Ersatz beer from Breda

The search for lost beers continues, while debunking the odd beer myth along the way. And sometimes brewers used quite remarkable ingredients. In Breda, they used skimmed milk.

I still have a weak spot for the various fake beers I find from time to time: beer made out of potatoes, palm sago, and even pea pods. Usually this kind of weird drinks are the invention of loners outside the brewing industry, like the 19th century potato-based Koningsbier (‘Kings beer’) or the sago beer invented by an Amsterdam bath house keeper.[1] Once in a while, a real brewer would give it a try, usually forced by circumstance. During both the First and the Second World War, Dutch brewers experimented with rice, sugar and the like. Even Heineken tried using chestnut flour and rutabagas, although this didn’t reach the stage where it was sold to consumers. Brewing with chestnut flour gave a ‘soury-smelling, very bitter tasting’ result. With the rutabagas, the entire Rotterdam brewery smelled ‘in a disgusting way’ and the beer was completely opaque.[2]