This Tuesday, the History Channel launches its newest reality show, "Dark Horse Nation."
The channel already has a lineup full of shows like "Mountain Men," "Ice Road Truckers," and "Biker Battlegrounds. "Dark Horse Nation" is kind of like those, except the characters are brewers—albeit heavily-bearded ones.
The show follows Dark Horse Brewing Co. founder Aaron Morse and his merry cohort of friends around their Marshall, Michigan brewery. There's "Wacky" (Aaron's dad) who, the show's website says, "bosses everyone around;" there's "Chappy," Aaron's childhood friend; "Cabe," the brewery's mechanic/builder/handyman; and Bryan, who apparently doesn't merit a nickname.
The show, like a lot in the reality genre, looks to be focused on inter-personal shenanigans, but anyone familiar with the brewery knows that the real star of Dark Horse is the beer. Crooked Tree IPA and the more flavorful Double Crooked Tree IPA are widely considered two of the finest IPAs on the market.
But where Aaron really excels is in pushing the boundaries of brewing with strange ingredients. These are a few of our favorites.
Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th Imperial Stout
Released each fall, this bourbon-aged stout stands apart for one reason: a secret root that goes into the mix. It's hard to tell what the root is, exactly, but this is one of the finer imperial stouts we've ever tasted (and is the only one on the list that you can still purchase). ABV: 11 percent
Louie's Long Polymer John Donut Ale
How do you make a donut ale? You add 250 donuts from Louie's Bakery, just a half mile from Dark Horse HQ. The result was a sweet, almost maple-like ale made for the Michigan Brewer's Guild Winter Festival in 2010. ABV: 7 percent
In 2011, Aaron had an idea: make a beer out of baby formula. It was a limited release, brewed specifically for the 2011 Extreme Beer Festival in 2011. ABV: 4.2 percent.