Pop quiz: Of the following three beers, which two are April Fool’s jokes and which one is real?
1. Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout from Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver, a stout made with Rocky Mountain oysters (deep-fried bull testicles, a Colorado delicacy) added to the mash tun and brew kettle.
2. Schlafly Titanium from Schlafly Brewing Co. in St. Louis, an ale measuring 10,000 international bitterness units, so extravagantly crafted that only one bottle will ever be produced, leaving beer geeks to fight among themselves for possession.
3. International Arms Race Zero IBU IPA, an India pale ale that measures zero international bitterness units because it contains no hops, drawing its spicy character instead from a blend of spearmint, bay leaves, juniper, rosemary, elderflower and orange and lemon peel.
The Zero IBU IPA is real, however, even though the March 26 press release fell close enough to April Fool’s Day to make one doubt its authenticity. The unusual beer, due out in midsummer, is a collaboration between Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick and BrewDog in Fraserburgh, Scotland.
The mention of BrewDog should have been a tip-off that this was genuine. The Scottish microbrewery has never shied away from experimentation. Among its stranger offerings was The End of History, a 55 percent alcohol-by-volume brew produced through freeze distillation, packaged in the carcass of a dead animal (your choice of a squirrel, weasel or hare) and sold for $765 a bottle.
By comparison, a hop-less IPA seems almost commonplace.
According to Flying Dog brewmaster Matt Brophy, two versions of Zero IBU IPA should become available simultaneously in July or August (Flying Dog’s in six-packs, BrewDog’s in single bottles), so drinkers can sample them side by side and look for subtle differences.
In the meantime, Brophy was preparing to brew another unique IPA — a collaboration with Frederick chocolatier Randy Olmstead of the Perfect Truffle. Dubbed Chocolate Fever, the beer will contain gourmet chocolate (in the form of powder and wafers) and Chinook hops (a variety noted for its piney, citrusy and tropical fruit flavors). “We’ve done several pilot brews,” said Brophy, who adds that the flavors complement one another, rather than clash.
(Olmstead has previously whipped up truffles for pairings with Flying Dog beers, including a special confection in the shape of the brewery’s bat-wing logo. Watch this video.)
Chocolate Fever will be one of two beers that Flying Dog pours at the upcoming Savor festival. But if you weren’t able to snag a ticket, Flying Dog plans to release its chocolate IPA on May 15 in six-packs and kegs.