Monday, April 12, 2010

Beer in the News, Super High Alcohol Beer heads to the U.S.


Super-High-Alcohol Beer heads to the U.S.

Time for some fear mongering by time magazine. OMG, beer has alcohol...

Thanks to a war among European brewing companies, it's never been easier to catch a healthy beer buzz. Or get yourself totally sloshed. In November, BrewDog, a three-year-old Scottish microbrewery, released a new brand, dubbed Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The beer set a new record by weighing in at a scary 32% alcohol by volume (ABV), more than six times the strength of familiar domestic brands like Budweiser. As explained in a cheeky video on the company's website (warning: the clip contains simulated penguin sex), the brewery was able to attain the high alcohol content by freezing the beer at a local ice cream factory, at temperatures as low as -6°C (21°F), for 21 days. Alcohol freezes at lower temperatures than water, and removing water from the solution increased the alcohol concentration.
Wow, Time compares BrewDog Tactical Nuclear Penguin to Budweiser. Why not have a taste comparison between Kraft American Cheese Singles and a chunk of Manchego.

Some alcohol-watchdog groups aren't laughing. The chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Jack Law, has blasted BrewDog's high-alcohol products as "irresponsible," especially at a time when Scotland is experiencing "severe alcohol-related problems." In December, BrewDog received a slap on the wrist from a British alcohol regulatory body, the Portman Group, which ordered that retailers pull the company's 18.2% Tokyo beer brand off shelves because of its marketing tactics. A note on the Tokyo label says, "It is all about moderation. Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. What logically follows is that you must, from time, have excess. This beer is for those times." After the beer was pulled, BrewDog came out with a 1.1% ABV brew meant to tame the critics. Its name: Nanny State.
BrewDog understands the mentality of the world now, that will try to protect you from anything that could ever hurt you, instead of letting individuals make their own decisions.

Even if these brands end up being carried by more bars and retailers, Watt firmly believes that the high prices will prohibit unsophisticated drinkers (read: high school kids at a kegger, or college students on spring break) from just picking up the stuff and chugging it. But you can't deny that if the beer becomes more widely available in stores, or if other brewers mimic BrewDog's strategy, it could become hazardous. Since most drinkers don't check the alcohol level on the label like they would the expiration date on a milk carton, an unsuspecting soul with money to spare could sip a little too much strong stuff.

"We're all for responsible consumption," Watt says. But as we all know, beer and responsibility often don't mix. So enjoy the beer wars at your own risk.
If you are lucky enough to find this beer, share it with someone. If you drink the whole thing, you will be drunk, unless you drink it really slowly, or weigh about 300+ pounds. Of course, if you drink Budweiser, and eat a lot of processed cheese type products you might be 300+ anyway.

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