Brewers seem to have been putting odd things in beer for ever, anyone who regularly drinks Belgian beers will have come across their Framboise and Kreik styles, with raspberry and cherry respectively. Blackberries seem to figure fairly frequently too, and apricots and peaches, all of which give a distinct fruitiness to the beer and are quite acceptable to the average palette. Even us British are not averse to adding the odd special ingredient or two, ginger for example, or chocolate and orange in stout which seem to work ok. It's when the brewer gets a bit over experimental that things can get weird.
Yesterday's reminiscences included Blackmoor 'Banana Madness', definitely an acquired taste, or even Charles Wells 'Banana Bread Beer' equally strange and a beer that one barman I know could not pull because it set off his allergy to the fruit. I recall coming across a Devon brewery at a local festival, I think it was Suttons, who brewed a mint beer - it was like drinking toothpaste! The list is endless, if it grows, someone somewhere will stick it in a beer. Several breweries chuck lemons in their beer, to a greater or lesser degree of success. Others use toffee, or coffee for flavouring.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes I think these beers do work. Wapping 'Orange and Black Pepper' is up there in my top ten list of beers, and Coach House (whose beer I am not generally a fan of) brew an excellent 'Blueberry', but go for the 5% one not the 4.4%. In fact, looking at my beer lists, both these breweries have used all sorts of different fruits to make beer but neither were a patch on one local brewer for inventiveness with all things market garden.
If you came across a Kitchen beer, it was once tried never forgotten. They were never that easy to find in Huddersfield but I came across a few on my travels, including those made with parsley, carrot, potato, apple and gooseberry, and they were just the tip of the iceberg (the Titanic thingy not the lettuce!). Onion, turnip, parsnip and celery were also all used in the beer. It only brewed for 5 years, between 1996-2001 but has left an indelible mark on the tastebuds of local drinkers. Never to be forgotten.