Craft Beers Gone Wild: A List Of The Extreme From 2015

beard beer rogue ales craft beer

Go big or go home.

That phrase definitely applies to the growing number of brewers wanting to push the boundaries in the craft beer market. From the stratospherically high 55% ABV of BrewDog’s End of History (2010) to the newest member of the “extreme” beer family, Dogfish Head Brewery’s Hoo Lawd that comes in at a whopping 658.5 IBUs, today’s craft brewers know no bounds.

Each person’s definition of extreme varies, but I compiled a list of brews that I thought would most likely elicit phrases like: That’s ridiculous!, Who the hell thought of that?, I can’t feel my tongue! and How the f%&$ did I get this drunk so fast?.  If you had a beer like that this year and it’s not listed, too bad, so sad, sucks to be you. Just kidding! Stick around after reading and tell us all in the comments what craft brew you drank in 2015 that tested the limits of defensible craft beer brewing.

My picks for most extreme beers of 2015

Beard Beer American wild ale by Rogue Ales is brewed with yeast from the brewmaster John Maier’s beard. Yes, his beard (well 6 hairs from his beard anyways). Seriously, WTF thinks of this shit?

Ground Control, an imperial stout by Ninkasi Brewing, was also extreme for its yeast, but not for where it came from. It’s extreme for where the yeast went, into space. Ninkasi collaborated with rocket scientists to send brewers yeast for this brew in Earth’s orbit – not once, but twice. There have been no drinkers’ reports of small aliens ripping forth out of any torsos… yet.

Ghost Face Killah, a chili beer by Twisted Pine Brewing, is brewed with some suicidal peppers, including the infamous Ghost Pepper. Along with serrano, jalapeno, habanero, Fresno and Anaheim chilies, this beer is almost guaranteed to burn the taste buds off your tongue in about 3 seconds. You just might want to keep some milk handy as a chaser.

Utopias, Samuel Adams’ iconic extreme beer, was released again this year after a hiatus in 2014. Clocking in at a solid 28% ABV, this beer has a flavor profile like no other. Priced around $150 per bottle, it’s an investment. However, if you can get your hands on a sample it is worth the hype. Just don’t plan to drive or operate heavy machinery afterwards.

Hoo Lawd, as mentioned above, has the highest IBU’s ever documented in a beer. Hop oils in a Co2 concentration create the insane 658.5 IBU’s, approximately 4x the average high-IBU IPA.

Here’s a clip of Dogfish founder and Brewmaster Sam Calagione sharing this extreme beer with actors, Ken Marino and Jo Lo Truglio.

Triple Bypass from Jagged Mountain Brewing is a 14.5% ABV Triple IPA with 450 IBU’s. Not Hoo Lawd high, but damn son!

Mexican Cake by Westbrook Brewing is an imperial stout aged with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and fresh habanero peppers. What makes this one extreme is its rarity. Limited quantities are sent out to retailers and once there, they don’t last a day. And the ultra-rare Barrel Aged Mexican Cake can only be consumed at the brewery. Do not try to take the beer out of the brewery or bad things can happen. What I don’t know but I just wouldn’t try it.

Black Tuesday from The Bruery is another ultra-rare brew. In order to obtain one of these babies, you have to enter into a lottery and hope your name is randomly chosen. If not, you have to hope there are bottles left after the winners’ sales, and those last a NY minute.

Here are some other extreme beers, honorably mentioned:

Kimi Lambic from Upland brewing, sour ale
Chocolate Lobster, Dogfish Head, American Style Porter
Hunaphu, Cigar City, American Double/Imperial Stout
Chocolate Rain, The Bruery, Imperial Stout (Society Exclusive)
Skill’ole, 3 Floyds Brewing, sour ale
Grey Monday, The Bruery, Imperial Stout (Society Exclusive)
Kopi Luwali Summation, 3 Sons brewing, BBA Imperial Vanilla Kopi Luwak coffee Stout
Second Fiddle, Fiddlehead Brewing, IPA

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Stacey Lynn Juston has been involved in the world of finely crafted liquids for over 10 years, actually drinking them longer than that. Follow Stacey: @thehoppyspirit on Twitter and Instagram, Stacey Lynn on Facebook and at

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