An Icelandic beer with unusual ingredients ...

Jan 19, 2015 by Stephane

While we have a big preference for classic or hard-to-find Belgian beers, sometimes you have to broaden your horizons and try something unusual. Microbreweries getting very popular lately, in Europe and especially in the US. 

A small brewery in Iceland called Stedji has recently started brewing beer that has the unusual ingredient of "sheep-shit smoked whale balls", in addition to the more normal and pleasing ingredients we're used to, such as malted barley and hops. That's right.

The brewery describes itself as a recently established micro-brewery that uses the appealing crystal clear water that comes from a local Icelandic spring. They claim to have the assistance of an experienced German brewer and they produce beers with no added sugar that are all filtered and pasteurised.

Firewood is hard to come in cold, barren countries like Iceland so they've resorted to using dried sheep shit as a source of fuel for fires. Smoking meats and other food sources is a common practise in many Nordic countries, now this microbrewery is applying to the preparation of the ingredients for the brews. Apparently both the balls and the shit add to the flavour of the beer. We'll leave that up to the taster to decide.

A year ago the same microbrewery produced a beer with whale meat (Fin whale, the second largest whale after the Blue whale), which caused a lot of outrage among conservationists. Despite a moratorium on commercial Fin whale hunting, Iceland resumed the practise in 2013.

The co-owner of the brewery doesn't see the Fin whale as being an endagered species. It's not immediately clear where his expertise with regard to whale hunting comes from, but he claims that the Icelanding fisheries are all sustainable. 

This beer can currently not be sold in the EU since all whale products are banned. If you're outside the EU you may be more lucky. International shipping is available from their website.

Let us know if you taste this beer!