Friday, January 10, 2014

Not Beer of the Week

Apparently there’s a bit of a furor in Iceland over a brewery’s plans for a special beer release. Icelandic beer brewed with whale bone angers hunt opponents:

What does it take to become a true Viking? According to one Icelandic brewery, drinking their beer made with ground-up whale bones will do the trick just fine.

To the consternation of much of the non-whale-eating world, the brewery, Stedji, announced this week that it was introducing a limited run of beer brewed with whale bones, making those who drink it into "true Vikings." The brew's month-long run during the Icelandic winter festival of Thorrablot is the product of a partnership with Icelandic whaling company Hvalur and has quickly incited a backlash from environmentalists against the whalebone-quaffing people of Iceland.

But for all the ire it's raised, we can't help but wonder: What does it taste like?

That is obviously the pertinent question. If you’re going to go to the trouble to grind up whale bones for a beer the end product should justify the effort.

It's dark, according to Dagbjartur ArilĂ­usson, a spokesman for the brewery, and has a "smoked caramel taste with barbecued whale meat taste in undertone and aftertaste."

If I ever use the words “with barbecued whale meat taste in undertone and aftertaste” to describe a beer my days as beer lover will be numbered.

The whale meat flavor, he says, might be described as somewhere "in between beef and fish." The beer, which will not be available for export, is meant to be sipped alongside such traditional nosh as "soured whale fat, burned sheep heads, soured sheep testicles, salted fish, shark, etc.," that weighs down the tables of Thorrablot celebrations.

That probably explains why Thorrablot parties haven’t really caught on here in the States so far. If you do have a celebration planned, be sure to pair your soured sheep testicles with beer that tastes like barbecued whale meet.