I am a long-time vegetarian. I am also a lover of beer. These two normally harmonious characteristics were recently challenged when I found out about Wynkoop Brewing’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout.
I know “meat” beers exist; I’ve heard of bacon beers but never had any interest in trying them. And it’s not because I’ve been a strict vegetarian for nearly 15 years; I just don’t think bacon beer sounds the least bit appealing. But beyond beer that is obviously brewed with meat, I don’t give much thought to whether or not animal products might be used in the brewing processes of each and every beer I consume. To me, good beer is worth the possible risk of ingesting a tiny amount of animal product, yet I refuse to eat soup made with chicken broth, and I abstain from S’mores due to gelatin in marshmallows. My decision to become vegetarian started as an ethical one, and still is, though I also enjoy the health benefits as well. For me to knowingly choose to consume meat—it’s a big deal. Huge, in fact. So what is the one thing that could make me even begin to consider doing so? BEER, of course!
I love Wynkoop Brewing Company. It’s Colorado’s first brewpub and Denver’s first craft brewery. It’s in a beautiful 1888 historic building, has great food and beer, and it’s a mere half mile walk from my home. What’s not to love?! When I heard about their latest creation, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, my first thought was, “Yuck!” I’ve never had the desire to eat Rocky Mountain Oysters—ever; even when I liked meat. So I certainly didn’t think I’d be trying the beer. But I found myself at Wynkoop last week with a crew of friends who were here for the Great American Beer Festival. And some of them ordered it. This beer is surely one of a kind, I thought. I’m a beer enthusiast and blogger; how can I pass up the opportunity to try this revolutionary brew? So right then and there, I made the conscious decision to break almost 15 years of abstaining from meat. I sipped my friend’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. And it was good! I did not taste bull testicles (not that I’d have any idea how they’d taste). It was a delicious smoky stout, a very enjoyable beer. I even recommend it! But I quickly went back to my Mile HI.P.A., satisfied that I had the balls to go through with it.
It was a bit strange for me, but I am happy to have tried it. And, in regard to my vegetarianism, my helpful and witty friend Chris said to me, “Don’t think of it as meat, think of it as nuts!” Well done, sir. Well done.