Beerista: Beards, belly buttons and other strange brews

There’s plenty of weird fads in the craft beer world

Craft beer loves a fad. Weird ingredients, crazy flavours and brash marketing. Sometimes it’s for a special one-off brew using exotic fruits or unusual wild yeasts, and sometimes it’s just an excuse to hike up the price, test a recipe and create a little hype.

In 2013, Rogue Ales in Oregon created a Beard Beer made with yeast cultivated from the beard hairs of the head brewer. It was no great hit, unsurprisingly.

The Scottish Brewdog brewery, which is a big fan of dramatics, made a 55% limited edition beer called The End of History which came stuffed inside a dead animal. Australian brewers 7 Cent have just released a Witbier called Belly Button Beer made with yeast cultivated from their own navels. And there’s been plenty of other weird experimental beers using everything from ketchup to gherkins and moon dust.

Among one of the stranger beers to emerge is Bottled Instinct Vaginal Beer, a dark sour ale made by a Polish brewery using vaginal lactobacillus bacteria. “Containing femininity, charm and sexuality”, the beer was made with the help of a specially selected Czech model but apparently you can create a bespoke version involving “your girlfriend” (if she hasn’t fled yet).


The releases of certain beers can create some serious hysteria too. Once a year, Three Floyds Brewery, based in Indiana, holds a Dark Lord Day to release new beers and fans will queue for hours – or days – and pay $200 for the privilege.

This year's release of Founder's KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is getting a lot of talk. This is an imperial stout brewed with chocolate, coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. While the ABV varies from batches, it's about 12%, and costs about €9 for a 355ml bottle (some bars charge €11 a glass).

It’s a big beer with a smooth, Baileys-like warmth. I drank it one chilly evening recently and, maybe I’m just falling for the hype, but I reckon this is a really, really good beer.