Unusual & WTF!

Recently, brewers have been pushing the borders brewing beers with some exceptionally unusual ingredients, and the trend doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

Beers ranging from the Icelandic beer infused with whale testicles to a saison brewed with prehistoric, fossilized yeast DNA—and a pilsner made with recycled human urine.

These are some of the unusual and the weirdest ingredients used in brewing beers.

The acceptance and liking of unconventional or flamboyant food flavors are related to food neophobia.

The term food neophobia can be defined as a reluctance to eat unfamiliar foods. This phenomenon happens because humans need to approach novel foods in their search for food; but otherwise, they need to protect themselves from potentially poisonous foods.

Food neophobia has been shown to be strongly correlated with an individual’s willingness to eat and liking of unfamiliar foods.


Bacon beers may seem a delicious novelty, but until the 19th century all beers had a meaty taste to them. Barley, the grain that gives beer its alcohol and much of the flavor, was dried over open flames so a bacon-like smoke infusion was unavoidable. The malty sweetness of the base beer blends perfectly with salty, savory, and smoky bacon to create a delicious and unique beer. 

Commercial Examples: Morning Wood | Funky Buddha Brewery; Hipster Brunch Stout | Odd Side Ales; Pi|Coffee Porter – Bacon + Maple | Brew By Numbers

Smoked Pig Head & Bones

Real smoked pig bones give it the smokey flavor. A rich and chocolaty porter brewed with real smoked pig parts. Not for vegetarians! You simply have to experience this beer and describe it to your friends. The version with Mangalitsa pigs won 2011 Gold Medal Winner for Best Experimental Beer at the Great American Beer Festival.

Commercial Examples: Pig Porter / Mangalista Pig Porter | Right Brain Brewery


Scrapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name Pannhaas (“pan hare” in English), is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. Beer for Breakfast is brewed with  coffee, maple syrup, Delaware-made Rapa scrapple and malty spices.

Commercial Examples: Beer for Breakfast | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery


Shellac is scraped from the bark of the trees where the female lac bug, Kerria lacca (order Hemiptera, family Kerriidae), secretes it to form a tunnel-like tube as it traverses the branches of the tree. This insect is in the same superfamily as the insect from which cochineal is obtained. The insects suck the sap of the tree and excrete “sticklac” almost constantly.

Commercial Example: Blacque Jacques Shellac | Brocklebank Craft Brewing

Lamb, Roasted

Conwy Brewery created a lamb-flavored ‘Sunday Toast’ beer to mark St David’s Day.  The brewery infused lamb during the brewing process to create this blend, which combines the aromas of a roast with dark ale. First the Welsh lamb is slow-roasted to enhance its natural flavor and tenderness, then the dissolved meat juices and sugar are kept in the brew to simmer for a week. 

 Commercial Examples: Sunday Toast | Conwy Brewery

Masticated or Chewed Maize

Chicha is an ancient corn beer from the Andes region in South America, traditional beginning the fermentation process by locals chewing the corn and spitting out the kernels into a shared depository. At Dogfish Head, they reproduced the ancient beer and tradition using co- worker masticated purple Peruvian corn, malted corn and malted barley. The wort was then boiled for full sterilization, then fermented into Chicha.

Commercial Example: Chicha | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Chicha Quechua | Oshlag Brasserie & Distillerie; 

Goat Brains

Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Company released Walker, a zombie-friendly brew in honor of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” American Pale Stout (7.2% ABV). Walker, is made with malted wheat, oats, flaked barley, cranberry and an extra-special ingredient — smoked goat brains. The pre-sparge goat brain addition provides this beer with intriguing, subtle notes of smoke. and the addition of red cranberries the color.

Commercial Examples: Walker | Dock Street Brewing Co

Stag Semen

Wellington brewery Choice Bros, developed the stag semen stout for The Green Man Pub in Wellington, New Zealand. They brewed a “milked” stout that includes export-qualitydeer semen—because the quality is really what people are going to be hung up on when they try to drink this beer. This beer won a Silver medal at 2015 BGNZ Awards. The specimen was received from a local deer stud farm.

