Food & Drink

14 out-there and experimental craft beers that'll twist your tastebuds

Posted by
Chris Sayer
Published
14 out-there and experimental craft beers that'll twist your tastebuds

And now for something completely different…

It doesn’t take a boffin to brew beer. We’re saying that with absolute conviction, because even we’ve mastered it. Honestly, if you can make porridge, brew a coffee and sit around doing a whole lot of nothing for two weeks, you can brew beer. You could have an entire packet of wax crayons lodged in your frontal lobe, and you’d still manage to whizz up an absolutely fine IPA. It’s so easy. 

But not every brewer, praise be, finds fulfilment in “absolutely fine”. Some strive for bigger things. Some strive for ground-breaking, law-smashing, mind-blowing, never-before-tried creative genius, and risk their reputations (and any possessions within a blast radius) in the name of experimenting to create forward-thinking and super exciting booze. And we know who those guys are. 

We tasked our crack team of hopped-up brewski pros to big up their most creative, experimental, rule-breaking craft beer finds, and boy did they come through. We’ve got mushroom beers (WHAT), amber ales that taste like saunas (THE) and IPAs infused with burger fries (FLIP?). Best bit, though? They’re all absolutely delicious. Go figure that one out, brainiac…

Omnipollo - Hilma Vanilla Flippin’ Burgers Fries (IPA, 6.5%)  

Hilma Vanilla Flippin' Burgers Fries

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“I don’t think I’ve seen such a weird mix of ingredients since Lervig and Evil Twin released ‘Big Ass Money Stout’ and threw frozen pizza, along with actual money, into the boil. A collaboration with Stockholm patty kings Flippin’ Burgers, Hilma claims to be made with fries and burger bread. Not sure why really, but it tastes great.” – Jen Ferguson, co-founder of Hop, Burns & Black bottle shop

Mad Hatter - Tzatziki Sour (Berliner Weisse, 4.5%) 

Tzatziki Sour

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“Stay with me here. Yes, the flavour of tzatziki in a beer sounds wrong. I can assure you, though, that this is one of the most amazing beers to drink on a hot sunny day. The tartness is refreshing enough, but then the cucumber and mint flavours come through, and you’re in tzatziki bliss” - Justin Hutton, director of The Beer Collective craft beer suppliers

Petrus - Aged Red (Sour, 8.5%)

petrus aged red

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“Imagine a bakewell tart dipped in booze. Now drink exactly that. This is a beautiful mix of marzipan and cherry, and overall a very well balanced bitter-sweet beer. But that’s not why it makes this list: it’s one part of a series of three beers (Oud Bruin and Aged Pale being the other two), and Petrus encourage you to mix the beers together before tasting!” – Tim Jones, founder of beer culture site BeerYeti.com

Oedipus - Thai Thai (Tripel, 8%)

thai thai

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“A Thai dish in a bottle, Amsterdam’s Oedipus Brewing decided to spice up a traditional Belgian tripel with lemongrass, galangal root, coriander, orange peel, chilli pepper and some exotic late addition hops. The result? A deliciously subverted beer.” - Brody Rossiter, beer expert at HonestBrew online beer shop

Wild Beer Co. - Breakfast of Champignons 2018 (Wild Ale, 4.1%) 

Breakfast of Champignons

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“Macro fungi (mushrooms) meet micro fungi (yeasts) in this wacky sour from Somerset gurus Wild Beer. It really is much, much nicer than it might sound: tart, wild, savoury, breakfast.” – Jen Ferguson, co-founder of Hop, Burns & Black bottle shop

Tiny Rebel - Imperial Puft (Imperial Stout, 9%) 

imperial puft

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“What started out as a sensational marshmallow porter (that we all loved) has been kicked into gear and turned into an imperial version. It has a heap of vanilla and of course, lots of marshmallow.” - Justin Hutton, director of The Beer Collective craft beer suppliers

Tanker – Sauna Session (Amber Ale, 4.7%)

Tanker

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“Estonian brewery Tanker capture the essence of a traditional sauna inside this bottle, and somehow it still manages to taste great. Brewed using birch leaves, it provides all of the refreshment without any of the uncomfortable silences.” - Brody Rossiter, beer expert at HonestBrew online beer shop

Cantillon - Rose de Gambrinus (Sour, 5%) 

cantillon

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“This 19th century brewery in Brussels uses original open-top fermentation vessels, which (get set for some science) allows brettanomyces (a form of bacteria) to produce lambic beers. If you can’t find Rose de Gambrinus, which uses 200 grams of raspberries per litre of beer, seek out Iris, which only uses pale malt and a technique called ‘cold hopping’ to achieve a really unique flavour.” - Martin Oates and Steve Bentall, presenters of the Hopinions beer podcast

Buxton x Omnipollo – Original Double Vanilla Ice Cream (DIPA, 8%)

double vanilla

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“Buxton and Omnipollo’s latest concoction boasts a creamy mouthfeel, a big burst of fresh vanilla bean flavour and a bitter finish. Yet another unmissable collaboration.” - Brody Rossiter, beer expert at HonestBrew online beer shop

Amundsen - Dessert in a Can: Chocolate Marshmellow (Imperial Stout, 10%) 

marsh mellow

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“Amundsen has made a range of different ‘Dessert in a Can’ beers, each as crazy as the next. But for me, Chocolate Marshmellow (sic) is the one. You’ve also got to hunt down the Pecan and Maple Pie, but heed my warning: none of these are below 10% ABV.” - Justin Hutton, director of The Beer Collective craft beer suppliers

Evil Twin - Bozo Beer (Imperial Stout, 17.2%) 

bozo

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“Look at the size of this thing! Another ‘screwball impy’ with hints of molasses, lactose, chocolate, almond, hazelnut, vanilla bean, cinnamon, oak spiral, chilli, marshmallow, muscovado sugar, chestnut, coffee and the kitchen sink. Probably.” – Jen Ferguson, co-founder of Hop, Burns & Black bottle shop

Northern Monk x Magic Rock - Victorian Lemonade (IPA, 6.5%) 

Lemonade IPA

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“You’ll think you’ve opened a bottle of Fentimans Victorian Lemonade by mistake. That is, until you feel the the 6.5% ABV sneaks up on you.” - Justin Hutton, director of The Beer Collective craft beer suppliers

Two Roads x Evil Twin - Geyser Gose (Sour, 5.5%) 

Evil Twin

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“I first had this in a Michelada in New York and knew I had to get more so I could enjoy it in its unadulterated glory. This spritzy sour is a celebration of all things Iceland, with Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr and birch smoked sea salt all on the ingredients list.” – Jen Ferguson, co-founder of Hop, Burns & Black bottle shop

Ominpollo - Noa Pecan Mud (Stout, 11%)

Noa

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“This is rich, it’s thick, it’s boozy. Open it and you’ll get hit with pecans and caramel, and think that someone has squished a mud cake into a bottle.” - Justin Hutton, director of The Beer Collective craft beer suppliers