Craft beer has always been a creative industry, thriving on new discoveries and healthy competition. However, now and again a brewer will shock us, knocking us for six with a brew no-one saw coming.
We’ve been doing some digging and have rooted out some of the most questionable ingredients brewers have ever used, for better or for worse...

Behold, five of the strangest ingredients ever added to a brew:

1. Beard.

Nope, I haven’t mis-spelt bread (unfortunately).
Back in 2012, Oregon based brewery Rogue Ales, decided they wanted to cultivate a wild yeast to complement the locally sourced hops and and grains they use.
Turns out, finding a useable, unique strain of yeast is actually quite difficult. In fact, according to a Harvard microbiologist, 90% of the world's sourdough contains the same species of bacteria, regardless of where it comes from.

Not one to give up, brewmaster John Maier turned to a more 'experimental' method. Using nine of his own beard hairs (plucked from his 34 year old beard), Maier cultivated a useable strain he dubbed 'beard yeast'. And so, 'Beard Beer' was born. 

One review by Daniel Tapper from the The Guardian said Beard Beer was, "the weirdest beer I've ever tried" and described it as containing notes of banana, passionfruit and pineapple.
That's one fruity beard you've got there John.

Surprisingly, Beard Beer has actually gone on to do some pretty great things, and is widely considered to be the official beer of No-Shave November.
Rogue Ales donate some of the proceeds from each sale of the beardy brew to No-Shave November, a nonprofit organisation which promotes cancer awareness and uses funds to support cancer prevention, research and education.

Kudos beard yeast, kudos.


2. Space Barley.

The truth is out there… Don’t play the X-Files theme music just yet though, the only thing extraterrestrial about this beer is the barley it uses in it’s malt. 

In 2009 Japanese brewing giants Sapporo launched a beer made from “100% space barley”
In other words, they made a beer made from fourth generation barley seeds that went to space one time. Kind of anti-climatic, I know. 

Haruna Nijo, a malting barley designed to be kept in space for five months, was developed by Sapporo as part of a joint research project with the Russian Academy of Sciences and Okayama University. 
Seeds from this barley were then grown (back on Earth, sadly) and turned into a malt to make this space beer. This brew also holds the title of being one of the most expensive beers you can buy; coming in at $110 for a six-pack!  

Despite the disappointing lack of alien influence, it is the closest thing us non-astronauts will get to outer space, so I guess that’s something.


3. Fried Chicken.

Look, here’s the thing, I get that some people really love fried chicken, and I get that some people go nuts over beer. However, there are some lines in this world that should never be crossed, and this is quite possibly one of them. 

Renown for being a bit of a beer anarchist, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø from Evil Twin Brewing both shocked and excited beer and chicken lovers all over the world with this brew. 

Definitely not suitable for vegans, the story goes that during his visit to the USA Jarnit-Bjergsø discovered Cracker Barrel, and loved the fried chicken Americana so much he just HAD to find a way to put it into a craft beer. Weird flex, but ok. 

In collab with Veil Brewing Co, ‘Fried Fried Chicken Chicken’ was created; a Double IPA that registers at a whopping 8% ABV.

Depending on your stance on fried chicken and beer you may be relieved to know that the beer doesn’t actually taste like greasy chicken and despair, and more just like a very hoppy IPA.

4. Brains.

Again, if you’re vegan, you may want to skip this one, you’ll thank me later.

Philadelphia based brewing company Dock Street thought up this ‘creation’ one night in anticipation of the Walking Dead Season Finale. This was back in 2014 when the show wasn’t completely awful, so it probably seemed like a semi-decent marketing idea at the time.

The brewers over at Dock Street decided to make a beer good enough for the un-dead. Yep, these guys really went there, they added brains to a brew. Goat brains to be exact.

Named the ‘Dock Street Walker’, the brew in question is for all intents and purposes, an American Pale Stout, except for the uh, brains. Roasted goat brains are added to the mash before sparging, along with cranberries for tartness and a sinister red hue.

According to the brewers, the goat brains add a “smokey character” to the beer, we'll take their word for it…

5. Frozen Pizza and Money.

If you’re thinking that the ingredients sound like the title of a low budget Rap single, then I’m sorry, because the beer’s official name isn’t much of an improvement. 
We present to you: ‘Big Ass Money Stout’, the beer which sounds like the equally terrible follow up album.

Always leaving a trail of strange brews behind him, this combo is the brain-child of gypsy brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (of Evil Twin Brewing) and Mike Murphy, from Norway’s Lervig Aktiebryggeri.

The story goes that Jarnit-Bjergsø told Murphy that the beer they were brewing together needed some ‘local flavour’. Murphy later returned with a frozen ham-and peppers pizza from popular Norwegian brand Grandiosa, and a hand full of money because apparently Norwegians are “flush with cash”.

The madness didn’t end there though, both guys decided they wanted to brew the strongest beer ever made in Norway, aiming for an ABV of 20%. Due to the high alcohol content it actually took a few years for this brew to come out, with the final ABV hitting 17.2%. 
We just hope the high alcohol content destroyed the bacteria on the money (yikes). 

The finished product is a stout with big coffee and chocolate flavours, with some people saying it doesn’t taste too different from a traditional imperial stout.

Kind of disappointing, but maybe it’s for the best. 


If you need something to calm your nerves after all that, why not check out what we have on our tap wall this week, we promise none of our beers have any hidden surprises!