Commercial Example: Stag Semen Milked Stout (The Green Man) | Choice Brothers Brewing Co.

Money, Banknotes

Evil Twin and popular Norwegian brewery Lervig Aktiebryggeri have taken inspiration from our college needs and made a beer with frozen Hawaiian pizza and money. (They use real Norwegian banknotes.) Even though you’d think the whole pizza-money combo would create its own special version of grossness, the final product boasts rich coffee notes and a high 20-percent alcohol by volume.

Commercial Example: Big Ass Money Stout | LERVIG & Evil Twin

Insect Dung

Honey Dew Honey comes from the beech forests of New Zealand. The forests attract aphids, sooty beech scale insects, caterpillars and moths that feed on the tree sap and then secrete a sugar-like substance on the trees which sparkles in the sunlight, hence the name honeydew. The honeydew-like nectar is actually a sweet aromatic sap that trickles from the tree and is gathered by bees.

Commercial Examples: Beer Camp Across the World Campout Porter (2017) | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Ram Testicles

Steðji Hrútur has similar character as Hvalur 2 beer. Since Hvalur is banned in EU countries because of its ingredients (whale testicles), this beer is brewed  with sheep dung smoked ram’s testicles for export under the name Hrútur. The name hrútskýrir is the Icelandic word for ram, which in this instance is a reference to the season, winter, as ram testicles are a local delicacy enjoyed this time of year. 

Commercial Example: Hrútur |Brugghús Steðja

 Anchovies & Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a fermented liquid condiment created in the city of Worcester in Worcestershire, England, during the first half of the 19th century by pharmacists  John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, who went on to form the company Lea & Perrins. Worcestershire sauces includes anchovies. Several brands sell anchovy-free varieties of Worcestershire sauce,

Commercial Example: (Vegan) Breakfast of Champions | Moon Dog Craft Brewery;  (Non-Vegan w/Anchovies) Worchestershire CASK | LTM – Les Trois Mousquetaires; Worcestershire Sauce | Boggart Hole Clough Brewery

Bull Testicles

Wyncoop Brewing Company, based in the Denver area, brews with sliced and roasted bull testicles (aka Rocky Mountain Oysters) to produce a meaty, foreign-style stout. This started out as a joke–Wyncoop brewing released an April Fool’s Day video touting the beer in 2012. Then they decided to make the actual testicle beer due to popular demand.

Commercial Example: Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout | Wyncoop Brewing Co.; Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout | The Brewer’s Cabinet


Brewed by Sprecher. The beer was developed Labor Day, 2006 by Tom and Athena Seefurth who used a Margarita pizza. The is put into the mash & steeped like a tea bag. A whole wheat crust made with water, flour & yeast is topped with tomato, oregano, basil & garlic. The essence of the pizza spices is washed off with hot water and filtered into a brew pot, where it is boiled for a long, long time.

Commercial Examples: Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer | Pizza Beer Co.

Yeast from Beard Hair

A lab technician swabbed brewer John Maier’s beard as a joke. Having found it to be a viable yeast source (Maier hasn’t shaved his beard for about 25 yeast) they set about cultivating more of the yeast for wider use in a beer. You’re really not drinking a beard but actully drinking a beer that happens to have yeast that comes from a beard. Brewers have used wild yeasts in beer making for centuries.

Commercial Example: Beard Beer | Rogue Ales Brewery Co.

Yeast from Roald Dahl's Chair

Mr. Twit’s Odious Ale has been brewed utilising yeast swabbed from the wood of Roald Dahl’s famous writing chair; a specially-adapted armchair created to ease the pain of a back injury sustained during WWII, as the author avoided writing at a desk. With the permission of Dahl’s estate, brewers took a swab from the chair itself, which will be used to culture all the yeast needed for the beer.

