Craft brews that are breaking all the rules


A long, long time ago there was the Reinheitsgebot: the Bavarian Purity Law that stated beer could only contain water, barley, and hops (they didn’t know about yeast way back in 1516). But we’ve come a long way since then. With more craft breweries than ever, there are more brew masters than ever, and even more ideas. Which means there are more crazy ingredients being thrown into beer than ever. They’re all breaking the Rienheitsgebot, and it’s debatable whether or not that’s a good thing, but if you want to try something new, here are some brews that are breaking all the rules.

Wynkoop Brewing Company’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Company offers one of the meatiest brews out there; the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is a thick, dark brew, including flavours of chocolate, espresso, and nuts. Did your mind go somewhere else when we said nuts? Yeah, well, this beer has that kind of nuts in it, too. Each brew includes 25 pounds of bull testicles on the ingredient list—n adventurous brew for the discerning, and adventurous drinker. More info: www.wynkoop.com

Rogue Ales’ Beard Beer

Beard Beer

Now here’s something you never thought you’d find in a beer: yeast from the brewer’s beard. Yeah, you read that right. Sure, Belgian breweries often use wild yeast that just floats into their beer freely, but the yeast in Beard Beer comes from brewmaster John Maier’s beard. This is a Belgian style ale. More info: www.rogue.com

Rogue Ales’ Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

Voodo Doughnut Maple Bacon

No stranger to unusual ingredients, this is another strange concoction from the brain (rather than the beard) of Rogue Ales’ fearless brewmaster. Brewed with applewood-smoked bacon and pure maple flavouring, this may be the ultimate “breakfast beer,” if such a thing exists. The brown ale has a big aroma, and is surprisingly balanced with flavours of maple bacon. Those who believe everything is better with bacon will love this beer. More info: www.rogue.com

Sam Adams Utopias

Sam Adams Utopias

The strongest, naturally fermented beer ever made, Utopias is a 28% ABV beer is one of a kind. Tasting like something between a vintage port, a sherry, and a cognac, the red-coloured liquid isn’t carbonated, and has a strong aroma of vanilla, dark fruit, and earthy hop notes. The coffee, caramel notes, and dried cherry flavour that you would expect from a sherry come through in this surprisingly different ‘beer.” Coming in at around $200 a bottle, we’re pretty sure you won’t be funneling this beer anytime soon. More info: www.samueladams.com 

Fraoch Heather Ale


The Williams Brothers Brewery out of Scotland claims this beer has 4000 years of Scottish history. Whether you choose to believe that or not is up to you, but the idea is that this beer was brewed in Scotland long before hops became the go-to bittering ingredient in beer. Instead, heather and bogmyrtle were used as bittering agents and a preservative. This ale tastes of heather (if you know what that tastes like!), with grassy herbs, a light spice, and honey flavours, and has a clear amber colour. More info: www.williamsbrosbrew.com

Cool Brewing’s Millennium Buzz Hemp Beer

Buzz Hemp Beer

This beer has been around since 2003 and uses British Columbia hemp during the brew. No, you get high if you drink this, but you will enjoy a light amber lager with a smooth, refreshing flavor—and maybe a bit of a buzz. Winner of numerous gold medals at the Canadian Brewing awards, this is a classic yet unusual brew on the Ontario beer scene. More info: www.coolbeer.com

Spring House Brewery’s Lil’ Gruesome Peanut Butter Jelly Stout

Spring House

Pennsylvania’s Spring House brewing brews this 8.3% stout with one extra special ingredient: peanut butter. The raspberries added during fermentation give you the jelly notes, while the peanut butter is added throughout the brewing process to add aroma and flavour. The full-bodied stout is black in colour with a thick, foamy head, and tastes of roasted peanuts, chocolate, and roasted malt. A really interesting and really delicious pint. More info: www.springhousebeer.com


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