, it’s more of a flashy header than an actually unusual beer. Considering the fact that shitty beer uses corn as a filler all the time, this is just the same concept, using slightly fancier corn, tricking people into thinking they’re having some crazy new evolution in the way we view beer.
The Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn Ale uses the popcorn kernels to make a Belgium style farmhouse ale, and definitely does not taste like how you imagine it would, because when you think of the flavor of popcorn you’re really just thinking about the salt and butter you put on it like a good little American. This is a classic technique of a brewery making a pretty good beer, but finding some way to market it so that people just have to try this crazy beer. And we get it! If we saw this beer at a bar, we’d try it, if out of nothing else than curiosity. The only problem is, increasingly, beers that say they taste like something crazy, like s’mores, actually end up tasting like that, so when you sell a popcorn beer that doesn’t taste like popcorn, you’re probably going to have a lot of people try one, sigh, and move on to bigger and better things. That’s the problem with gimmick beers—even when they end up tasting good, if they don’t taste like the gimmick you might find yourself with a lot of disappointment on the drunk end of the glass. Speaking of people being disappointed with their gimmick beer…
Dad & Dudes Breweria, based out of Colorado, stormed into the Great American Beer Festival celebrating the legal status of marijuana enjoyed by their home state by releasing a variation of their IPA (called Dank, because weed) that contains actual cannabis extract. The two beers, the Sativa IPA and the Indica Double IPA, are basically weed beers, which some of you got really excited about. But remember what we said, like three seconds ago, about not getting your hopes up about gimmicks? Yes, these beers are made using cannabidiol, which is extracted from cannabis plants, but it’s one of those “legal in every state” products that doesn’t get you high. Not even a little. No, if you drink even more bottles it still won’t get you high, just drunk. God, why are you still going on about this, just accept that you can’t get high from beer yet and move on.
So yes, there is a pot beer out there, and no, it won’t get you high. But, hey, one of them at least is strong enough that a few of them will get you feeling pretty good no matter what. That said, there’s just not a lot of buzz around a “9.5% ABV beer” considering that high alcohol beers are the kinds America’s been making for years.
Beer Using Water From A Creek Full Of Sewage
This beer wasn’t made available for public consumption, so we can’t speak for its quality. All we know is that, for an Earth Day fundraising event, Apocalypse Brew Works and Salt River Watershed Watch teamed up to make a beer using water from Beargrass Creek in Jefferson County, Kentucky. It’s the largest watershed in its county, and historically is, just, riddled with pollution. Just, lousy with it. It’s notorious for being pretty gross water that you wouldn’t have to drink. Now, of course, that’s all in the past, and now Beargrass Creek…oh shit, had 50,000 gallons of raw sewage dumped into it just this year.
Anyway, they turned that sewage water into beer! It was filtered and healthy to drink, but still, maybe don’t drink it.
Beer Brewed By Tweets
This is by far the most likely entry on this list to elicit a response of “Oh those damn kids with their damn tweetings,”but anyway, some company decided to analyze tweets made around midnight of last New Year’s Eve and then put the “emotions” expressed through a computer program, which then, through analyzing the recipes and tastes of about 2,800 beers. After finding ten beers that were seemed closest to the 38 emotions expressed by the New Year tweets, the English microbrewery High Peak Brew Co. took stock of all the common ingredients and made a cream ale that is supposed to express “optimism, love, imagination” and “gentle overtones of excitement.”
So it’s a data driven beer created by people who clearly lived a different 2015 than the rest of us. And now it’s given baby boomers an excuse to exclaim disgustedly, “Everything’s going to hell, you know that now you can tweet a beer?” So all in all, the whole thing is pretty obnoxious. But it’s not nearly as bad as…
Sigh, Vagina Beer
So apparently a Polish company called The Order of Yoni has started an IndieGoGo campaign to brew beer using lactic acid bacteria collected from the vagina of a Czech model named Alexandra Brendlova. Oh, if you’re wondering, Yoni is the Sanskrit word for vagina. Now, thankfully, the likelihood of this beer actually being brewed is somewhere between “not very” and “fucking likely” as their ambitious goal to raise $150,000 European-Weird-C-Version-of-Dollars is looking pretty unlikely (it ended up raising less than 2,000 Euro).
So on the plus side, this beer doesn’t exist. On the negative side, some dude named Wojciech Mann who looks totally like the kind of person to go to a woman and say “Can I turn your vagina into a beer” apparently managed to successfully go to a model and ask her “Can I turn your vagina into a beer” so at this point we’re just waiting out the apocalypse ‘cause that’s gotta be around the corner, right? Well, until then, we’ll just drink some actually good, non-gimmicky beer to bide the time.