Does the Wynkoop's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout have enough balls to win at GABF?
Malt, water, hops, yeast...and bull testicles. That's the recipe for the ballsiest beer that Denver's Wynkoop Brewing Company has made in its 24-year history, and one that it will start serving on October 8 during Great American Beer Festival week.
Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, which started off as an April Fool's Day prank last spring, became a reality when the brewery decided to brew a beer with 25 pounds of the local delicacy, hand-sliced and then roasted.
Even ballsier? The Wynkoop has entered the beer, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, into the Indigenous Beer category at GABF, meaning it must contain "at least one regional combination of ingredients, and/or techniques must be unique and differentiated from ingredients and/or techniques commonly used by brewers throughout the world."
"We do like making beer with local ingredients, and the oysters, we think they qualify," says Wynkoop spokesman Marty Jones, who spent a lot of time with head brewer Andy Brown thinking about which category to go with.
"We considered the experimental category, but we went with indigenous, because it is just that. And it's funny," Jones says. "Bull testicles have been consumed by humans for hundreds of years, and they are named after the Rocky Mountains."
Yes, they are, and if the Wynkoop wins a medal for the stout, Brown and Jones will certainly need to buy a bigger size of pants.
Adds Jones: "The GABF judges, when they get a beer, they are told what the ingredients are, so if nothing else, we figure we can make some judges laugh a lot. It could stack the deck. Either they'll think it's gross, or they may think it's genius."
The beer started as a joke (see the video above) but became reality when the Wynkoop decided that the reaction to the video -- laughter and a desire by beer writers and customers to try the real thing -- merited serious consideration.
The testicles were secured by Dominic Fanelli of Shamrock Foods, who got them from Denver's Castle Rock Meats. They were then sliced by Wynkoop sous chef Andrew Langlo, roasted and added to the mashtun, which produced eight barrels of beer.
"We did raw ones in the video, but that was a little too much," Jones says. "We did want a meatier, heartier, beefier, if you will, stout." This one clocks in at 7 percent alcohol by volume and three BPBs (balls per barrel).
The Wynkoop describes it as "an assertive foreign-style stout, slightly viscous, with a deep brown color. It has equally deep flavors of chocolate syrup, Kahlua and espresso, along with a palpable level of alcohol and a savory umami-like note. It finishes dry and roasted with a fast-fading hop bite."
You can find the beer at the Wynkoop, where the kitchen will be serving a special Rocky Mountain Oyster dish to pair with it, starting October 8, and also inside the Great American Beer Festival.
Try it...if you have the balls.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.