Commercial Example: Mr Twit’s Odious Ale | 40FT Brewery & Taproom

Whale Meal

Steðji an Icelandic brewing company teamed up with Hvalur, a whaling company to make whale-flavored beer from whale meal, a by-product obtained from the commercial processing of whales. To make whale meal on an industrial scale, whale meat is heated under steam pressure to release the oil, which is the primary product of the industry During the process the tissues are broken down into a slurry. After the oil has been centrifuged off, the solid material that remains is dried, ground and marketed as whale meal. The 5.2% concoction was specially brewed for Iceland’s mid-winter  2014 festival Þorrablót (Thorrablot) held in honor of the Norse god, Thor. However, before it hit the shelves, the beer was banned by the Public Health Authority in Vesturland. Days later, the Fisheries Minister overturned the ban and ruled that the beer could go on sale. It rapidly sold out – but in a final twist in October,  the original decision of the Vesturland Public Health Authority to ban the beer it was upheld. In 2015 the companies instead began to use whale testicles.   (see next).

 Commercial Example: Hvalur  | Brugghús Steðjahad

Whale Testicles

Hvalur 2 is a whale beer and is one of the most controversial beer in the world. This 5.2% pale ale was specially brewed starting in 2015, for the festival Þorrablót (Thorrablot) held in honor of the Norse god, Thor.  The beer is brewed using pure Icelandic water, barley, berry hops and the main ingredient sheep-dung smoked whale testicle. The testicles are cured according to an old Icelandic tradition, salted, and then smoked with sheep dung. A whole testicle is used in every brewing cycle, and then the beer is filtered and pasteurized.  Previously in 2014 the collaboration began to Whale Meal. (see previous).

Commercial Example: Hvalur 2  and Súrhvalur  | Brugghús Steðjahad

Civit Feces (Kipi Luwak Coffee)

Kopi luwak is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). It is also called civet coffee. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected.

Commercial Example: Hunahpu’s Final Push | Cigar City Brewing Co.

Recycled Human Urine

No this is not water after  treatment at the sewage plant.  This is the project branded ‘beercycling’ when urine was used as fertilizer. More than 50,000 litres of urine was collected at the Roskilde Festival in 2015 (Denmark’s largest music festival). It is the result of a collaboration by the Danish Agricultural and Food Council and brewery Nørrebro Bryghus. Danish farmers collected and used the urine to fertilize the barley field, and 60,000 bottles of Pisner were produced.

Commercial Example: Pisner | Nørrebro Bryghus also Full Circle IPA | Stone Brewing Co.

Thai Elephant Feces ( Black Ivory Coffee)

This sought-after Japanese brew is basically elephant-coffee feces beer. Black Ivory Coffee has been made by fermenting coffee beans that have passed through the digestive system of Thai elephants. Black Ivory Coffee is manufactured at the Elephant Conservation Center in northern Thailand. Black Ivory Coffee is among the world’s most expensive coffees, at US$2,000 per kilogram.

Commercial Examples: Un Kono Blend Kuro (うん、このブレンド黒) | SanktGallen Brewery; Rarest Bean | The Unknown Brewing Co.

Collagen Peptides

Suntory Brewing Ltd.  in Japan decided that they would fight the aging process in general, by infusing their beer with collagen peptides – very small pieces of protein from animal collagen. Suntory’s beer named Precious, may actually be onto something, as science does show that overindulging in alcohol is terrible for your skin, namely because it dehydrates you and slowly kills the collagen under the surface. The idea behind Precious is to make up for that dehydration. Precious contains 5 percent alcohol and 2 grams of collagen peptides per can, maybe effectively preventing collagen loss even during a night of binge drinking. The beer was only available in Hokkaido, Japan, 

Commercial Example: Precious | Suntory Beer Limited 


This Ale was created from an ancient beer recipe (circa 1500’s) discovered in the Scottish Highlands. Although the earliest printed recipe was published by Englishman, Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665) who wrote, “These are tame days when we have forgotten how to make Cock-Ale,” and listed the recipe: Take eight gallons of ale; take a cock and boil him well; then take four pounds of Raisins of the Sun well stoned, two or three nutmegs, three or four flakes of Mace, half a pound of Dates; beat all of these in a Mortar, and put to them two quarts of the best Sack; and when the Ale hath done working, put these in, and stop it close to six or seven days, and then bottle it, and a month after you may drink it. 

