This Icelandic Craft Beer Is Made From a Giant Whale Testicle (Video) – Travel+Leisure

Driving through West Iceland is akin to driving through Middle Earth. The stark contrast between the white-capped glaciers and green rolling farmland make it a unique place for a brewhouse, but so very Iceland.

Reminiscent of the Dark Ages, it seems only fitting that the region’s local brewery is making a genuinely medieval beer. Stedji Brewery is producing a seasonal beer called Havalur, made with whale testicle that’s been smoked in sheep’s dung.

I tried it on a private group tour, available upon request, at this family-owned brewery that has been creating all-natural, sugar-free beer since 2012 in the tiny town of Borgarfjordur. When I walked into the wooden tasting room, I was hit with a whiff of hops and smoked meat. I was nervous and hesitant to try it, but it was exactly how they said it would taste: like a porter with hints of caramel and a smoky, almost meaty aftertaste. I washed it down with a homemade hotdog, made sans whale testicle.

Patrick Sgro

One of the most controversial beers in the world, it’s a brew steeped in Icelandic tradition — and a giant whale testicle, 15 to 18 pounds to be exact. They use one testicle in each batch and joke that is is “the size of a basketball for a troll.”

Stedji Brewery gets the whale testicles from a company called Hvalur hf. It is the only Icelandic company allowed to hunt 150 pieces of fin whale every year. However, many animal rights activists have protested this beer for its use of endangered fin whale. “We got a lot of e-mail threats about it from activists abroad when we first started brewing it,” said Dagbjartur Ariliusson, owner of Stedji Brewery.

Havalur is brewed for the

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