Beer ... with whale in it

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 11:44 10/01/2014
whale
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WHALE BEER: This takes craft beer to a whole new level.

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Iceland's new beer for "true vikings" is "healthy", "low-fat", and contains fin whale.

Brewery Steðja has teamed up with whaling company Hvalur to launch the 5.2 per cent beer, which is made in a process that uses the animal's meat and oil.

The beer is marketed as a healthy alternative by virtue of containing whale, which the brewery said was high in protein and low in fat.

The move has caused outrage among environmental groups: they believe the beer poses a threat to the endangered fin whale.

Iceland, along with Norway and Japan, is one of the few countries that still hunts whales after an international whaling moratorium went into effect in 1986.

Icelandic whaling campaign leader Vanessa Williams-Grey said reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle was about "as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get."

"The brewery may claim that this is just a novelty product with a short shelf life, but what price the life of an endangered whale which might have lived to be 90 years?"

Brewery owner Dagbjartur Ariliusson said whale beer made sense in the context of Iceland's annual mid-winter festival Thorrablot.

Icelandic people had celebrated Thorrablot for centuries by eating "cured food, including whale fat, and now we have the beer to drink with this food," he said.

The beer had a "smoked caramel taste with barbecued whale meat taste in undertone and aftertaste," he said.

Whale meat flavour is somewhere between beef and fish, and the beer was intended to be consumed alongside traditional Thorrablot menu items such as soured whale fat, burnt sheep heads, soured sheep testicles, salted fish, and shark.

The limited edition beer is only available from January 24 to February 22.

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