There’s the German purity law, and then there’s the complete anarchy of modern beer making – no ingredient is safe, no palate will be spared. If, like your travel, you like to go off the beaten beer track, here are eight out-there options. 

1. Kriek – Brouwerij Lindemans, Belgium

Take your Lambic beers up a notch with the addition of fruit. This classic cherry version is another entrant that has history rather than contemporary styling on its side. It’s an acquired taste for some, tart and sour, but try it on a hot summer day – you'll come around. 

A hand holds a can of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout doesn't shy away from its main ingredient © Courtesy of Wynkoop Brewing Company

2. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout – Wynkoop Brewing Company, USA 

The oysters in question here are actually bull’s testicles. Let that sink in for a minute… just as the testicles did into the mash for this beer. This heavy-duty stout is on tap all-year-round (and also in a can). Bottoms up! 

3. Marrickville Pork Roll – Batch Brewing Co, Australia 

In a suburb of Sydney known for a strong Vietnamese community comes a beer that wears its local heart on its weird sleeve. A Vietnamese Pork Roll complete with processed pork meats, coriander, carrot and chilli has lent its ingredients to this beer – and it does just what it says on the tin! 

4. Hvalur 2 – Brugghús Steðji, Iceland

There might be a theme developing, but let’s cut to the chase. This is a beer brewed with sheep-dung smoked whale’s testicles. There’s no other way to say it. It is apparently smoky and it’s unquestionably weird.

5. Snake Venom – Brewmeister, Scotland

Most beer comes in at around 5% alcohol. A big Belgian might come in at 9%, maybe 10% … the weirdness here doesn’t come from a bodily fluid or seafood item – it comes from having 67% alcohol. No session ale, a single shot of the spirit-like brew should be enough. 

6. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen – Schlenkerla, Germany 

Despite the call-out to the German Purity Laws (ie beer must contain water, malt, yeast and hops), don’t think it’s just modern ales that can take you to the weird side. Try this German smoked wheat beer for size. You’ll swear a smoked pig was liquefied – big, chewy and kind of challenging. 

Moody Tongue - Shaved Black Truffle Beer.jpg
For something a little more decadent, try Moody Tongue's Shaved Black Truffle beer © Jordan Balderas / Moody Tongue

7. Shaved Black Truffle Beer – Moody Tongue, USA

For the beer drinker with deep pockets comes this funky, truffle-infused Pilsner that was designed to accompany, you guessed it, truffle dishes. Difficult to justify maybe, but if you’ve got it, flaunt it. 

8. Chicha – South America 

This traditional alcoholic beverage hails from South America, made from maize that’s chewed, spat and collected to form a fermentable mash. Dogfish Head brewery tried its hand at this, staff contributing to the masticated corn base. Dogfish has released the brew for a limited time since 2009.

You might also like:

Beginner's guide to Belgian beer 
London brewery turning the city's leftover bread into beer 
Woman returns beer stein she 'borrowed' from a German brewery 55 years ago 

This article was originally published in May 2020 and updated in January 2021.

This article was first published May 5, 2020 and updated Jan 15, 2021.

Explore related stories

Rainforest walk in Costa Rica or Panama City, Panama

© Jordan Siemens/Getty Images; iStock


Costa Rica vs Panama: which of these Central American gems is right for you?

Jun 4, 2024 • 7 min read