Thursday, July 29, 2010

Much to write...but first, a comment on "The World's Strongest Beer"

I need to write up my visit to Chicago's Metropolitan Brewing. I need to write up a guide to the three lagers they brew, because here at OMG Beer! we've been neglecting lagers for too long. Beer can be subtle and still delicious and worthy of the exclamation, OMG BEER!

I also need to write up some reviews, mention AlphaBeer III from a couple of weeks ago, and some new releases. The world of beer doesn't stop just because of work.

But, first, I must comment on this "World's Strongest Beer" thing. BrewDog, of Scotland, makes some pretty good beer. First, it was Tactical Nuclear Penguin, at 32% ABV. Then, Sink the Bismarck! at 41%. Now, it's The End of History, at 55% ABV. They've been going head to head with some other breweries, and it is recently claimed they've been eclipsed by a Dutch brewery, with a 60% ABV beer, Start the Future.

This is all just ridiculous. It's started flame wars on Beer Advocate and other beer forums. Brewdog lashed out at the "haters." First off, people seem upset that there's a huge marketing angle to the creation of The End of History. So what? Craft breweries need to market their product just as much as anyone else, especially in a world where they're still only about 5% of the beer market, and SABMiller and In-Bev have huge budgets to throw into beer commercials with sex appeal and humor and dude-bro-ness that tells your subconscious drinking this beer will give you all of those things in massive quantities. Clever marketing moves should be applauded. Then, there's people that question whether beer needs to be this strong. What a strange question. Name a liquor and its average ABV% and you're likely in that range with vodka, tequila, whiskey, bourbon, gin, rum, and so on. If you can sip the best of those, you can sip a beer at that level as well. In theory at least.

This entire debate should be measured with that in mind. Can you drink it? Is it palatable? If it is, then by all means, let us prove to the world that beer is so versatile, you can drink it at 4% ABV AND at 40% ABV. I'll admit that my initial response to the press release started with disdain. But, it ends with this thought - if it's delicious, it's worth brewing.

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