By Jaimi Dolmage
Dabjartur Arilíusson really fights for the ability to see his dream realized, even if that dream is to produce a beer with the smoked testicles of an endangered animal. Some people dream of being a princess or a fire fighter but, you know, to each their own?
It all started last year when Arilíusson, owner of the Steðjar brewery in Iceland, tried to launch a beer that contained whale meal in time for the festival of Þorrablót, honoring the norse god Thor. There was just one, little, bitty hiccup. The whaling company that supplied the whale meal had no license to produce such a product for human consumption. It was filled with whale byproducts and thusly deemed, “not fit for human consumption.”
But this time Arilíusson has cracked the code in getting a little bit of an endangered species into a frosty beverage by placing a smoked fin whale testicle in with each brew of what’s being called Hvalur 2. Hvalur translates to “whale” in case you were wondering. Gotta have truth in advertising, you know? While the Public Health Authority in Vesturland was able to put the kibosh on the whole whale meal as a beer ingredient thing with the first Hvalur go around, it turns out that smoked whale testicles are approved for human consumption and thusly perfectly legal to put in a beer.
Fin whales are endangered, which makes it seem perfectly reasonable that we should be offered the chance to drink their reproductive bits for giggles. Not only is Iceland perfectly aware of this fact, they’re continuing to whale them at a quota of 184 per year despite the fact that the United States officially declared them in defiance of The International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) commercial whaling ban in 2011. No sanctions were handed down however, and Iceland resumed their whaling operations in 2013 with the majority of the meat they hunt going to Japanese markets.
Did we also mention that the whale testicles are smoked with dung? Let’s break this down really quick. Hvalur 2 is a seasonal beer in honor of the norse god Thor that was brewed with a salted and dung smoked testicle from an endangered whale. Seriously, are they going to put that on the bottle?
The sad fact is that this stuff is legal, which means that an endangered animal has to suffer for it. Clearly, better protections and actual enforcement of violations are needed if the excesses of shortsighted business people are to be stopped. Joining Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Adopt-a-Whale program can help to fund their work toward getting better regulations put into place. Oh, and sticking with a beer that doesn’t rely on a whale’s smokey junk never hurts either. There are plenty here for your next Super Bowl party.