Things Beer Geeks Like

from theweeklybrew

Stunt Beers

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The long history of stunt beers in the US goes back to the days of the BMC wars, but don’t tell a beer geek that, they love their stunt beers after all.

So what is a stunt beer? A stunt beer, also known as extreme beer, is a beer that pushes the boundaries of what we call beer. Initially “extreme” was used by Jim Koch to discribe his high alcohol triple bock, and the name has stuck mostly to extremely high abv beers since. Stunt brewing goes further back then that though. Ever since brewing began people have experimented. A stunt beer though is one that’s brewed with the marketing in mind. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this are the ice beers of BMC, and the disastrous clear beer (which Coors may try to revive). Heck, a Japanese beer even brewed with ingredients grown in space. Now though we are above such petty stunt beers right? We are refined and cultured and no longer brew for shock value or just to generate buzz?

Craft beer has a great history with stunt beers, many of which have become standards in the US. Take bourbon barrel beers…. Or any other barrel beer for that matter. When these beers first came out they were big news. The press, and beer geeks, droned on about the apparent throw back to brewings roots. They busted out their brandy snifters and bellied up to the bar paying sometimes the price of a sixer for just one 4oz taste. Never mind that when brewers aged their beers in the old days they didn’t want huge amounts of wood and spirit flavors in their beers. Now though Barrel aged beers are standards, even if they still are slightly on the extreme side. In fact they’ve gone the way of light beers in the sense that they are just trying to out gimmick other barrel aged beers now.

Another area stunt beers have gone is into the history books. Stunt Brewers will bring in an anthropologist often times, but will also tout the knowledge of a amature historian if it makes their beer seem more authentic. After much research, a brewer will claim to have a recipe for beer that was brewed to taste the same as what such and such culture drank back in such and such time. Amazingly these historical beers often taste similar to modern beers. This is another thing beer geeks don’t admit. After all, in their minds their sipping on the same stuff a Persian king might have. Interestingly we have very little in the way of knowledge for brewing historical beers. Our barley’s and hops have changed character, our yeasts have mutated, and we don’t even know the original abv since alcohol is often the first thing to evaporate from ancient samples.

Still though, even with all our knowledge of beer, stunt beers are huge. Take the recent release of Atlantic IPA from BrewDog for example. They took a beer from a “historical recipe”, put it in barrels, tied them on a mackerel trawler, and shipped across to the US where the casks were blended, and then bottled. This beer is being touted as the first ocean aged beer in 200 years, and get this, it sells for $26 a bottle retail. Some people have picked apart the idea of this being a true historical beer, but the beer geek community is going ape poo over this.

In a culture dominated by the desire to be different, to be unique, beer geeks and their beer are no different.

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2 Responses to “Things Beer Geeks Like”

  1. Qui Sait? says:

    These beers just sound like trends/fads and gimmicks. What does “geek” have to do with it? I don’t get it.

  2. Jared says:

    It’s a continuing series I’ve started doing on Fridays. It was inspired in part by conversations on beer blogs combined with sites like BeerAdvocate. Just thought I’d have fun laughing at some of the things “craft beer” drinkers do. Here’s links to the others.

    http://www.theweeklybrew.com/tag/things-beer-geeks-like/
    http://www.theweeklybrew.com/2009/09/things-bmc-drinkers-like//

    If you go look up some of the beers I described on BeerAdvocate you’ll see that their well respected beers. At least all the ones not in the first paragraph. People really get fired up about these beers, and it’s kinda entertaining.

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