There must be something in the genetic makeup of beer brewers that requires them to constantly test the limits and push the boundaries of their craft. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the unofficial competition between some brewers to brew the biggest, baddest, most alcoholic extreme beer ever, the most recent winner clocking in at 65% ABV. I'm all for innovation, but do you think these brewers getting a little too extreme?A recent article on Weekly Pint points out that this whole contest actually started back in 1994 with Sam Adam's Triple Bock. That beer was a mere 18% ABV, which seems almost tame by today's standards. Sam Adam's Utopia series (27% ABV), BrewDog's End of the World (famously sold in a taxidermied squirrel, 55% ABV), and Schorschbrau's Armageddon (65% ABV), have just continued to push the upper limits of both alcohol and beer itself.
These beers are the extreme end of extreme beers, however. They are sold in such limited quantities that very few of us will ever get a chance to try any of them, myself included. But the alcohol level of even the average craft brew has definitely been creeping upward in the last decade. Barleywines, double IPAs, and imperial stouts with ABVs of 10-12% crowd out their more more mundane counterparts on shelves as brewers redefine and reimagine the definition of beer.