Unless you've been living in a cardboard box under the I-10 overpass I'm sure you've heard about what is being labeled the High ABV Arms Race. I don't know exactly who is labeling it that(it could be just me) but it sounded good.
Anyways, Scottish punk brewery Brewdog recently released a beer called End Of History which is a 55% abv powerhouse that comes wrapped in the body of road kill. Yes, I said road kill. See picture below:
These are the same guys who released Tactical Nuclear Penguin last year at a whopping 32% abv and equally whopping $100 price. $100 sounds like chump change now. End Of History retailed at approximately $700. Granted they only had 11 bottles for sale but damn. No beer geek I know can afford that. Actually Vasu probably could but not sure he would. Or would he? They also released Sink The Bizmark which came in at 41% abv.
Well, now some Danish brewery called 't Koelschip just released Start the Future. Get it? End of History? Start the Future? Funny right. This beer is supposedly coming in at 60% ABV. What. The. Shit.
All of this posturing got me thinking. What's the point? The average person isn't really going to have an opportunity to actually drink these beers. I like the marketing behind the End of History. Beer bottles shoved up the ass of a squirrel will always make me laugh but seriously though, what's the point? The ABVs of these beers are way too high in my opinion. Beer was never supposed to be that high in alcohol hence the reason why you can't actually make beer this high in alcohol without using a distillation process which makes people question whether or not it's actually even beer. What's the point?
In my opinion the only reason for any of this is for two reasons:
1) Because they can. It seems to me these guys are a bunch of guys just trying to bend boundaries which is fine with me. Go ahead bend them. That's how companies like Dogfish Head got its start. Brewing beer that no one else brewed. But 60% abv? Come on, there has to be limits. Doesn't there? And don't get me wrong I love Brewdog beers but man this is just crazy.
2) Publicity. The internet is buzzing about this war of ABVs. Any news is positive news right? I have friends on Facebook emailing me right and left asking me if I've heard of these beers. And these people aren't even interested in beer. They are now.
But amidst all the hype I have to admit I'm actually becoming more interested in session beers. In the "my dick is bigger than your dick" analogy think of a session beer as the dude with a medium size dong but can last hours. I'm not sure why I'm putting beer and penis' in the same blog post but I am. Weird.
But seriously, fellow beer blogger(and overall beer bad ass) Lew Bryson has an entire site dedicated to the love of session beers called The Session Beer Project. On the site he defines session beers as: lower than 4.5% abv, flavorful enough to be interesting, balanced enough for multiple pints, conducive to conversation and reasonably priced. How could you not agree with any of these?
In the end this is what beer is all about right? Drinking numerous, flavorful pints and conversing with friends. It is a social lubricant if you will. Generally when I'm hanging out at Avenue Pub on Friday nights for our weekly Beeradvocate Pint Night I'll have three beers and I'm done. I know my limits. And it's great. Session beers are where it's at folks. It's just not newsworthy. And that's too bad.
The Beer Buddha