It All Started With A Tactical Nuclear Penguin

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I was reading an old (and by old, I mean “mid May”) issue of Time magazine this morning and stumbled across an article about the current battle to create the highest alcohol by volume beer.

I’m always interested in learning about the newest, latest and greatest in food & beverage trends – especially because I think it’s important to be armed with this information when providing guidance on things like catering (and beverage options) to clients.

The general gist of the article is that back in November a Scottish brewery, BrewDog, developed a beer (the fantastically named Tactical Nuclear Penguin) with an alcohol by volume of 32%. Not wanting to be outdone, German brewer Schorschbrau created their own 40% brew – the Schorschbock- in response. The battle continued with BrewDog firing back with their epic 41% Sink the Bismark! (note the irony) and Schorschbrau creating their own even more crazy 43% stout (unfortunately, no cool name).

Image from The Hammer

All of this back / forth is way too Beerfest for me, but my main curiosity is about why creating a high alcohol by volume brew is such an incentive.

According to Time, “A warning label on the Tactical Nuclear Penguin bottle does state, ‘This is an extremely strong beer; it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. It is exactly the same manner you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost.’ ”

Does this mean that sipping a beer has become something akin to sipping a fine Scotch?

I’m curious to see how this trend pans out – and if we’ll see flights of “sipping beers” make the rounds on the event circuit.

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