Ever find yourself craving a dark porter or a hoppy American pale ale, but you’re at a gas station that only sells Miller Light and Bud Diesel? Mad Hops thinks it has a solution to your problems. The upstart company is in the beginning stages of a Kickstarter to launch its concentrated beer flavorings, which it claims will turn any cheap pilsner into a “craft”-style brew, like a porter or pale ale.
There are a lot of questions here, not least of which is: Why not just buy a real craft beer from a brewery? Remember that old saying, you can’t polish a turd?
Mad Hops is sold in droppers and comes in “flavors” like pale ale, Irish porter, and cherry wheat. The concept is similar to MiO, the popular water additive that turns a regular glass of tap into a flavored juice-like beverage. The product is made by concentrating hops and malt, the building blocks of beer. Squirt a couple drops of Mad Hops into the bottom of a pint glass, pour in your Miller Lite, and watch your beer completely transform…at least according to the Mad Hops video.
Mad Hops has raised almost $4,000 of its $25,000 goal so far. We’re game to give it a try—the ability to flavor-blast a Solo cup of a flat PBR at a kegger wouldn’t be the worst thing—but we’re very skeptical. The beer-making process is full of beautiful alchemy, in which different malts and brewing techniques produce not just flavor, but also body and complexity. Even if a flavor concentrate adds some porter-like chocolate notes to a light lager, can it really transform the mouthfeel and head of the brew? We’d imagine the two are as different as a juicy steak is from a bag of potato chips covered in “steak flavoring.”