But a new concoction from Icelandic brewery Steðji seems to defy all sense of taste logic with an unconventional ingredient—whale testicles.
For its winter ale "Hvalur," the brewery teamed up with a local whaling company of the same name. According to the product website, the beer is made with “Pure Icelandic water, malted barley, hops and sheep shit smoked whale balls.” We’re not sure if something is lost in the Nordic translation but according to Steðji, this is a traditional method of smoking that has been used in Iceland since the Vikings were in charge.
The beer ends up with an “excellent smoke taste, a smoke taste you haven’t tryed [sic] before…”
Animal rights activists, including Vanessa Williams Grey of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), are critical of the brew.
"Reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle is about as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get,” Williams Grey told the Guardian.
"The brewery may claim that this is just a novelty product with a short shelf life, but what price the life of an endangered whale which might have lived to be 90 years?"
Steðji acknowledges that the use of whale may be controversial but said the brew will only be available for a limited run—Jan. 24 through Feb. 22 and will not be exported.
Dagbjartur Ariliusson, the owner of the brewery, said that Icelandic people have enjoyed many cured meats, including whale fat for centuries and “now we have the beer to drink with this food.”
The brewery does not specify which type of whale is used in its new beer, but according to the WWF, there are several endangered whale species native to the region.