Craft beer brewers are a creative bunch. Their quest for interesting ingredients to use in brewing brings us new and tasty drinks to enjoy. But sometimes I have to stop and wonder if a quest for shock factor has usurped sensibilities. Let's look at some recent unique ingredients used in beer.
Saliva: Dogfish Head Brewery, no stranger to odd ingredients, has brewed a Chicha beer. Chicha comes from corn that is chewed and then spat out. The enzymes in the chewer's saliva convert the starch in the corn into fermentable sugar. All things considered, this method, based on ancient customs, is pretty mild in comparison to recent developments.
Beards: Rogue Ales Brewery has created a beer called New Crustacean. The beer is brewed with yeast cultured from the brewer's beard. John Maier's search for yeast in his beard started out as a joke, until they found a viable yeast within. You can expect to see the beer in the shelves next year.
Rocky Mountain Oysters: It started out as an April Fools joke by Wynkoop Brewing Company, created in response to the popularity of Oyster Stouts, made with real oysters. But now, with the release of their Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, life is imitating art. Yep, those are real rocky mountain oysters.
The Grotesque: A while back we were treated to the news that a female brewer claims to have created a beer with a yeast culture taken from her, um, well, never mind. You can read about it yourself if you are so inclined. (Warning, possibly NSFW.)
Maybe the Reinheitsgebot law wasn't such a bad idea.