Chris Brook-Carter

Easy as abv

By: Chris Brook-Carter - 10 September 2003 18:53

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A few months ago we ran a news piece about the launch of a beer in the UK that claimed to be the world's strongest ale. The report caused some consternation on a couple of fronts. First there were the inevitable counter claims from those who came up with alternative and stronger beer brands that actually hold the title. The other collection of emails we got fell under the "moral indignation" umbrella which questioned the responsibility of the retailer and producer of such a brand - could its purpose be anything other than to get the consumer absolutely blind drunk?
At only £6 a can, at 23% abv and in 300ml cans, they had a point.
Well news fell on the just-drinks desk today of an even stronger beer.
Brewed by the US-based Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams Utopias, a collection of "extreme beer" come in at 25% abv.
However, these are an altogether different animal and really do add something to the beer category. I remember talking to Stewart Gilliland last year while he was still the head of Interbrew UK about his hopes for a £10 bottled beer brand. Well these retail at an amazing US$100 a bottle. They have been aged for roughly two years in Bourbon, Scotch, Cognac and Port barrels and are packaged in a kettle-shaped, copper-coloured bottles.
These are drinks for the connoisseur and I hope they succeed because they add value and excitement to a category that desperately needs both.
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