Gallery: Ask a Cicerone: What's The Weirdest Beer You've Tried?

Grape Jolly Rancher Sour Ale
Grape Jolly Rancher Sour Ale
"Hands down a grape Jolly Rancher sour ale that someone in our local homebrew club made. The beer was bright purple and there were a few snickers as it made its way around the room, but the funny thing was, it wasn’t half bad!" — Melody Daversa (Karl Strauss Brewing Company)
Boson De Higgs from Hopfenstark
Boson De Higgs from Hopfenstark
"I have tried kombucha beers, one-off collaborations with chefs/homebrewers/cartoonists, bacon-infused beers, attempts at resurrecting defunct and archaic styles, beers using ancient brewing techniques, and beers attempting to harness every strange ingredient under the sun. My first ever Weird Beer Award, however, would have to go to the successful hybridization of the German rauchbier, Belgo-French saison, and fruity-tart Berlinerwiesse that Hopfenstark churned out last year called Boson De Higgs. Listen, people can experiment all they want, and can "push the envelope" and "think outside the box" and probably do many other things with various types of shipping packaging, but to take three styles that are known as difficult to master and hybridize them into one beer and succeed? Very weird, indeed. This beer was sessionable, food-friendly, reserved, and of course was very, very weird." — Chris Elford (Saison)
Pizza Homebrew
Pizza Homebrew
"The weirdest beer I have ever had was a homebrew that was made with a couple of pepperoni pizzas and pizza spices. It was disgusting." — Ron Kloth (Papago Brewing Company)
PB&J Stout and Bloody Beer from Short's Brewing Company
PB&J Stout and Bloody Beer from Short's Brewing Company
"Short's Brewing Company in Michigan makes some very unique beers. Two of those being their PB & J Stout and the Bloody Beer. The PB & J Stout is a combination of their Peanut Oatmeal Stout and their Rye Ale. It tastes as interesting as it sounds. You can pick up the peanuts mid-palate with a subtle, tart follow through. The Bloody Beer, on the other hand, is a beer version of most people's favorite hair of the dog cocktail, the Bloody Mary. They nailed this one, it tastes exactly like the classic brunch drink. I'd just prefer a bit more Tabasco." — Troy Zitzelsberger (Reilly's Taphouse & Brewing Co.)
Ballast Point's San Salvador Black Lager
Ballast Point's San Salvador Black Lager

"I have tasted a ton of weird beers. In my years at Monk's Kettle I probably tried between 600-1000 brands a year. I also judge homebrew, which can occasionally be terrifying. Still, I think the weirdest beer I ever had was probably Ballast Point's San Salvador Black Lager. This is a 7% lager with bay leaf, black sage, and oysters that I had to judge as part of the Good Food Awards this past year. It was not my favorite. I think it might have won though." — Sayre Piotrkowski (Beer and Soul)