Commercial Examples: Big Red Cock Ale | Bacchus Brewing Co.

Beaver Castoreum

Castoreum is a yellowish-brown, unctuous substance with a strong, penetrating odor which beavers secrete from castor sacs located in skin cavities between the pelvis and the base of the tail and spray when scent-marking their territory. Due to the beaver’s typical diet of leaves and bark, castoreum doesn’t “stink” as other similar animal secretions do, but rather has a musky, vanilla scent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls the beaver’s goo a generally safe additive for food. For the past 80 years, food scientists have added it to products, often labeled only as “natural flavoring. Castoreum extract can be used to enhance raspberry or strawberry flavorings.

Commercial Examples: Bäver | Närke Kulturbryggeri; Geile Bever N˚ 1 | Ramses Bier

Saúva, Cutter Ants

The Saúvas leaf-cutting ant, (Atta laevigata) commonly called bachac; fungus-growing ant; and leaf-cutting ant are the primary herbivores of tropical areas such as Central America. The ants are social insects found that get their name from the way they cut leaves from trees, which they then haul back to their nest. The Leafcutter ants do not actually eat the leaves, as they are species of ants that are fungus farmers, they cultivate (grow) their own food, a type of fungus, in underground gardens. Saúva ants in the Upper Rio Negro haves become a popular ingredients in Amazonian gastronomy, reportedly tasting like lemongrass, ginger and cardamom.

Commercial Examples: Formiga Sauva | Ramses Bier

Marrow & Beef Bones

Beef bones also called Cent Cut Bones; Femur Bones; Knuckle Bones; Marrow Bones, Stock Bones, are the parts that are leftover from when a butcher carves a piece of meat and leaves the bones. While there is not enough meat on them for a full meal, these work wonderfully for adding more flavor. Beef bones are most commonly used for stock. The flavor of the stock comes from the bone marrow, cartilage and other connective tissue. Connective tissue contains collagen, which is converted into gelatin that thickens the liquid. The most common bones used include beef shank, femur or humerus bones cut lengthwise exposing the marrow. The Bruery used femur bones in this brew.

Commercial Examples: Creamy Milk Bone | The Bruery

Otway Black Snail (Victaphanta compacta)

The Otway Black Snail is only found in wet forests and cool temperate rainforests in the Otway Ranges, Victoria, Australia It is one of four species of Victaphanta in the family Rhytididae, being carnivorous land snails. With a grey-blue to black body and a glossy black (sometimes dark brown) shell, these little snails grow to a maximum diameter of 28mm. The shell is thin and moderately flexible, and composed mostly of conchin – the fibrous insoluble protein that forms the basic structure of molluscs. Unlike other species of Vicaphanta snails, the Otways Black Snail does not have an orange frill around its foot, or any orange mucous.

Commercial Example: Escargose | Blackman’s Brewery

Yeast from Wasp Guts

Wasps are any member of a group of insects in the order Hymenoptera, suborder Apocrita. Wasps are distinguished from the ants and bees of Apocrita by various behavioral and physical characteristics, particularly their possession of a slender, smooth body and legs with relatively few hairs. Wasps also generally are predatory or parasitic and have stingers with few barbs that can be removed easily from their victims. Similar to other members of Apocrita, wasps have a narrow petiole, or “waist,” which attaches the abdomen to the thorax. Wasps have biting mouthparts and antennae with 12 or 13 segments.  The Bruery’s Wild Brett Wasp sour was fermented with yeast harvested from wasp guts.

Commercial Example: Wild Brett Wasp Sour // Coolship Collaboration Series 02/04 | Field House Brewing Co.

