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The Weird, The Wacky, The Hopping Mad!

Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic in Beer. Zingy. Image Courtesy *USB* via Flickr CC

Beer tax hikes caused 12 pubs a week to close across Britain between September 2011 and March 2012, painting a worrying picture of our beloved boozers. However, as landlords struggle to keep their doors open, an almighty trend is kicking off – independent beer brewing.  Sales of mass market beer declined by 3.5% in 2011, whilst in the same year The Society of Independent Brewers recorded a 9.7% increase of members.

Despite this growing culture of people ditching the pub and concocting craft ales, much of the public still tend to limit their tastes to the big money label beers, like Stella Artois and Budweiser.

Micro-brewing is an art, and us Cask Separatists know there’s a universe of tongue-tingling variety stretching beyond the commercial beer. Take a look at 5 wacky beer recipes we found online to give you a flavour.

1 Beard Beer

Facial hair and alcohol aren’t usually the most desirable mix, yet a barmy brewer in Oregon, USA, whisked up an ale from his own 34 year old beard.

John Maier, 57, of Rogue Ales, extracted yeast from the hairs of his beard that hasn’t been shaved since 1978. It fermented a cross between the brewery’s “house” yeast strain, called Pacman yeast, and a wild yeast.

Rogue’s President, Brett Joyce, said:

“It’s either creative genius, or the most disgusting thing ever”

2 – Pizza Beer (pictured) 

Pizzeria Owners in Illinois, USA, have crafted a seemingly stomach churning fusion of tomato, herbs and beer.

Tom Seefurth’s ‘Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer’ was the butt of a mini-media storm in the States, garnering a nod from the Chicago Tribune and even a poke on national TV from funny-man, Jay Leno. He’s even hinted at other fusions such as salsa beer and curry beer.

According to the Brewers’ website, this is the “world’s first culinary beer”.

Not sure about this one, let’s the hope the foam isn’t just crust.

3 – Beer Milk or, er, Bilk

Off to Hokkaido, Japan for this one. Made as a response to huge amounts of surplus milk thrown out by dairy factories, a savvy brewer decided to throw it into a low-malt beer mix.

A third of the drink is milk, giving what resident Kaori Takahashi described as, a “fruity taste”.

Well, if Bilk ever makes its way to the UK, we know what we’ll be having on our corn flakes every morning.

4 – Key Lime Pie Beer

Now this sounds more like it. Shorts Brewing Company, in Michigan, USA, managed to turn this popular sweet ‘n’ sour pudding into a flavoursome beer.

The brew contains fresh limes, milk sugar and even marshmallow fluff, giving a super-sweet dessert beverage that’s certain to warm your cockles.

It even won a gold medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, giving us reason to believe that this is far more than mindless tinkering.

5 – Seaweed Ale

We’ve heard of having a beer on the sea, but we’ve certainly not heard of having sea on the beer! Scotland based company, Williams Bros Brew, proved that the squelchy greenery, seaweed, can form a distinctive and tasty ale.

Affectionately known as Kelpie, this dark chocolate brew utilises fresh seaweed to give off “the aroma of a fresh Scottish sea breeze”.

At first, there’s something fishy about this marine mix, yet, as is clearly evident across micro-brewing, open-mindedness can lead to the greatest of hoppy treats.

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