November is here, and with it come the 30 hairy days that many know as “No Shave November.” In addition to raising awareness and funds for cancer, many use the month as an excuse to let their freak follicles fly. Of course, the craft beer community needs no such excuse: many brewers and beer geeks alike proudly display their beards year-round. It’s become sort of a stereotype of today’s craft beer drinker and sometimes a source of ridicule (with high-profile chef David Chang recently poking fun at beer snobs combing out their neck beards whilst arguing about hop varieties).
Of course, behind every stereotype exists a grain of truth. Whether you’re shaving clean and tracking your beard’s progress over the month or it’s just business as usual, here are 10 “hairy” beers to get you through No Shave November.
Rogue Ales Beard Beer
While there are many beard-themed beers out there, Rogue’s Beard Beer has to have the most terroir. Brewmaster John Maier parted with nine hairs from his beloved beer, which were then sent to White Labs to see if any yeast could be gleaned from them. They blended the resulting wild yeast with the brewery’s Pacman yeast to make this American wild ale. It came out in 2013 and might be tough to find, but you can keep tabs on John’s Beard through the brewer’s blog or follow him—er, it—on Twitter.
Holy City Brewing Chucktown Follicle Brown
Charleston, South Carolina
This is the beer that got a man canned. The face on Chucktown Follicle Brown cans belongs to Paul Roof, a prominent member of the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society and former professor at Charleston Southern University, a Christian university. Why former? Roof asserts that the university failed to renew his contract after cans of the beer hit the market. Not to worry, this one has a happy ending. Roof found a new position at College of Charleston, and his beard is firmly intact. And unlike Rogue, Holy City wants to make it clear that “NO hair was used, or abused, in the making of this beer.” It’s a true-to-style American brown ale, and a good one at that.
Red Brick Brewing Beard Envy
“Some of us have it and some of us don’t,” says Atlanta’s oldest brewery, “and I can tell you I am in the latter camp. Try as I might, I just can’t grow the full beard that’s become the calling card of so many in the craft beer industry. But no matter, because contrary to my patchwork beard is Red Brick’s very full-bodied Beard Envy barleywine.” This entry in the brewery’s Brick Mason series came out earlier this year. It’s a big, boozy barleywine with a strong bourbon presence that marries well with the beer’s sweet, caramel base.
Monday Night Brewing Fu Manbrew
I might have beard envy, but Red Brick’s neighbors at Monday Night Brewing sure don’t. At its heart, the brewery’s Fu Manbrew is a Belgian-style witbier hopped with noble Hallertau hops from Germany. The name of the beer, however, is a nod to the beer’s “whisper of ginger from the Far East.” The beer is as refreshing as the Fu Manchu itself, a welcome break from all those neck beards in today’s craft beer climate.
Finch’s Brewing Company Secret Stache Stout
The lock and key on the cans of Finch’s Brewing Company’s Secret Stache Stout is at first confusing. Are we talking about a stash, or a ‘stache? It seems to be both, as the beer was actually named after the line of hair perched above former brewmaster Charlie Davis’ lip. This stout brewed with vanilla bean was once a one-off beer for the brewery, but is now available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans.
3 Guys And A Beer’d Brewing Soul Patch Pumpkin Ale
It should come as no surprise that a brewery named “3 Guys And A Beer’d” features some beard-themed beers, as well as a Clean Shaven series. The Soul Patch Pumpkin Ale just narrowly avoids that category. While the chin adornment for which it is named has fallen out of favor, pumpkin beers have never been more popular. Halloween has come and gone, but don’t worry—pumpkin beers can be enjoyed all the way up to Thanksgiving.
Fonta Flora Brewery Hop Beard IPA
Morganton, North Carolina
Fonta Flora Brewery’s head brewer Todd Boera has one of the most respected beards in the industry. He’s also quite a respected brewer, both from his years at Catawba Brewing to his current role at Fonta Flora Brewery, which is celebrating a year in business. In that time, Boera has brewed a variety of beers: open-fermented saisons, ales imbued with local agriculture, and a series of lower-alcohol table beers (the brewery’s Irish Table won gold at this year’s Great American Beer Festival). Rarely does he brew the same beer twice, though he makes an exception for beers like the Hop Beard IPA.
Founders Brewing Co. Backwoods Bastard
Grand Rapids, Michigan
The old bearded man—born surely from the Kentucky wild—is no stranger to the woods. You can’t imagine that beard a brewin’, but perhaps he’s used his axe to fall innumerable trees that later were formed into barrels to hold bourbon. And then Founders got a hold of them, and filled them with their Dirty Bastard to create a beer with big notes of vanilla, caramel and bourbon. This barrel-aged Scotch ale comes out in November, making it a fine choice in this, the hairiest of months.
Short’s Brewing Co. Beard of Zeus
Hop puns have reached such a level that brewers are avoiding the easy ones in favor of playing off the hop varieties themselves. Such is the case with Short’s Beard of Zeus, a 4.5% India pale lager brewed with orange peel and Zeus hops. Or perhaps their Hopstache American IPA is more your style?
Great Divide Brewing Co. Yeti Imperial Stout
Does the elusive Yeti have the world’s greatest beard, or is the beast merely a cautionary tale of going too far? Fortunately Great Divide’s big imperial stout is a year-round offering and easier to find than the beast that shares its name. Seasonal variations on the subject include oatmeal, oak-aged, espresso oak-aged and chocolate oak-aged versions.