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

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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.

Jim Watt, one of BrewDog's co-founders, says that some 400 bottles of Tactical Nuclear Penguin are in the process of being shipped to a few stores in California and New York City, including a Whole Foods location; about half of the consumers buying beer from the BrewDog website are from the U.S. Watt's eyes are clearly fixed on the American market. "We're keen to push the envelope," he says, "and challenge people's perceptions of how beer can be enjoyed." (See pictures of Denver, Beer Country.)

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."

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. (See how Americans are spending now.)

The drinking games continued in February when a German brewer, Schorschbrau, released a 40% ABV beer called Schorschbock. The BrewDog boys fired back a few weeks later with high-octane concoction Sink the Bismarck!, which checks in at 41%, enough to reclaim the "world's strongest beer" mantle (the name is a not-so-subtle reference to the famous German battleship deployed during World War II). (Comment on this story.)

For now, Sink the Bismarck! is only available for purchase on BrewDog's website, and the 500 or so bottles that BrewDog has produced are already sold out. Watt promises that more are on the way. Because of the painstaking process involved with producing such a strong drink, an 11.2-oz. bottle of Sink the Bismarck! costs some $60, minus shipping. Tactical Nuclear Penguin costs about $53 a bottle, and can also be ordered online. (See reviews of 50 American wines.)

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.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1978705,00.html#ixzz0kuF2v8BS


Refusing to use the spellchick!

I have put you on ignore. No really, I have, but you are still ruining my enjoyment of this site. .

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Canada
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Cool. A new beer to try! :thumbs:


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The Great Canadian to Texas Transfer Timeline:

2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

2/24/2010 - Packet Delivered to VSC

2/26/2010 - VSC Cashed Filing Fee

3/04/2010 - NOA1 Received!

8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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Seems quite contradictory. The prohibitive cost of the high alcohol content beer caters to the more sophisticated market. However, this doesn't seem like the sort of draught that more high brow beer drinker would consume, more like what a binge drinking freshman in university would drink. Seems like charging $50 a bottle for some supercharged carlsberg elephant.

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You would spend $53 plus on a bottle of beer???

Not necessarily, but if it was offered up....


nfrsig.jpg

The Great Canadian to Texas Transfer Timeline:

2/22/2010 - I-129F Packet Mailed

2/24/2010 - Packet Delivered to VSC

2/26/2010 - VSC Cashed Filing Fee

3/04/2010 - NOA1 Received!

8/14/2010 - Touched!

10/04/2010 - NOA2 Received!

10/25/2010 - Packet 3 Received!

02/07/2011 - Medical!

03/15/2011 - Interview in Montreal! - Approved!!!

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Perhaps happy hours will give TNP half its price. :P

I was in first year college when I read a Catholic mag that wrote about the concentration of ethanol in wines, spirits, and beers. I told myself never to drink whisky. That was seven years ago. Until now, I still haven't tried whisky.


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Filed: Other Country: United Kingdom
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You don't need high alcohol for a beer to taste good.

German lagers vary between 5% and 7% (for Oktoberfest brews) and most of them taste way better than the Domestic US lagers (even those with similar alcohol contents). Budweiser and Miller taste like #######, because they have something like 15 ingredients in them (including rice - which is why they taste watery).

Only good thing about beer in the US, aside from the fact that the US has a lot of microbrew places that are very good, is that you can find pubs that sell the European stuff; and you aren't stuck with the kinds of $hit they serve in UK pubs.

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Filed: Other Country: Afghanistan
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You don't need high alcohol for a beer to taste good.

German lagers vary between 5% and 7% (for Oktoberfest brews) and most of them taste way better than the Domestic US lagers (even those with similar alcohol contents). Budweiser and Miller taste like #######, because they have something like 15 ingredients in them (including rice - which is why they taste watery).

Only good thing about beer in the US, aside from the fact that the US has a lot of microbrew places that are very good, is that you can find pubs that sell the European stuff; and you aren't stuck with the kinds of $hit they serve in UK pubs.

Explain?

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Filed: Other Country: United Kingdom
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Brewery pubs like Wetherspoons - that have put traditional country pubs out of business and offer a shite, standardised range of domestically brewed, "imported" lagers like Carling, Fosters, Stella Artois, Kronenbourg etc. and the real ale they serve isn't much cop either.

That said, I will be first to admit that us Brits have lost our sense of taste as far as beer is concerned - people seem to judge the quality of beer by how cheap it is and how much alcohol it contains.

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