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Craft Beer Experts Name The Strangest Beers They’ve Ever Tried

Beer is a very wide category. Sure, IPAs, lagers, and stouts dominate the conversation in many ways. But for as long as people have been making beer, they’ve been putting everything under the sun into their kettles to make it taste different and, hopefully, really f*cking good.

Today we’re going to take a deep dive into the odd world of brewing. Or rather the world of brewing odd beers, using ingredients like prairie oysters, squid ink, and super hot peppers, just to name a few. To help you expand your palate with out-of-bounds, experimental, and throwback brews, we asked craft beer experts to tell us the strangest beers they’ve ever tried. Check their answers below and try to track a few of these outliers down for yourself.

Samuel Adams Utopias

Sam Adams
Samuel Adams

Ashley Benson, head brewer at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co. in Phoenix, Arizona

ABV: 28%

Average Price: $250

Why This Beer?

The beer that sticks out to me — though I’m not sure how “weird” it is –would be Samuel Adams Utopias. It was the first beer I had that really pushed the boundaries of what I thought beer was at the time. It comes in at 28 percent ABV and is served only slightly chilled, so it drinks more like sherry than a beer.

It’s really something special to have been able to try.

Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Wynkoop

Luis G. Brignoni, founder of Wynwood Brewing Co. in Miami

ABV: 7.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

A group of us from the brewery were at the Great American Beer Fest in Denver back in 2014 when we won our Gold Medal for Pop’s Porter, and we tried Wynkoop Brewery’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. I mean, you want to talk about strange, put some Rocky Mountain Oysters in, and you got strange.

I do have to say that it’s a great tasting stout. I personally did not pick up any crazy flavors in the beer that I can recall.

One Barrel Curry Crusher

One Barrel Curry Crusher
One Barrel

Garth E. Beyer, certified Cicerone® and owner and founder of Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison, Wisconsin

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

The absolute strangest beer I’ve had was called Curry Crusher. It was a one-off batch from a brewery in Madison, WI. Stylistically, it was a brown ale that they infused with curry, sriracha, and a hint of coconut. It was a heavy savory flavor with hints of turmeric and coconut sweetness. If you love curry, then you’d enjoy consuming this beer.

This beer was a total love or hate beer. There was no in-between as it literally tasted like a curry take-out dinner turned into beer.

Weldwerks Spaghetti Gose

Weldwerks Spaghetti Gose
Weldwerks

ABV: 4.8%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Who in their right minds would try to make a spaghetti beer? At the Great American Beer Festival in 2018, I waited in line at the WeldWerks booth to finally try some of their beer. Their IPAs were amazing, but the Spaghetti Gose really caught my eye for being just plain wacky. It was clean and smooth with flavors of ripe tomato and basil.

The strangest part was that it was actually refreshing and enjoyable.

Big Alice Nothin To It

Big Alice Nothin To It
Big Alice

Dave Lopez, co-managing partner at Gun Hill Brewing in Bronx, New York

ABV: 6.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

The all-time strangest beer might actually be a beer we made with Big Alice Brewing called Nothin To It. The beer was a gruit, so it contained no hops. We used chamomile, lemon balm, white sage, lavender, coriander, mugwort, juniper berries, elecampane, rosemary, and then some fruit purees. The chamomile, lavender, rosemary, and coriander really came through, so it was unlike anything else I’d ever had.

Normally, I would never order a gruit, so it was definitely over the top for me.

Ithaca Hot and Sour

Ithaca Beer
Ithaca Beer

Joe Connolly, director of Springdale Beer Co. in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 7%

Average Price: No longer available

Why This Beer?

One of my most vivid Extreme Beer Fest memories was of Ithaca Beer Co’s Hot and Sour, a sour ale aged in a Tabasco barrel. Isn’t it strange that Tabasco is, and has always been, barrel-aged?! Anyhow. Hot and sour are not two flavors that coexist very quietly, so this had to be one of the loudest beers I’ve ever had.

Flying Dog Colonel Mustard IPA

Flying Dog
Flying Dog

Cooper Asay, head of quality at BrewDog USA in Columbus, Ohio

ABV: 7%

Average Price: No longer Available

Why This Beer?

Flying Dog made a mustard IPA. Fruity and spicy hops with savory mustard notes were interesting, but I’m probably enjoying only one. Sadly, they don’t make this very strange beer anymore. Maybe they’ll bring it back someday.

Twisted Pine Ghost Face Killah

Twisted Pine Ghost Face Killah
Twisted Pine

Aaron Uhl, owner of Uhl’s Brewing in Boulder, Colorado

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: $3.50 for a 12-ounce bottle

Why This Beer?

Ghost Face Killah by Twisted Pine is hard to beat when it comes to strange beers. What flavors made it so strange? Don’t get me wrong. I love peppers, spicy and the like. My first sip and I was sold. How much spice can one endure? I was willing to find out.

Chapeau Banana

Chapeau Banana
Chapeau Banana

Eric Warner, brewmaster at Karbach Brewing Co. in Houston

ABV: 3%

Average Price: $15 for a 250ml bottle

Why This Beer?

I’ve certainly had some strange brews over the years, but one that springs to mind is the Chapeau Banana, a banana lambic beer from Belgium. The combination of the sourness from the base, lambic-style, and the banana flavoring clashed for me in a big way. The irony is that I love the banana characteristics found in German-style wheat beers, but not with this sour/funky lambic.

Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier
Schlenkerla

Jack Hendler, co-owner of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, Massachusetts

ABV: 4.3%

Average Price: $5 for a 500ml bottle

Why This Beer?

It’s not classically ‘strange’ but it uses a strange process in production. While it’s a smoky beer, it’s not a smoked beer. What they do is that they use the yeast from their smoked beers in a helles-style lager. There are absolutely no smoked malts in the recipe, but it still has a light smoky note from the yeast that is used in the other beers and the boiling of the malts in the same kettles that boil their smoked beers. It’s a really interesting process that they started in the last ten years or so, which is a relatively modern invention for a very old brewery.

It’s a really fun play on a helles.

Jade Mountain Player 456

Jade Mountain Player 456
Jade Mountain

Todd Bellmyer, Head Brewer at Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver

ABV: 4%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Jade Mountain Brewery in Aurora, Colorado made Player 456, a Squid Ink Gose. The aroma of it was accurately described by their team as “briny”, the squid ink gave it an off-black color with a bright white head, and when drank the flavor profile was that of a great gose.

Writer’s Pick: Sheetz Project Hop Dog

Sheetz Project Hop Dog
Sheetz

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Back in the spring of 2020, Sheetz, a convenience store chain known for its over-the-top beer collaborations, paired with Neshaminy Creek Brewing to drop a beer that had a very strange ingredient: hot dogs. This citrusy, floral, highly crushable IPA was dry-hopped with Centennial and Nuggets hops and gets its name from the addition of Sheetz hot dogs added to the brew kettle.

Writer’s Pick: Evil Twin Midtown DEW

Evil Twin Midtown DEW
Evil Twin

ABV: 6%

Average Price: Limited Availability

Why This Beer?

Take one look at this beer’s can and you can guess why it’s on this list of strange brews. Brewed with milk sugar and actual Mountain Dew Syrup, it’s loaded with nostalgia, lemon, lime, and tropical fruit flavors. It feels like it shouldn’t work, but it totally does.

It tastes much better than the time we mixed Mountain Dew and vodka. That’s for sure.

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