A drink that has conquered the world, and then left it with countless hangovers, beers are almost as globally ubiquitous as cars and mobile phones. Here’s a few of the finest and weirdest from around the world, some with surprising ingredients…
1. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout – USA
Oysters would make an intriguing enough basis for a bizarre beer, but they’re nowhere to be found in the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout recipe. Instead brave beer-lovers can expect “seven specialty malts, Styrian Goldings hops, and 25 pounds of freshly sliced and roasted bull testicles.”
It raised eyebrows on debut at the Great American Beer Festival in 2012, and tips the scales at a punchy 7.5%. You can take this beer by the horns at Wynkoop Brewery in Colorado, where it is produced in periodic small batches.
2. Hvalur 2 – Iceland
We don’t know what is about animal testicles and foreign craft ales, but there’s a theme emerging here. Specially brewed for midwinter festival Þorri, Hvalur combines pure Icelandic spring water with hops, barley, and dried sheep dung-smoked whale testicles for a flavourful 5.2% ale.
If anything the dried sheep dung is the normal bit – dung has been smoked for for generations in Iceland. This earthy beer apparently has a unique taste, but understandably there has been outrage by conservationists and anti-whaling campaigners who claimed the ‘dying’ Icelandic whaling industry was trying to create markets for new products.
3. Snake Venom – Scotland
Yes, Snake Venom is technically a beer, but you really, really shouldn’t drink it like one. Currently the strongest beer in the world, the double-take-inducing 67.5% ABV is not for the faint of liver, and is all the more deadly for retailing in an innocent-looking brown bottle. The brainchild of the Brewmeister Brewery in Scotland, it apparently boasts a ‘sweet nutty aroma’ and a ‘fruity flavour’. We’d bet it mostly tastes of alcohol.
4. Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner – USA
Beers can’t be affluent, but if they could, this American-made Pilsner would be the most affluent of them all. Crafted by Moody Tongue Brewery in Chicago, the Shaved Black Truffle Pilsner is made with Australian black truffles, initially cost over $100 a bottle, and was dreamed up by a Michelin-starred chef.
5. Big Ass Money Stout – Norway
A publicity stunt masquerading as a beer (and yes, we know we’re falling for it), this 2015 limited edition beverage tested the boundaries of brewing by building a beer with blended Hawaiian pizza and literal money. And yes, we mean literal – the drink contained actual Norwegian banknotes. The brewers remarked at the time that they wanted to “do something really stupid”, and we can comfortably say that they succeeded.