When you ask around about the weirdest beers ever brewed, you’ll inevitably land on a story about Rogue Ales in Oregon. Founded in 1988, the well-known and established brewery has made a plethora of pint-worthy suds, from their popular Rogue Dead Guy (a Maibock named after the Grateful Dead) to their Hazelnut Brown Ale. But the weirdest beer they ever made — likely the weirdest beer ever made anywhere — is their Beard Beer, made from yeast plucked out of their head brewer’s actual beard. Seriously.
But Rogue is not alone in its attempts to create the world’s next weirdest beer. Short’s Brewing Company in Michigan created a “lounge beer,” meant to exude the vibe of hanging out in an old armchair. To create the flavor, Short’s head brewer used real tobacco. In 2011, Beer Advocate reported that Deschutes Brewing in Oregon has a “whole warehouse” of beer that founder Gary Fish said, “we don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day.”
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But what other wacky ingredients have been used and since abandoned by some of the most beloved and cutting-edge breweries around? Let’s find out!
Seattle’s Odin Brewing, owned and operated by Dan Lee, one tried to make a Bacon Ale. “We were trying to have a little fun,” smirks Lee. “We wanted to make a name for ourselves in our first six months. So we made a Bacon Ale.” But, there were problems. Odin needed more bacon than they could find. “It was a novel concept,” he says, “we did it, tried it, and that was good enough for me.”
Lucky Envelope Brewing, also in Seattle, attempted a Ramen beer. Lucky Envelope owner, Barry Chan, says he made a test batch “complete with several bricks of noodles and accompanying flavor packets.” Chan says the beer tasted alright, “better than it should have,” but it was dumped.
Rogue Ales also attempted a Garlic beer for the North Plains Garlic Festival in Oregon. And while garlic is in almost everything we consume— it’s something of a natural antibiotic — it did not work well in beer.
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“To say it was disgusting is an insult do disgusting beers,” says Brett Joyce, president of Rogue.
Believe it or not, this beer is still available to drinkers. Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewing’s Pearl Necklace Chesapeake Stout, made with local oysters, and, says the brewery, “the perfect compliment to everyone’s favorite aphrodisiac.” No thanks!
Seattle’s Floating Bridge Brewing co-founder, Russ Cornell, attempted a beer for Cinco de Mayo that was brewed with tomatoes, cilantro, lime and jalapeño. “That one turned out really nicely,” says Cornell, “but easily could have not.” For the record, Cornell also created a sour Rhubarb Saison but that beer also “went down the drain.”