Pork (Prosciutto, Lonza, and Ham)

Pork is the culinary name for the meat of the domestic pig and is is eaten both freshly cooked and preserved. Pork and the cuts, provides a traditional range of cooked or salted and dried meats, which varied, sometimes distinctively, from region to region. Prosciutto, in full prosciutto crudo, is an Italian uncooked, unsmoked, and dry-cured ham, from a leg cut, that is usually served thinly sliced. Lonza is a meat product made from a boneless lean pork loin that is typically salt-cured and then air-dried over a period of at least 3 to 4 months. Cured, it is one of the most prized Italian cold cuts, sometimes called lonza stagionata. Ham is pork from a leg cut that has been preserved by wet or dry curing, with or without smoking.As a processed meat, the term “ham” includes both whole cuts of meat and ones that have been mechanically formed. Fonta Flora’s Cured Monk contains all three.

Commercial Examples: Cured Monk | Fonta Flora Brewery; Ham Porter | Highland Park Brewery

Deer Velvet

Moa, an award-winning New Zealand craft brewery with distribution that reaches into mainland China, released a wheat ale brewed with ‘deer velvet’ specifically for the Chinese market. Deer ‘velvet’ grows on the animals’ new antlers for a few months before they harden and calcify to form bone and it’s widely used as health aid in Chinese medicine.  the epicenter of the ‘deer velvet’ market being China, Moa’s wheat ale was brewed specifically to showcase the nubile deer fiber sourced from the South Island of New Zealand’s famous deer farms.  Red Stag Wheat came about when Moa’s very own Gareth Hughes and Parley Reynolds were playing with unique beer ideas for the Chinese market. Once they had brewed the beer and shipped it to China, it sold out in less than 48 hours!

Commercial Example: Red Stag Wheat Special Reserve | Moa Brewing Company

Meteorites / Moon Dust

Dogfish Head Brewery created the first beer that includes real moon dust in the recipe. In celebration of the fall equinox, Celeste Jewel a beer that was out of this world, literally, with their lunar meteorite steeped beer. To make this spacey ale the brewers took lunar meteorites, crushed them up and steeped the meteorites in the beer like tea. Dogfish acquired the lunar meteorites via ILC, a design and development company that makes spacesuits for NASA. Celest-Jewel-Ale, at 5% ABV and 25 IBUs, was definitely a limited time brew at Dogfish and was only available at Dogfish Head’s pub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 

Commercial Example: Celest-jewel Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Vaginal Yeast

Polish brewery The Order of Yoni launched a beer claiming to be made from the vaginal lactic acid of hot underwear models. The brewery says it discovered the process of transmitting female essence by isolating lactic acid bacteria from the Yoni (Sanskrit for womb or virgina) of sensuous women – Paulina a brunette, Monica a blonde, and Patricia also a blonde.  The laboratory isolates the bacteria, cleans, analyzes and and multiplies the strains. At the end of the process, the bacteria is used to produce the pure lactic acid that goes into the beer. Yoni’s three main Witbier de Champagne beers in the range are: Essence of Monika with bitter orange peel and coriander. Essence of Paulina enriched with coriander and grains of paradise.  Essence of Patricia with coriander and orange peel.

Commercial Example: Bottled Passion – Monique / Bottled Lust – Paulina 2018 / Patricia |  The Order of Yoni 

45-Million-Year-Old Yeast (from Burmese amber)

Fossil Fuels Brewing Co., started brewing pale ale and German wheat beer with a strain of yeast that is  made from a 45-million-year-old leaf, frozen in time within a piece of Burmese amber, which was extracted and revived by a molecular biologist and a retired professor in 1992. Dr. Raul Cano, a molecular biologist and retired Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor, partnered with brewer  Ian Schuster, the founder of Schubros Brewery, a microbrewery in San Ramon. Fossil Fuels continued to make beer with this ancient yeast and at least one other “relatively younger” 25 million-year-old strain. Additional brews included a wheat beer, a pale ale and, and even a stout.

Commercial Examples: 45 Million Year-old Saison | Fossil Fuels Brewing Co.

