We Tried It: Innis & Gunn's 'Truth-Telling Beer'
Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn's limited-edition Smoke & Mirrors brew purports to double as a truth serum. We'll see about that.
What It Is: Innis & Gunn’s “Truth-Telling Beer,” Smoke and Mirrors
Who Tried It: Alex Heigl, PEOPLE Associate Editor
Here is a small fact about me: I love to lie. I lie to everyone. I lie to bartenders, coworkers, my parents, birds outside my window and most cats. I once spoke with a modified Matthew McConaughey accent for the entirety of a Tinder date, solely because I could, knowing I would never see this person again.
Here is a list of people I would not lie to:
You will note my mother is not on that list. I’m sorry, Mom, but you didn’t make Lemonade. Rihanna very nearly made it, but I would say literally anything in the world to enhance my chances of getting physically or emotionally close to Rihanna, so I’m sorry, Rihanna, but I would lie to you.
With that background, know that I am currently drinking Innis & Gunn‘s Smoke and Mirrors limited-edition beer. (Yes, it’s 12:30 on a Wednesday. No, that is not relevant.)
I was offered a sample of Smoke & Mirrors with the promise that it’s a Scottish truth-telling beer. I’ve not known many Scotsmen in my time, but apparently they’re a straight-talkin’ folk. Per the back of this beer bottle: “No lies will pass the drinker’s lips after the first sip.”
I have consumed one-quarter of this beer, and I just texted my ex that I missed her. That is a lie. Advantage, me.
Innis & Gunn has brewed Smoke & Mirrors with several different elements that reportedly encourage truth-telling: Licorice root, which apparently improves cognitive functions; mullein, a natural relaxant that encourages open and honest behavior; and vine essence. It’s also matured for 77 days, which seems a truthful number? I know nothing about numerology. (That is the truth.)
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The last of those ingredients is most interesting to me. Per Innis & Gunn: “[Vine essence] is for people who know their own minds and are certain of their ability. It helps the drinker to inspire or lead people, without force.” I am certain of my ability, but I also love using force to inspire and/or lead people, which leaves me in quite a quandary.
Update: I have consumed half the bottle and am still successfully lying to people.
Perhaps most importantly, Innis & Gunn reportedly sent bottles of Smoke & Mirror to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, “reminding them of the importance of truthful campaigning as they battle it out to become the country’s next leader.” Considering the debates are coming up, we’ll see about that.
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Three-quarters of the bottle consumed. Another lie, to you, the reader: I am so happy. So, so happy and fulfilled as a person. I do not watch home videos of myself as a child while listening to Miles Davis’ soundtrack to L’ascenseur pour L’échafaud and cry myself to sleep four out of five nights of the work week.
Here is some real, unfiltered truth, however: This is delicious beer. It’s malty and caramel-y and the licorice adds just enough bite to differentiate it from the overcrowded chocolate/coffee stout scrum of beers. Innis & Gunn know what they’re doing.
The Verdict: At 7.4% ABV and with enough complexity to merit many, many tastes, Smoke & Mirrors might not have clinically proven truth-telling powers, but drink enough of them and you’ll be speaking some version of the truth to the powerful, the weak and literally everyone in between.
Now leave me alone. I have so many people to lie to and so little time.