You all know how we feel about flavored vodkas: they just keep getting weirder and weirder. From waffles to basil, scorpion to wasabi, there’s just no end to the madness. But the more craft beers we see with outlandish flavors, the more we wonder: Will craft beer follow the same trajectory of the scary vodka flavors we see today?
Much like flavored vodkas, flavoring beer is a tradition that’s older than you might think. As the blogger behind Save On Brew notes, George Washington added molasses to his beer; and before that, beer in ancient Greece was usually flavored with herbs, spices, dates, or other fruits. Traditionally, a beer gets its flavors from the barley (flavors like chocolate, biscuit, or caramel), hops (used as a bittering agent or for citrus and spice flavors), and sugars from the grains (flavors like fruit, candy, or brown sugar). So when you add a flavor like pizza or rocky mountain oysters (really) to the mix, it’s no wonder that our minds get boggled.
It’s an even bigger feat when you realize that the crazy flavored craft beers you see today aren’t flavored with artificial ingredients. Take Rogue Ales in Portland, Ore., a brewery with some outrageous flavored beers that never uses preservatives or artificial flavoring agents. Its Chocolate Peanut Butter Ale uses chocolate hops and real chocolate, peanut butter, and banana for a very different kind of ale. Whether it's with fruit (like passion fruit) or algae or yeast from a beard, brewers are finding imaginative ways to add flavoring to their beer.
Think you know the wackiest beers out there? Take a spin through the weirdest beer flavors out now, and see if you can spot the four flavors that are fakes. Answers are at the end!