This script is from the second season of Beer Notes, which you can listen to at beernotes.org.

The Brewers Association announced in early April a new addition to their Beer Style Guidelines for 2019: The Glitter Beer. Typically an addition like this would not be made in such haste but, their spokesperson Lisa Frank said, they wanted to add a little sparkle to their beer style guidelines.

It was only an April Fools joke, but the Glitter Beer IS a real thing that took off in early 2018. This week on Beer Notes, we’re talking about the sparkly, shimmery and controversial glitter beer.

By most accounts, glitter beer seems to have popped up out of nowhere, but Madeleine McCarthy of Oregon’s Sasquatch Brewery was one of the first. She wanted to give her New England IPA a little something extra, so she did some experimenting and ended up with a hazy, swirling and shimmery New England IPA called Gold Dust Woman.

The biggest ‘pro’ to the glitter beer is that it looks cool and knows how to get attention. The type of glitter used in the brewing process is the finest non-toxic form of glitter known as “dust.” It does not affect the beer’s taste or texture, and is used for appearance purposes only.

There are nay-sayers, however. Non-toxic glitter is said to be safe to ingest, but most are made from a combination of Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Carmine and Mica. The FDA advises against the use of non-toxic glitter in food and drink, unless the label specifically states “edible.” And not all of them do.

It’s also expensive. Putting glitter in a ten-gallon batch of craft beer would cost you at least a couple hundred dollars or more, depending on how sparkly you want that beer to be. It also settles after awhile, and brewers are still developing ways to keep the glitter afloat for longer.

Glitter beer is no joke, even if it hasn’t been added to the beer style guidelines just yet. Some say it’s gimmicky and others say that it’s creative and cool– but no matter how you feel about glitter beer, it’s definitely sparking attention. For Beer Notes, this is Anne Neely.

Cover image by Jeff Alworth on Flickr.

Kristin Helf
Author: Kristin Helf

Kristin is a writer and picture-taker in Ocean City, Maryland. She likes puppies, pumpkin ales and watching movies for the Ocean City Film Festival in her spare time.

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