Brew Brothers Antonio's Original Garlic Pils
Brew Brothers Antonio's Original Garlic Pils
"Brew Brothers Antonio's Original Garlic Pils. I had a few bottles given to me from a friend about 10 years ago. It wasn't the worst beer I ever tried, but it certainly wasn't great. I had one with a slice of pepperoni pizza and it was actually pretty decent. I still have a bottle...don't know how well it ages." — Jesse Vallins (The Saint Tavern & George Brown Chef School)
Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
"Without question, the weirdest beer I've tried is Danish brewer Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. Brunch Weasel is a take on his more pedestrian oatmeal stout brewed with coffee named Beer Geek Breakfast. With Beer Geek Brunch, Mikkeller uses a very special Vietnamese coffee made from the droppings of a weasel-like cat called a Civet. Apparently, the Civet only eats the coffee beans when they are perfectly ripe. Enzymes in the animal's gut then help strip away some of the harsh, bitter acids associated with coffee. Finally, the beans are pooped out and later discovered by workers who collect the droppings, clean the beans (hopefully!) and roast them for coffee. Although I've never drunk civet-poop coffee, and can't speak to its merits, I will say that civet-poop coffee beer is delicious!" — Chris Quinn (The Beer Temple)
Homebrewed Robust Coconut Porter
Homebrewed Robust Coconut Porter
"It's one that I made 20 years ago when I first started homebrewing. Hands down. My Cuban friend and I wanted to make a truly local beer with a Key West twist. We drove my pickup truck around the island to public locations and harvested the coconuts from palm trees. It took all day but we filled the entire bed level. The next day, I set my friend up with a stool, a carboy with a funnel, some shade and Spanish music. He took his machete and skillfully chopped the ends of each coconut, poured the milk off into the carboy and carved out the meat to dry overnight. It took all day. I kept the volatile milk refrigerated and on the third day we shredded dried coconut meat and used the milk as the brewing water for a beer. We toasted the coconut in the oven and added it to the secondary fermenter. To be honest, the finished beer was really weird. Looking back, I would have rather spent the long weekend on a boat in the Dry Tortugas!" — Jim Brady (Bone Island Brewing)
Jalapeno Pepper Ale
Jalapeno Pepper Ale
"There are a lot of "weird" beers out there, especially in the homebrew circuit—smores stouts, bacon and waffles porters, herb garden saisons. In my opinion, when you start making concept brews you're destined for weirdness. The most surprising beer I've had, and I don't know if this counts as weird: Bent River Brewing in Moline Illinois brews a Jalapeno Pepper Ale that blew me away in that it wasn't totally gross. It had great kick, a nice malt balance and some spiciness from hops as well as pepper. The burger they serve isn't stellar by any means, but something about putting it together with that beer just blew me away. I give my buddy credit for making me try it. I wrote it off as gimmicky and mocked him for even suggesting I try it. Every now and then I have a spicy burger and I crave that jalapeno beer." — Gabriel Boden (Revolution Brewing)
Odell Brewing Company's Pineapple Beer
Odell Brewing Company's Pineapple Beer
"The weirdest beer I ever tried, was a pineapple beer I tried at Odell Brewing Company. It was an experiment, 20 percent pineapple juice and 80 percent barley. It had been sitting in a fermenter for 9 months with oak staves and wild yeast, and the brewer referred to it as 'A baby that had come to term.' I can never forget that pineapple beer, so good it still haunts my dreams seven months later." — Matt Eggers (Dog & Duck Pub)
Haand Bryggeriet Haandbic
Haand Bryggeriet Haandbic
"Haand Bryggeriet Haandbic may be one of the oddest beers I've tried. None of the ingredients are particularly unique, with the exception of lingonberries. It's not odd like a beer brewed with bull testicles or yeast cultivated from a dirty beard. What made this beer so uniquely odd was the sheer variety of odd flavors that resulted from the ingredients used in combination with a unique brewing process. The cranberries, lingonberries, and currants combined with the wild yeast and bacteria strains to create a beer that was simultaneously smoky and tart, fruity and earthy. There was a robust oiliness to it that was counteracted by the lighter body and the acidity. All in all, this Norwegian beer may be one of the oddest beers I've drunk." — Christopher Barnes (I Think About Beer & Columbia Distributing)
The Gambler from Shorts Brewery
The Gambler from Shorts Brewery
"It was made by a Michigan brewery called Shorts. Every year they come out to the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston and always bring some of the weirdest liquids you can imagine. Peanut butter and jelly beers, pistachio beers, key lime pie, bloody mary, etc...This one was called The Gambler and was made with tobacco leaves. It tasted like a bum smells." — Henry Joseph (The Pony Bar, Upper East Side)
Elysian's Torrent
Elysian's Torrent
"A few months ago I went to Blind Tiger with some friends, and Elysian was there showcasing their Apocalypse series. One of them is called Torrent, a pale bock made with beets. And let me tell you—this thing tasted like beets. While I liked every other beer I tried that day/night, I was not digging on the beet beer. I bet Dwight Schrute would love it, though." — Adam Sivits (Whole Foods Beer Room (Bowery, NYC))
It's Alright from Mikkeller
It's Alright from Mikkeller
"Mikkeller "It's Alright." Tasted like chewing on a dirty leather boot filled with Copenhagen Long Cut chewing tobacco with an aftertaste of sweaty Fruit Loops. Definitely not alright." — Jack Van Paepeghem (Meridian Pint)
Pizza Beer Company's Mama Mia
Pizza Beer Company's Mama Mia
"The weirdest beer I ever tried "Mama Mia" Pizza Beer, from Pizza Beer company. It tasted and smelled like pizza. And beer. It was astonishing, and I'd do it again, and again. Hopefully next time with a pizza." — Peter Campagna (O&B Restaurant Company)
Pilsener with Peppermint and Lemongrass
Pilsener with Peppermint and Lemongrass

