Pastrami, asparagus, and pie—this is what happens when brewers get creative.

The beauty of the craft beer world is the unbridled enthusiasm to brew something that's never been tasted before. However, creating a beer with a familiar taste can be an almost greater challenge.

Take Shmaltz Brewing's new Pastrami Pilsner. Created in partnership with Barcade, an East Coast chain of game-filled craft beer bars, the Pastrami Pils grew out of the simple desire to collaborate on something adventurous. Why did they pick pastrami? That detail has been lost to empty pint glasses. But when the haze of late-night discussions cleared, brewer Richie Saunders was still up for the challenge.

"The biggest hurdle was getting each flavor into liquid form," he says. "We didn't want to just boil pastrami, because the oil and grease isn't ideal for brewing." Instead, he and his brew team picked apart a pastrami sandwich by taste, isolating ingredients to use. "The key points we hit were salt, pepper, ground caraway, horseradish, bread, an acid for the horseradish, smoked malt for meaty character, and caramel notes for bread," he explains.