Friday, October 1, 2010

The Session #44: Frankenstein Beers

This months topic is Frankenstein beers:

Many craft brewers are like Frankenstein. They have become mad scientists obsessed with defying the laws of brewing and creating beers that transcend style guidelines. These “Frankenstein Beers” challenge the way people perceive beer. They are freaks of nature — big, bold and intense. The ingredients resemble those of a beer and the brewing process might appear to be normal, but some aspects of the entire experience are experimental, unorthodox and insane.
An altercation with these beers produces confusion in the eye of the taster … is it a beer, or a monster?

I am really excited to have this as my first Session topic.  I have always been a fan a pushing beers to the edge.  I feel that brewing is an art, and each artist has his or her own view on what a beer can be.  Now whether or not you agree as to whether Frankenstein beers are a good idea, I think the market has spoken.  Dogfish head, Brewdog, Stone Brewing and others are pushing for these extreme beers, with interesting new ingredients and brewing methods.  I guess the only question is how far can you go and where will it stop?  There is currently a war for the highest alcohol content in a beer and honestly couldn't care less.  I think it is great that new methods for brewing are being adopted and created, but I am a consumer and when will I be able to try these beers?  On the positive side I think it is great exposure for craft beer, as long as beer is being talked about in a positive way, it is a great thing for all of us. 

 On the other hand it is great to sit down and enjoy classic styles that helped me fall in love with craft beer in the first place.  I think in order to create extreme beer styles you should know how to create the original style first.  I had the pleasure of working for Peter Catizone at Faultline Brewing in Sunnyvale and learned the importance and difficulty of brewing traditional styles.  Some may actually argue that to brew a great Pilsner is harder than brewing some of the Frankenstein beers.  I may have to agree with that because it's always harder to make something stand out that is made simply.  A weird comparison would be for a chef to make an omelet, a seemingly simple task that takes a huge amount of skill and knowledge to pull of well.  

Whether or not you agree that Frankenstein beers are a good thing,  I do believe they are good for the craft beer industry in general.  I still love my classic styles, but I really do love to try new things. Aside from making great blog material, it makes for a great experience and drinking a well made beer should be an experience.  I always think that there really is no right or wrong with beer aside from supporting craft beer and rather than mega beer, but I think that goes without saying.   So if you haven't yet, go out and have a DIPA, BIPA, Barrel aged beers or a Sour beer, you may find something enjoyable and new. 

If you have had any Frankenstein beer that you want to recommend leave a comment.  I think this would be a great time to share some beer stories and maybe leave your opinion on the matter.



  1. Do you have any Frankenstein beer glasses in your great collection?

  2. I wish I did, just the Star Trek and Star Wars. You can tell I am a child of the 80's.