Evan Bartholomew / Rogue Ales
Malt, water, and hops are all you need to make beer. At least, according to the ancient German beer law known as the Reinheitsgebot (can you believe those jerks in the 1500s didn’t know about yeast?!). Luckily, America is all about the freedom to brew beer with crazy ingredients. It’s also about monster trucks and fried Snickers bars -- but mostly about throwing whatever funky stuff you want into a beer, even if glitter and Oreo cookies sound like bizarrely unworthy brewing adjuncts.
Regardless of how they taste (and some are pretty damned good!), such beers are proof that brewers are willing to push the limits of what beer is in 2017, and we’re all lucky enough to witness the movement.
These are the weirdest beers in America:
Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Grape Guerrilla
Walk into a retail location or Rogue Meeting Hall, and you won’t be able to miss the enormous, pink 750ml bottle on the shelf. About six years ago, Rogue Ales (now the 30th largest craft brewery in America!) and Voodoo Doughnut (the Portland-based shop famous for its over-the-top pastries) collaborated on the successful Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale in that distinctive bright pink bottle. And it was so popular that they got together to make a few more beers. The latest, released in late 2016, offers a grape doughnut flavor that “doesn’t taste like cough syrup,” according to Rogue’s President Brett Joyce. Honestly, even if it did? That bottle is too dope to pass up.
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Jagged Mountain and Überbrew Japanese Saison
Denver, CO and Billings, MT
A beer created by two breweries for Denver’s fantastic Collaboration Fest, this Japanese saison features ingredients such as green tea, shiitake mushrooms, kelp, roasted seaweed, ginger, yuzu, toasted sesame seeds, and Japanese pepper. The ginger takes center stage in this beer, but you can also taste earthy notes from the mushrooms, and tartness from the yuzu. Despite the potentially scary list of ingredients, this beer tastes so good that I hope Jagged Mountain and Überbrew find a way to bottle the stuff. Or you could also find a way to travel back in time, attend Collaboration Fest, and drink it yourself. Your choice.
Diamond Bear Stripper Sweat
North Little Rock, AR
The problem with glitter is that if you get it on your skin, it never comes off. Enter Diamond Bear, which deposits it into your beer to ensure that you can enjoy the visual appeal of glitter without getting it on you and/or having to answer any questions about where you’ve been when you get home. One of the OGs of the tiny Arkansas brewing scene (thanks to the state’s outdated beer laws) brewed a tiny quantity of a kolsch-style tangerine brew. And then they added the edible glitter to the beer that makes it look so dang pretty. It’s honestly tough to imagine anyone stopped staring at it long enough to drink the damn thing. Seriously, watch this video!
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The Veil Hornswoggler with Oreo
If you’ve ever had a McFlurry, you know that Oreo cookies improve milkshake deliciousness by a factor of 100. So it makes sense that adding hundreds of pounds of crushed Oreo to a chocolate milk stout will also be tasty. That’s just what The Veil Brewing (surprisingly, a brewery known more for its IPAs) did with its 16 ounce limited edition cans of Hornswoggler this year. The improved stout sold out pretty dang quickly, but we bet that its success ensures it won’t be the last release of a beer that chocolatey and creamy. But if you can’t wait that long, the original Hornswoggler is also worth seeking out in cans by itself.
The Bruery and Funky Buddha Guava Libre
Placentia, CA and Oakland Park, FL
Now, you’re going to have to wait a few months for this large format, 750ml bottle to come out, but we bet it’ll be worth the wait. Our pals at BeerStreetJournal.com reported that a new collab between the two breweries will result in a beer inspired by the guava paste-filled Cuban dessert pastelitos de guayaba. The beer is a unique, imperial cream ale brewed with lactose, guava, and vanilla beans. No cigars? Lame. They missed a real opportunity to add those familiar Cuban flavors. But considering The Bruery makes a yam beer, and Funky Buddha is famous for a Maple Bacon Coffee Porter, this bottle seems very on-brand for both of ‘em.
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Southern Tier Thick Mint
The pride of western New York, Southern Tier is known nationwide each fall for its pumpkin spice-filled Pumking. The brewery clearly isn’t afraid to make crowd-pleasing beverages that could attract even non-beer nerds -- which is evident in the fact that Thick Mint’s release is part of a line of dessert beers called the Blackwater Series. This imperial stout brewed with chocolate and mint is the grown-up version of the Girl Scout favorite. Keep in mind, however, that beer clocks in at 10% ABV. If you get hungry after drinking a few, we promise not to judge you for eating an entire sleeve of Samoas.
Lancaster Shoo-Fly Pie Porter
If you didn’t grow up in Amish country, you’ve probably never heard of shoo-fly pie. And if you’re an Amish person...HOW ARE YOU READING THIS?? But for realsies, everyone who’s lived near that part of PA has had that molasses-heavy pie at least once or twice. It’s as much a staple of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine as scrapple and chicken corn soup are, so it’s fitting that a local brewery from Lancaster would offer this fall seasonal porter with locally-grown blackstrap molasses and vanilla. You might say that a beer that tastes like pie isn’t as weird as one called “Stripper Sweat,” but weirdness is in the eye of the beholder, ain’t it?