Seaweed, Skittles, and bear meat. Do you know what’s in your beer?

[USA] Forget that antiquated foursome of malt, hops, yeast, and water.

Order a pint at your local pub today, and you might very well be sipping a brew also made with elephant dung, candy bars, or, in the case of one New Hampshire brewery, the head of a wild boar.

As both craft beers and home brewing have exploded in popularity — and as America’s beer-swilling population has grown ever more adventurous in its tastes — beer makers are turning to an increasingly eclectic array of ingredients to spice up their product.

“Every day there’s a new brewery opening somewhere, so [brewers] have to do something to sort of set themselves out from the crowd,” says Cape Ann Brewing Company’s Dylan L’Abbe-Lindquist, who has brewed with, among other things, hot sauce and crushed oyster shells.

The result, he says, is a beer-making landscape that “pushes people to use weirder and weirder” ingredients.

Look no farther than New England, where six area breweries are in the process of creating beers made with water from the Charles River. Last week, meanwhile, New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Brewery debuted Selkie, a Scottish red ale made from 60 pounds of sugar kelp — or seaweed — harvested from a floating aquaculture platform run by the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and New Hampshire Sea Grant.

Already, says head brewer Matt Gallagher, customers have been smitten with the beer’s quirky, seaside taste.

“About an hour later, if you burp, you burp straight low tide,” Gallagher says.

Still, by today’s standards, seaweed and river water represent some of the industry’s tamer additives.

 

Photo: Matt Gallagher, master brewer at Portsmouth Brewery, shows off a pint of Selkie, a Scottish red ale made from 60 pounds of sugar kelp — or seaweed — harvested from a floating aquaculture platform.

View original article at: Seaweed, Skittles, and bear meat. Do you know what’s in your beer?

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