The beers in question. Appropriately named Hvalur 1 & 2 or Whale 1 & 2. PIC stedji.is

The beers in question. Appropriately named Hvalur 1 & 2 or Whale 1 & 2. PIC stedji.is

Again a little know farm brewery in Iceland is making headlines both at home and abroad for its unconventional product. Last year it was beer diluted with whalemeal and now a beer diluted with a smoked whale testicle.

Last year was a bit of a mess though. Turned out the whalemeal added to the mix, mostly crushed whale bones, was not quite legal which forced the brewery, Stedji, to recall all their specialty beer. But another problem was that Whale 1, as that particular beer was named, wasn´t particularly good.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]meats are smoked using old sheep´s dung[/blockquote]

Fast forward twelve months and now Whale 2 is hitting the shelves locally. This time a lighter beer but with that added whale testicle ingredient. Better yet, or worse from some standpoint, the balls used in the productions have been smoked the traditional Icelandic way. For those unfamiliar with the traditional smoking method suffice it to say that meats are smoked using old sheep´s dung.

True, it does sound disgusting but apart from the beer in question it is wise to keep in mind this smoking method was borne by necessity and not choice back in the day. There are no trees in this country and have not been for centuries. The only way for locals to smoke anything at all was with unconventional methods like using cow or sheep´s dung. In reality, foreigners unaware of this phenomenon taste nothing out of the ordinary and some even like the smoked dung taste better than not.

One other thing to keep in mind in this case; both beers are specially made for the season of Thorri. Thorri or Thorrblot is an old pagan festival still celebrated here every year. More here about that phenomenon. In fact, in light of the “delicacies” on offer at those festivals a whale testicle beer fits just perfectly.

Lastly, and few realize this, is the fact that breweries nowadays are a dime a dozen both here and elsewhere as beer enthusiasts are turning away from old-school factory made lagers and ales. Stiff competition calls for innovative ways of marketing. Team Total Iceland suspects that is one reason why bits of whales are added to the mix at Stedji brewery. Whaling is controversial almost everywhere and as an old Viking saying goes, often attributable to Oscar Wilde, it is better to be badly talked about than not talked about at all. For marketing purposes this is simply pure genius. Not iota of doubt that a large numbers of visitors to Iceland as well as beer lovers the world over would absolutely love trying one.

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