Craft Beer and Seaweed

Craft Beer

There are two things that you probably never would have thought went together – beer brewing, and seaweed. It seems that with the increasing popularity of craft beer, breweries are always going out of their way to find new ways to make beer. Sometimes these new ideas work, but at other times, they fall flat (and leave you with an unwelcome aftertaste if you’re unlucky enough to choose the wrong brew).

Although seaweed and beer sound like two things that should be kept as far away from each other as possible, there’s a small brewery in Maine that is actually making the combination work.

Made from the Sea, in Maine

The name of the brewery is Marshall Wharf Brewing Co., which is admittedly a fitting name for a company that is incorporating kelp into its brewing process. Seaweed is not the first unusual ingredient that the company has put into its beer, and they’ve even produced a brew using oysters, and others that used hot habanero and jalapeno chili peppers.

Surprisingly, Marshall Wharf is not the first company to use seaweed in its craft beer. There’s also a beer from Scotland, known as Kelpie, that is also made with seaweed.

One of the worries that the company had with producing the beer, was that a chemical reaction with the seaweed had the potential to turn the beer into a thick sludge. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and the first batch turned out as a malt flavored ale, with a distinct element of salt in the finish.

Although the beer turned out to be a success, producing it in significant quantities could be challenging. Seaweed farms are relatively obscure, so maintaining quality and consistency will be a major challenge. However, from initial tests, seaweed is a promising addition to the craft beer industry, and could find itself in an untapped niche of the market that thirsty and adventurous drinkers would likely be willing to support.

Strange Flavors in Brewing History

If you thought seaweed was weird, then consider some of the other strange ingredients that craft brewers have used to differentiate their beers in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

  • Sapporo produced a limited beer in 2009 that included barley that had been on the International Space Station. Fittingly, the beer was named Space Barley.
  • Another limited edition beer was produced by Sankt Gallen, and it incorporated coffee beans that had been predigested by elephants.
  • Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer is a beer that includes pizza in the ingredients, giving it the authentic flavor of a margarita pizza.

Would you be brave enough to try a seaweed infused craft beer, or, how about a pizza beer? With the craft industry continually growing, it’s likely that we’re yet to see the strangest ingredients in a beer!

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