Before my twenty-first birthday, I didn’t know the difference between “hops” as a noun and “hops” as a verb. Just a few short months ago, I thought beer was a drink saved strictly for football games and pool halls.
So when I told my best friend/boyfriend/beer-connoisseur-to-the-extreme that I was going to sample a variety of quirky beers for a blog post, I was not surprised that he responded with hearty laughter. Quickly followed by, “Wait… seriously?”
I started with a beer that my bonkers-for-brewing beau had purchased in October after weeks of hype and anticipation: Rogue Brewery’s Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Porter. At $13 per bottle plus $9 shipping and handling, this Portland-exclusive beer is a pricey gamble for anyone on the fence about unusual foods. Hit or miss? Which will it be? The hot pink bottle was an alarming start, but as I poured the light red liquid into a tilted pint glass, I was taken in by the warm smell of maple. But after just one sip, I knew it was a miss. A slight hint of sweetness was instantly overpowered by the taste of artificial bacon. That was all it took for me to immediately switch to a glass of water.
But this beer blooper didn’t deter me from trying some of Rogue’s more established specialty brews. Guided by my sweet tooth, I tried Rogue’s Chocolate Stout. Released for Valentine’s Day in 2001, this beer is not as quirky as the Maple Bacon Porter, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill dark beer either. The head is creamy and sweet and the beer is a perfect balance of hoppy bitterness and savory chocolate. BeerAdvocate.com gives it an A rating, and I have to agree.
Soon, however, I started to run out of quirky beers to sample. Some of the most outrageous brews aren’t available on this coast or in this country. In Illinois, Tom and Athena Seefurth have seen great success with their Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer. A Dutch pet shop owner offers a meat-flavored beer for dogs called Kwispelbier. In Japan, a nonalcoholic brew called Kidsbeer is marketed toward—can you guess from the name? —children. But I wasn’t going to be able to get my hands on any of these.
So instead, I developed a list of beers with some of the most bizarre names out there: Arrogant Bastard (Stone Brewing), Moose Drool (Big Sky Brewing Co.), Hoptimus Prime (Legacy Brewing Co.), Santa’s Butt (Ridgeway Brewery), Old Leghumper (Thirsty Dog Brewing Company), and Yellow Snow (Rogue Brewery). As for the taste of these colorfully titled brews, you’ll have to sample them yourself. Most of them are available at local grocery stores and specialty shops like 16 Tons and The Bier Stein. But don’t forget your ID and a healthy dose of courage.