Wild Geese Feces

Ant Brew, a Finnish brewing company in collaboration with Green Lahti, brewed an Imperial Stout (8-10% ABV) with goose droppings, As part of its Wasted Potential Series. The new ‘Wasted Potential’ series was dreamed up after its home city Lahti, Finland was named European Green Capital 2021. Each of its seven beers in the series, tells a story about sustainability and the circular economy using ingredients such as local food waste, moss, and wild herbs, while cleaning the local environment at the same time.   The brewery uses the droppings in a food-safe way in order to smoke malt in order to create this unique stout beer. 

Commercial Example: Goosebumps | Ant Brew

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding is a common English side dish consisting of a baked pudding made from batter consisting of eggs, flour, and milk or water. These distinctive breaded puddings originated in Northern England. There are two breweries that brewed beer with Yorkshire Puddings; Northern Monk brewery from Leeds,  Yorkshire brews a brown ale named Sunday Roast (5.7%) that contains both Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes supplied by Aunt Bessies, which are added into the mash tun. The other called Yorkshire Pudding Beer was created by Howard Kinder, the owner of Malton Brewery in the Summer of 2019, and is still being brewed. 

Commercial Example: Yorkshire Pudding Beer | Malton Brewery; Sunday Dinner // Roast Dinner | Northern Monk

Edible Glitter

The Brewers Association announced in early April a new addition to their Beer Style Guidelines for 2019: The Glitter Beer. Yes it was an April fools joke but with a range of edible glitters being commercially available such as Brew Glitter® a FDA Compliant glitter powder that can be added directly to beverages to make them shine, swirl and sparkle, were probably not far from reality with Brewery Vivant in Michigan, Bold Missy Brewing in North Carolina, Ska Brewing in Colorado, Sasquatch Brewing in Portland, and Mike Hess Brewing in San Diego are among the many breweries across America that are riding the wave of glitter beer.

Commercial Examples: Sour Me Unicorn Farts | DuClaw Brewing; | Milwaukee Brewing Co.


Join Earth Ltd, the Tokyo startup known for its cricket-based soy sauce, has teamed up with northwest Japan’s Tono Brewing to create what it claims to be the world’s first craft beer made with crickets. Cricket Dark Ale was crafted by adding carefully roasted crickets and roasted malt to wort to bring out the aroma and umami of crickets. Aromas such as coffee, cacao, strongly charred caramel, and chamomile precede the aftertaste of bitterness and umami that lasts for quite a while. Unlike the crickets that haunt many urban centers, these crickets were raised under optimum temperature and humidity controlled conditions on a bucolic insect farm in central Japan, where they feasted on vegetables before being harvested, washed and roasted.

Commercial Example: Cricket Dark Ale (コオロギビール) | Tono Brewing Co.

French's Yellow Mustard

Oskar Blues Brewery decided to create a limited-release beer, in collaboration with French’s Classic Yellow Mustard – a semi-tart tropical wheat beer infused with an array of citrus fruits. This special brew was created ahead of ‘National Mustard Day. The beer was made with mustard, gumption, more mustard, and a careful yet experimental brewing process. It includes hints of key lime, lemon, tangerine, and passion fruit to create a tart, refreshing match for the spice and zip of the mustard. The result is a crisp and slightly salty beer.  According to Oskar Blues “With French’s Mustard Beer, we elevated the Classic Yellow Mustard flavor with tangy lemon and lime to create a tropical wheat ale I’d pair with a loaded hot dog on the hottest day of the year,”

Commercial Example: French’s Mustard Beer | Oskar Blues


in 2015  Aurum Drinks International offered a Belgian Strong Ale Honey beer brewed with edible gold called Golden Queen Bee, that was contract brewed by by Brasserie La Binchoise. Golden Queen Bee was created in Belgium by Silvio Lemaitre de Freitas, founder of Aurum Drinks, and Gustavo Coelho, and marketed as the world’s first luxury beer. The golden beer contains honey fermented with the edible 24k gold flakes. This clear yellow beer has body, soft notes of malt and hops, is slightly fruity, with a floral touch and honey notes at the end.  This 8.8% ABV gold and honey beer is no longer available. Only 150 bottles were made, its price was around €70, and was only available in 750ml size.

