Ales of the unexpected

Every coffee table, public bar and man cave on the planet deserves this book.

Sixty-five of the world’s most breathtakingly bizarre brews have been assembled for Brewed With Balls (Affirm Press) – the most perfect companion to a cold frothy one since salted peanuts.  There’s a short and highly entertaining description of the ingredients or brewing technique that sets each beer apart from the (six-) pack, and at the back of the book is a list of all the breweries featured and a link to their homepages so you can go straight to the sauce … err, source.

Collagen, Redskins, hemp, squid ink … even pizzas and key lime pies have found their way into a beer somewhere. Bulls have given their testicles and goats their brains in the name of beer (the latter, inspired by The Walking Dead, is appropriately called Walker and reportedly prompted a phone call from one of the show’s producers keen for a taste).

There are beers made with coffee from beans that have passed through the digestive tracts of civet cats and elephants. There’s one containing barley grown on the International Space Station (for a truly out-of-this-world taste, presumably) and another that was designed to be consumed in space (low carbonation and a specially designed bottle so it won’t explode when opened in zero gravity).

Matso’s Broome Brewery produced its face-melting Chilli Beer for the 2013 Fremantle Chilli Festival after “ruthlessly” infusing it with a secret super chilli oil, while Scotland’s Brewmeister unleashed Snake Venom with a coma-inducing 67.5% alcohol content.  Lost Rhino’s Bone Dusters Amber Ale uses yeast recovered from a 35 million-year-old fossilised whale bone, while Rogue Ales took its yeast from the beard of brewer John Maier.

One of the strangest beers is Brewdog’s The End Of History. Only 12 bottles were produced, and each was packaged in its own grotesque stubby-holder: the body of a stoat or squirrel (all roadkill, the Scottish brewery says).  Much more animal-friendly is Nail Brewing’s Antarctic Nail Ale, whose 30 limited-edition bottles contained water sourced from a chunk of iceberg. Each bottle sold at auction for more than $800 (and one fetched more than twice that) and all proceeds went to the Sea Shepherd’s whale conservation program.

The writing in Brewed With Balls is as refreshing and effervescent as a southern German wheat beer, and at $19.99 it’s less than the cost of a slab and guaranteed to put just as big a smile on your dial ... without the hangover, naturally.

Frankly Frankston Magazine has two copies of ‘Brewed With Balls’ to give away this month. Competition entry is open to existing and new Frankly Frankston Magazine members. Join at