Dung-Smoked IPA - Gastro Obscura


Dung-Smoked IPA

The Icelandic brew is made with malts smoked over burning sheep dung.

Icelanders have smoked meat over dung-fueled fires for many centuries, but, modern-day drinkers have only been legally allowed to drink full-strength beer since 1989. In recent years, enterprising locals at one of the nation’s few breweries opted to unite old and new by smoking their malts over a distinctly traditional fire.

Borg Brugghús, a brewery in Reykjavík, is responsible for adding to Iceland’s repertoire of dung-smoked delicacies. Their West Coast–style IPA, known as “Fenrir Nr. 26,” is named after a monstrous, god-hunting wolf from Norse mythology. But the beer itself is much closer a sheep (well, a sheep’s excrement) in wolf’s clothing. According to the brewer, the process is quite simple: “We put [malts] in a smoke oven, and put a sheep shit fire underneath. Let it stand for a couple of days, and voila.”

Tasters say the finished beer is golden and foamy, with notes of grapefruit, lime, and grass complementing its dry, hoppy bitterness. Fans make mention of rich, smoky undertones, but liken them to a tobacco pipe or the inside of a toasted oak barrel, not a burning pile of droppings. Though reviewers find Fenrir’s aroma undeniably reminiscent of a campfire, the type of fuel remains decidedly undetectable.

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