Commercial Example: Golden Queen Bee | Aurum Drinks International

Frankincense and Myrhh

It seems that everyone knows the story of the Three Kings. Sent to follow the star in the sky each brought a gift for the baby they sought. One King brought Gold, the other Frankincense and the other Myrrh. Many breweries produce a Christmas Seasonal beer and this is the perfect beer to celebrate the holiday season. Gold in color and bittered with the bark of Frankincense, The Lost Abbey have even used the smallest amount of Myrrh which is an herb that has roots in ancient winemaking as well.  A massive Golden Ale fit for a king (or Queen) Lost Abbey offers the Gift of the Magi each holiday season.

Commercial Examples: Gift of the Magi | The Lost Abbey

Camanchaca Fog

Regions of Chile’s Atacama Desert have gone for decades without any precipitation. It is one of the driest places on the planet, often compared to the landscape of Mars. Luckily there is the camanchaca that  are cloud banks created on the Chilean coast that drift inland as dense fog. In a place that sees as little as 0.004 inches of rainfall per year, this fog is extremely valuable. The fog or mist catchers (Atrapaniebla) are large nets that harvest the water droplets in the fog to produce running water for villages. The technique involves a fine mesh on which tiny fog droplets – typically 1 to 40 millionths of a meter – gather and merge until they have enough weight to travel down into a reservoir.  In the town of Peña Blanca, the community’s local brewery the brewery Cervecería Atrapaniebla (Mist Catcher Brewery) is using this captured this coastal fog water in the brewing of their beers.

Commercial Example: Scottish Ale / Brown Ale | Cervecería Atrapaniebla

Antarctica Ice

The Icebreaker, a limited edition Kölsch brewed using melted ice core water from Antarctica.  To create this beer, they sourced discarded Antarctic sea ice cores from the UCT laboratories. This became possible after UCT scientists no longer needed them and allowed Shackleton Brewing to use them. The ice was melted at the brewery and the water immediately sent for testing. Shackleton Brewing  knew that the water would need treatment, but they were surprised to discover how saline the cores actually were. A process of reverse osmosis was used to treat the water and it was brought to the necessary quality needed for the Kölsch recipe. The water was carefully profiled before the organic malt was added as well as a number of salts and minerals as part of the process.

Commercial Example: The Icebreaker | Shackleton Brewing Co. 


Okhotsk Blue, or Ryuho Draft, is a unique beer named after the Sea of Okhotsk. It is brewed in Abashiri (網走市), a city situated in the Okhotsk Subprefecture of Hokkaido, Japan. The key ingredient that sets this beer apart is the water sourced from icebergs that have melted. These icebergs float from the chilly Sea of Okhotsk, an extension of the North Pacific Ocean, situated between Japan and Russia, until they reach the beaches of Abashiri. The utilization of this iceberg water in the brewing process imparts a unique quality to the Ryuho Draft, linking it intricately with the natural landscape of the region. Its unique organic aquamarine appearance that represents the area’s ocean-scape, is due to gardenia jasminoides extract, which is used in the food industry for its blue pigmenting abilities.

Commercial Example: Okhotsk Blue/RyuhoDraft | Abashiri Brewery

Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus)

To achieve a deep red-pink color some beers rely on the use of a pea-sized bug called ‘Cochineal.’ These bugs are native to Central and South America, where they feed on crimson juices from prickly pear cactus plants. After the bugs are harvested, they are dried and then crushed in order to create a natural red dye, which is referred to as “cochineal extract.”  Cochineal’s use is relatively benign, given its widespread application in the food industry and its centuries-long history of utilization. Originating with the Aztec and Maya peoples in America, it was employed to color various items. Cochineal, also referred to as Carmine, is often identified on labels as cochineal extract, E120, or natural red 4.

.Commercial Example: Rosé Gosé | Eagle Rock Brewery