Brewers have come up with some rather strange techniques for making beer in the past. There’s a stout made with oysters, an abundance of real ales made with fish swim bladders (isinglass), and even a brew made using bull testicles (apparently it tastes like chocolate…).
Now, a brewery in Iceland is producing a new type of beer made with the testicles of fin whales. But it’s not the fact that it contains sexual organs, or the knowledge that they are smoked with dried sheep dung first, that has ticked people off. Fin whales are listed as endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
According to The Guardian, the brew is being produced by Icelandic brewery Stedji for the country’s mid-winter festival, Thorri. This comes just one year after the same company produced a beer, once again for Thorri, which contained whale meat. Livid conservationists have not held back in sharing their views on the situation, and are claiming that this bizarre brew is merely an attempt to rescue the “dying” whaling industry in Iceland.
“This is a calculated move, not only to dishonor a beautiful and endangered creature by using its most intimate of body parts as a marketing tool, but also sends a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and those who love and respect whales,” said anti-whaling campaigner Vanessa Williams-Grey. “Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves.”
Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) were listed as an endangered species in 1996 after their populations experienced significant depletion worldwide due to commercial whaling in the 20th century. Back in 1982, the IWC adopted a provision, or the commercial whaling moratorium, which set all catch limits for commercial whaling to zero. However, Norway and Russia objected to the provision, and Iceland considered itself not bound by it.
“We live in a country that allows whaling and the whaling is very well controlled by the Icelandic authorities, but fisheries here are self-sustainable and very responsible. According to our research the fin whale in North Atlantic is not at risk of extinction,” said Dagbjartur Ariliusun from Stedji.
Ariliusun went on to explain that in the past, Icelandic people made use of as many animal ingredients as they could, and they still eat a variety of foods at Thorri ranging from sheep testicles to rotten sharks.