Calling All Pickle Lovers: Pickle Brine Beer Exists
These days, craft brewing is essentially a contest to see who can put the strangest stuff in a vat of beer and get away with it. Case in point, look no further than some of the sugary cereal and candy-infused beers that have been tapping into our taste for nostalgia paired with hops.
For all the pickleback shots of the world, the fact that anyone could put pickle brine into a beer and turn it into something palatable still registers as a surprise. But by all accounts, it seems like that’s exactly what Westminster, Massachusetts-based Wachusett Brewing Company has managed to pull off with their Willy Dilly IPA.
Based on some intel from those who’ve tried it, the Willy Dilly is an East Coast IPA that’s infused with pickle brine from fellow Westminster business Stretch’s Pickles. That lends a balance of brininess and tartness to the brew, adding a bit of dry bitterness that turns it into something more akin to a west coast IPA. For better or worse, it would seem to taste a bit closer to what you might expect from a craft IPA than a spiked pickle jar.
Of course, presentation still counts for something in the world of craft brewing, and the Willy Dilly does not disappoint. If you have the chance to order one on tap from the Wachusett Brew Yard, you’ll find your pint adorned with a pickle slice garnish on the rim, which gets you in the proper frame of mind before downing the briny pint. I’d imagine that dipping this pickle slice into your beer would properly set the tone for the drinking experience that awaits you.
While evidence suggests this is currently a regional beer exclusive to central Massachusetts, one can only hope that some kegs of Willy Dilly make it down to the North Carolina Pickle Festival later this year, where it would surely find a receptive audience. In the meantime, let’s hope some brewery doesn’t get the idea to add some stranger pickled vegetables to their brewing vats.