Don’t get me started on flavored beer. To me, adding non-grain flavors to beers is just…just…unnatural! After all, beer is beer, and beer is supposed to be made from barley! Wait, except for wheat, beer is beer! Er, wait, and hops, too — except for wheat, and hops, beer is beer! And, oh yeah, the earliest beers in history had honey as an ingredient. Fine. Apart from wheat, hops, and honey, beer is beer! Alright, so I will admit that adding flavoring to beer is nothing new, and there is nothing wrong with it. After all, I like a good Blue Moon as much as the next guy (or gal). But what happens when beer flavoring gets into the hand of maniacal, mad scientists? You get some very bizarre flavors. Let’s take a look at the five most strangely-flavored beers on the market.
1. Rogue Bacon and Maple Syrup.
What? Yes, that’s right. The old, rediscovered culinary tradition of mixing sweet and salty goes alcoholic in this ungodly ale from the popular Rogue brewery. And what is even better, the maple syrup flavoring comes from Portland, Oregon’s own Voodoo Doughnuts, a famous doughnut shop known for its experimental flavors, and featured on several national culinary TV shows. This ale tastes very-realistically like that classic breakfast combination of bacon and maple syrup. I imagine that it would go well with strongly-flavored, cured ham.
2. Shorts Key Lime Pie Beer.
The Shorts Brewing Company, located in Bellaire, Michigan, actually won a gold medal with this one, at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. This sweet and sour brew is made with real, fresh, key limes, along with graham crackers. It sounds a bit too sweet for my taste, but if I had to choose a food pairing, I would imagine that it would go well with — you guessed it — key lime pie.
3. Rogue Chipotle Ale.
Rogue Ales is in the list again with their Chipotle entry. Chipotle is a jalapeño chili pepper that has been dried with smoke. It is spicy with a deep, earthy (and smoky) flavor. Well, Rogue has paired this with their ale, producing a beverage that is sure to open your eyes wide. Actually, the idea of drinking chili peppers is not new — the ancient Maya enjoyed chilis with hot chocolate. This beer just begs to be paired with spicy Mexican cuisine, or even spicy Thai food.
4.Flying Dog Oyster Stout.
Victorian English tradition is alive and well in Frederick, Maryland. In the Victorian age, oysters were popular pub food, and they were enjoyed with stout — ale that incorporates roasted grains. Originally, oyster stouts were simply stouts whose flavors were a good match with oysters. But over time, some brewers began actually adding real oysters to the brewing process, thus adding real oyster flavor to the beverage. Well, Flying Dog Ales uses local Maryland river oysters in this amazing stout. This delicious brew pairs best with — do I really have to say it? — oysters on the half-shell.
5. Right Brain Pork Porter.
In 2011, the Great American Beer Festival awarded a gold medal to Right Brain Brewery for their pig porter. And yes, the beer is brewed with added pig parts — namely heads and bones, for that intense pork flavor that has been lacking in beer (?). As a porter, and thus brewed with roasted grains, it already has a sweetish, chocolate, rich flavor. Add pork to the mix, and I honestly think it is delicious. The pairing? Don’t make me say it — pork.