"A Pilsener with lemongrass and peppermint merits winning the category due to the perfection of its wrongness. You can't find it anywhere now, and those responsible have already paid for their crime so there will be no naming of names.

Sometimes novelty for novelty's sake can result in flavor combinations which we never would expect to coexist peacefully, but somehow it happens to work. In this case, not." — Alex Crowe (The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College)

Ghost Scorpion Lager
Ghost Scorpion Lager

"Elevator Brewing Ghost Scorpion Lager—beer made with ghost peppers? Had to try it. Once was enough." — Chris Karl (Yogi's Grill & Bar)

Twisted Pine Brewery’s Ghost Face Killah
Twisted Pine Brewery’s Ghost Face Killah
"I know among beer nerds it’s *somewhat* well known, but I’d have to say that weirdest thing on the market right now is Twisted Pine Brewery’s Ghost Face Killah. Chili beers have been around for a while, and some of them are drinkable in the right situations and can actually be successful pairings with the right meal. Ghost Face Killah, on the other hand, is “weird” in that it’s hard to think of a situation where I’d want (or anyone would want) to sit down and drink a full bottle of the stuff. It’s made with Ghost Peppers, and even as a fan of super spicy stuff, I can’t get through more than maybe half a bottle. Even just a few sips will leave you with a burn that will last for quite some time." — Jonathan Whitaker (International Tap House)
Odell’s Avant Peche
Odell’s Avant Peche
"I think the weirdest beer that I’ve ever tried was Odell’s Avant Peche. It was an Imperial Porter aged on oak with peaches and wild yeast. I guess that makes it an imperial peach lambic porter? I don’t care what you’d call it, it was really interesting and I would love to be able to drink it again. Chocolaty, roasty, tart, peachy, oaky, and something unlike any other beer I’ve ever had." — Justin Bonard (The Meddlesome Moth)
Brewdog's Sink the Bismark
Brewdog's Sink the Bismark
"Sink the Bismark from Brewdog is up there as far as a weird or unusual beer that I’ve tried. It’s a 41% IPA from Scotland that’s fully oxidized. It’s definitely not something I’d drink when I’m in the mood for a beer in the classical sense, but as an aperitif or something to round off a meal, it’s great. It reminds me of what a hop cordial would taste like." — Anne Berecca (The Ginger Man)
Red Swingline Stapler
Red Swingline Stapler
"The weirdest, and yet one of the tastiest, beers I've ever tried comes from Trinity Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, CO. Red Swingline Stapler is an IPA Primitif. Basically, it's a sour IPA that's only about 4.8% abv. Now, when I first heard this description, I felt my face curl up into a confused and slightly weirded out pose. But when I tried Swingline, I set my glass down after the first sip and calmly stated 'I found my new favorite beer.' Get to the Springs and drink this beer." — Sarah Huska (Eureka! Burger)
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
"I can’t say that I was brave enough to try it but the weirdest beer that I have seen is Wynkoop Brewing company’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. It starts out as a normal stout but it’s that last ingredient that gets you saying, ew! Sliced roasted bull testicles. No thanks, Colorado, you can keep that one." — Patrick Callahan (Bouchon Bistro)
Blueberry IPA
Blueberry IPA
"I belong to a homebrew club called the Animas Alers and get to try some creative recipes that these homebrew aficionados come up with. The weirdest I have tried up to this point was a blueberry IPA. Before I even tried it, I had made up my mind as to how it was going to taste....bad. I opened the bottle and the carbonation escaping the cap made the familiar pshhh sound so it was at least carbonated well. I gently poured it into a snifter to check for clarity and color and it looked like it should with a beautiful copper hue and only moderate haziness. Ok, well it looks good, so what? I swirl it and the first aromas hit my nose of pine, resin, a hint of citrus and a distinct berry fragrance as well. It was actually complementary to the fruitiness of the ale but also a good juxtaposition to the hops. The mouthfeel was medium, about what you would expect from an American Pale Ale with a pleasant hop finish. But there was more to it than that. It wasn't overly dry or overly hoppy but rather a good balance of fruitiness to hops that made it almost sessionable. Needless to say I was proven terribly wrong and the beer was quite good, made by a gentleman that really knew his flavors well and his brewing technique better." — Dave Woodruff (Steamworks Brewing Company)
Sink the Bismark!
Sink the Bismark!

