I looked at the October 2012 topic, Novelty Beers: A shout-out for October’s The Session, and decided I would participate. Why not?
With the onslaught of even weirder beers than before, I can’t help but wonder if novelty beers are going too far. Or maybe not far enough? LOL! As a merchant of beer, I can see the place for novelty beers, as I am choosing for some customers who say, “I want the strangest beer you have”. We’ve even seen some novelty beers in our top-sellers. But beer traditionalists sometimes frown on these new and bizarre concoctions.
My initial response when reading the topic was, "Sheppy, we don't drink or brew novelty beers. What will we write about?"
But "Novelty" is a matter of perspective, isn't it?
Last month, my aunt and cousin came for a visit along with a friend. Of course, I offered them beers. At the time, I had my Wetta Berry Raspberry Beer on tap, and asked if they would like to try it. I got three of those looks. You know the look you sometimes get when someone is not quite sure if you are serious or crazy? I could tell they had their doubts about the whole concept of raspberry in beer.
To me, a raspberry beer is pretty main-stream. To them, it was a little bit of a novelty act. Sometimes I forget that not everyone is a beer geek like me.
My cousin's friend in particular was amazed by the raspberry beer. He wanted to know how it was made and how I was able to get such a subtle raspberry flavor while still making it taste like beer. Personally, I had thought I had made it with too much raspberry. Again, it is a matter of perspective.
|Is a raspberry beer "Novelty"?|
And actually, even some beer geeks got excited about my Gringo Cerveza Jalapeño Ale. Heck, to me the thing that was more "novelty" about that beer was that I used popcorn in the mash (see Popcorn Jalapeño Cream Ale for more on that).
|Is a Jalapeño Popcorn beer "Novelty"?|
|Is a peppermint Stout "Novelty"|
Heck, the whole concept of craft beer has a bit of side-show novelty to it. It exists because it isn't the same-old-same-old. If it wasn't different than the norm, it would be Bud or Miller or Coors.
It is all a matter of perspective.
A couple days ago, I saw probably the strangest, most unique idea for a novelty beer. Wynkoop Brewing Company (the oldest brew-pub in Denver) announced that it was actually releasing Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. Yes, they are brewing a beer that includes bull testicles as part of the recipe. Now, THAT is a novelty beer.
How about you? What is the weirdest, "novelty" beer you have brewed or consumed? Leave comments below.