Brewed with Balls – the most outlandish beers on the planet
Affirm Press, 2016
Over 15 years ago I sampled ‘Chili Beer’ from US-based brewery Black Mountain Brewing Co that comes complete with a whole jalapeno inside the bottle. The brew was so over-powering with chilli heat that I couldn’t finish it and I all but dismissed it as a novelty. But the beer asked, what other beverage would even attempt this combination? What other beverage would stick their fingers up at the establishment and be bold enough to throw the rule book out the window? When it comes to beer, rules are meant to be broken.
‘Brewed with Balls’ showcases 65 of the best alternate beers from around the world. A short paragraph per beer is included that lists either an unusual brewing method or an unusual couple of ingredients, or both. It’s the perfect coffee table oddity book that doesn’t delve too deeply into any beery technicalities meaning it will appeal to everyone but leaves us nerds a little dry mouthed. Though side-stepping any technical aspects is what will hopefully encourage non-beer drinkers to give beer a chance.
There’s plenty of beers that sound incredible. See ‘Gift of the Magi’ from The Lost Abbey – a yuletide beer that includes the bark of frankincense, and a dash of myrrh. Or see Moon Dog Brewery’s ‘Ogden Nash’s Pash Rash’ brewed with those deliciously sweet Redskin lollies infused throughout.
There’s also plenty of beers that’ll make you nervous yet curious. See ‘Hvalur 2’ from Icelandic brewers Brugghus Stedja who use sheep poo-smoked whale testicles as a key ingredient. Or see ‘Walker’ from Dock Street Brewery that combine goat’s brains and cranberries.
And then there are the beers that defy comprehension. Such as Brewdog’s ‘The End of History’ – a bottle encased within a roadkill squirrel carcass.
The book is a hell of a lot of fun that will at times disgust you, and at times leave you salivating onto the pages. It’s a good reminder of how versatile and fun beer is and opens your mind to the fact that any favour combination is possible.