Drunk anthropologists agree, the oddest subgroup of our species is getting exponentially weirder. We speak, of course, of Homo getusdrunkus—the wild beer brewer. No longer satisfied with well-worn styles and classic ingredients, today’s brewers are whipping up strange beers with bizarre components like whales, poop, and long-forgotten ancient recipes. Naturally, as part of an ongoing and rigorous study of inebriation, we drank five of the world’s strangest beers that combined these elements in uncanny and occasionally disgusting permutations.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Dogfish Head Brewery enlisted a molecular archeologist to develop this recipe after the fermented barley and grape residue scraped from a 2,700-year-old drinking vessel found in the sealed tomb of King Midas in central Turkey. An odd mix of beer, wine and mead, Midas Touch is a delicious reassurance that even our ancient ancestors could do better than Bud Light. Exceptionally dry and complex (like an amalgam of a rich Chardonnay and German pilsner) the pale-gold beer holds a faintly spicy aroma of saffron and leaves the shared tang of Welch’s grape-juice and sweet, waxy honeycomb on your tongue. A fantastic brew in the 21st century, we imagine getting faced on Midas Touch was probably even better if you drank it while your slaves toiled away constructing your tomb.
BEER GEEK BRUNCH WEASEL
Yes, this is a beer brewed with partially digested coffee beans plucked from the turds of Southeast Asian weasel-like cats. Fortunately, it has absolutely zero cat feces flavor. Rather, Brunch Weasel is a decadently rich and earnestly delicious dessert beer. Dark (like the inside of a lower-intestine), foamless, and as thick and sticky as crude oil, this imperial stout combines a deep espresso-ground aroma, light oatmeal cookie malt and bittersweet chocolate overlay. It’s a delightful trio of flavors that is matched—at 11 percent ABV—with the exact amount of booze needed to lubricate the knowledge part of this beer has seen the inside of a weasel-cat’s asshole.
BONE DUSTERS PALEO ALE
Lost Rhino Brewing Company
Like Beerfest meets Jurassic Park, Bone Dusters is brewed with a wild yeast strain that was delicately dusted off a 35-million year old whale fossil. Because why not? Otherwise a deeply refreshing and crisp amber ale, these feral yeast shine through by clouding the beer and bequeathing a whirlwind of tropical, fruity notes: chiefly passion-fruit, papaya and a slight tang of honeydew melon. Weird whale-yeast aside, this is a perfect beer to pair with a burger (Brontosaurus, preferably) or if your day job in paleontology can be accurately described as fossil-fluffer, a much needed prophylactic to get you through your next shift.
HISTORIC BEER 1843
A recreation of a beer discovered in 2010 in a 170-year-old Baltic Sea shipwreck off southwestern Finland, this brew was deeply dividing to our tasters. On one hand, it’s undoubtedly refreshing, pleasantly briny and as hyper-carbonated as straight soda water. But we just couldn’t see a lot of flavor from under the frothy, sea-foam bubbliness of this shipwreck find. Like weak cream soda, or watered down Champagne, it’s not at all unpleasant but just a bit too gentle and soft. Perhaps the problem is the age—we wanted a little less socialist utopia and a bit more Viking bite out of this Scandinavian throwback.
Brewed with the sheep-dung roasted testicles of the endangered fin whale, this strange and morally challenging Icelandic beer is pungent, lingeringly acrid and altogether pretty goddamn unpleasant. Poop and balls, who would have thought? Perhaps best described as a mismanaged rauchbier, Havlur 2 has a sweet but weakly earthy malted body (think a whole-grain doughnut) slathered with an overcooked-ham ashtray smokiness which tastes exactly like your regrettable first relapse cigarette. In the end, the brewers at Steðji microbrewery have managed two highly unethical feats with this endangered whale brew—and the second is creating profoundly bad beer. If there is an upshot, it’s that drinking this beer was the first and only time we’ve ever been able to honestly and accurately say, “Wow, this tastes like shitballs.”
This article originally ran on May 21.