So now that I've made you all beer experts, you're welcome by the way, I thought it would be nice to explore some of the more unusual ingrediants that brewers are using out there. If you've ever heard someone rant about the big breweries you've probably heard the term "adjuncts" tossed around. They're pretty much any unmalted grain that gets added to a beer, often things like rice or corn that are used to cut costs. In some regions of Bavaria still follow the Reinheitsgebot, a law that dates back to the 16th century that states beer can only be made with water, barley and hops. But a lot of breweries have started using adjuncts to enhance their beer, not cheapen. On top of that there's also things like fruit, chocolate and even oysters that can be used in the brewing process to impact flavor, texture and aroma. If you listen to the podcast you've no doubt heard about my "Baby Shit Stout", a beer I tried to make with peanut butter and chocolate that went horribly wrong. But let's take a look at some beers and breweries who actually know what they're doing, shall we?
Dogfish Head Brewery - Raison D'Etre
You really can't go wrong with a beer from Dogfish Head. Their motto of "Off centered beers for off centered people" pretty much means they'll try anything and their Raison D'Etre is a perfect example of that. As you might of guessed from the name they actually brew this beer with raisins, classy ones I bet. On top of that they actually use beet sugar along with a Belgian style yeast to give the beer a sweet earthy flavor. They used to also make a higher ABV version of this one that would pretty much destroy your weekend. All around a great beer from one of the best breweries out there.
Voodoo Brewery - Voodoo Love Child
Putting fruit in a wheat beer is pretty common these days. A Raspberry or Cherry wheat is good clean fun and just about every brewery is putting out something along those lines these days. But an Ale aged with fruit is not nearly as common. Especially one like Voodoo Brewery puts out that's aged with passion fruit, raspberry and Michigan tart cherries. Sounds seductive right? A Belgian Style Tippel, Voodoo Love Child is also brewed with coriander and orange peel along with a handful of other spices. The taste is almost like a fruit punch, which is a really good thing for young kids that you're trying to get drunk. Not that I'm saying you should do that sort of thing... but you could.
Rogue Ales - Chipotle Ale
Oh now you're just getting crazy! Chances are good if you've ever been into one of those stores in the mall that sells 6 thousand types of hot sauce you've seen a Jalapeno Beer of some sort. Chances are also good that if you actually tried that beer is sucked because probably what it was was a crappy beer with a pepper tossed in it. Rogue Ales doesn't make a crappy beer and I'll slap the taste out of your mouth if you ever say they do. Their Chipotle ale uses, wait for it, chipotle peppers to give the a beer a bold smoky flavor that blends well with the malts of the beer. I just blew your mind didn't I... didn't I.
Alaskan Brewing Company - Winter Ale
Ya know what's a really nice smell? A spruce or pine tree. It's a fact. They make air fresheners out of that aroma for god sakes. Anything that's good enough to cover the smell of someones bowel movement is good enough for my beer. So the good people at Alaskan Brewing Company actually put spruce tips into their winter ale. Sounds weird but if you think about it hops give off a nice pine like aroma so why not spruce up your beer with the real thing? See what I did there? This one is a straight up English ale so there's a lot of malt, but the spruce does a nice job of taking the place of hops and adds a whole new layer of flavor. Big fan.
Maui Brewing Company- CoCoNut Porter
If you're in Hawaii you're going to get some coconut. They're going to put it in your drinks, your food and probably your shopping bag you silly little tourist. A coconut beer sounds like it would be a silly gimmick to get pasty white visitors to buy while getting a run burn but it isn't. Maui Brewing has created a perfect balance between the tropical coconut flavor and the rich chocolate and coffee flavor of a traditional porter. Unfortunately this one is a little hard to track down but it's well worth the effort if you can get some.