"Some breweries focus on only making unique beers and pushing the envelope. Brewdog out of Scotland takes this to the extreme with Sink the Bismarck! Here is an extreme beer that I could not make up my mind on what I thought of it. It took a few sips of this potent elixir for my mind to come around after the initial shock.

Sink the Bismarck! is a 41% ABV beer with a consistency similar to a fine cognac. No carbonation at all in this mahogany colored liquid. The aroma was filled with piney hops, black liquorice/anise and sweet Caramel/Vanilla upfront followed by the warming alcohol perfume. No doubt Sink the Bismarck! is meant to be enjoyed like a cognac with its oily, viscous texture and alcohol notes that warm your senses." — Gilbert Perez (Terms of Enbeerment)

Dogfish Head/Sam Adams Savor Flowers
Dogfish Head/Sam Adams Savor Flowers
"I think that the Dogfish Head/Sam Adams Savor Flowers is the weirdest beer easily since it was brewed with no water. I believe they distilled 20,000 gallons of rose water to brew the beer, and added a blend of botanicals. It was such a labor intensive production that the public never saw this beer—it was brewed strictly for the 2011 Savor Food and Wine pairing event in Washington DC where they poured tastes as well as gifted each attendee of the Savor a bottle on their way out." — Ryan Conklin (Old Major)
Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
"Some crazy Imperial Stout business made with those fancy, expensive coffee beans that have passed through the intestinal tract of a cat (to state it nicely)…Not my favorite… but then again, I’m not a cat person." — Kelsey Williams (Drake's Brewing Co. & Triple Rock Brewing)
La Folie
La Folie
"There are so many cool things going on in beer right now that it is becoming awfully hard to call anything weird. When I had really just begun getting into beer in a big way, I had thought that my first sour was pretty weird. In 2005, I had never had anything like La Folie, I had no idea what I was getting into when I opened the bottle. It was sharp. It was bracing. It was tangy. It was acetic. When I had finally finished the bottle, it was awesome. But now, it's not so weird. Sours, be it Flanders Red, Oude Bruin, Lambic, Gueuze, Gose, Berliner Weisse, Lichtenhainer, or American Wild Ale, are quickly becoming one of my favorite classes of beer... when done right, New Belgium's La Folie being a prime among them. So if that's not weird, then what?

Randy Mosher is helping Chicago's own Five Rabbit to brew some pretty 'weird' beer. He's got them brewing with all sorts of nifty adjuncts, like passion fruit, ancho chili, almonds, and more to really amazing effect within their ales.  olemn Oath here filled a firkin of their Kidnapped By Vikings IPA for me and added toasted fennel, angelica root, and dried apricots." — Elliott Beier (Owen & Engine)

Magic Hat #9
Magic Hat #9
"There are many weird beers out there that are tried by virtually no one; but what is more remarkable is the weird beer that is inexplicably popular. In that category, my vote would go to Magic Hat #9. Try as I might, I simply don’t get this beer. I know there are plenty of people Back East who would bite my head off for saying so, but for me it tastes like the smell of a child’s perfume – a cloyingly sweet, apricot-scented one. The sensation of imbibing a carbonated fragrance just stops me dead in my tracks – can’t get past it – just too weird!" — Anne Conness (Simmzy's & Tin Roof Bistro)