I joined some friends at their house for a gaming day 2 weeks ago, and it also turned it into a beer day, seeing as they had a remarkably diverse beer warehouse just down the road. The variety of styles and tastes from around the country and world was fantastic, but my main focus was on the special little bottle that I’d brought myself from halfway across the globe – a 67.5% Scottish brew known as Snake Venom that is currently the world’s strongest beer. Bringing this small but mighty beer from the British Isles to a worthy group of appreciators has been a 6-month quest for me.
I remember early 2010 when I was in the UK and a fierce battle to produce the world’s strongest beer was being fought by British and Germany brewers in what appeared to be something akin to World War III. The Brits came out with Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32%, then the Germans retaliated with Schorschbock at 40%, but the Brits dealt a death blow with Sink The Bismarck at 41% (quite a clever name, too, I thought). This whole battle was a good 4 years ago and clearly I’d missed a little in between because when I scouted the positions again late in 2013, it turned out that some horrendous beer in taxidermied animals had been defeated by the newly crowned “world’s strongest beer” named Armageddon at 65%. I wanted to buy one but procrastinated for a few weeks, which was fortunate because, in those few weeks, they’d stopped shipping Armageddon and started shipping Snake Venom at 67.5%, which is now the latest “world’s strongest beer”. It only shipped to Europe, but as fortune would have it, I was planning my surprise visit to my UK friends over New Year’s Eve.
I had it shipped to a UK friend, anticipating a royal celebration when I met them for New Year’s Eve, but he forgot to bring it (causing my to slandered his name ferociously under my breath). Fortunately, another UK friend was visitting New York a month later, so I asked them to bring it and patiently bided my time while fretting that it might get lost or broken in transit. The moment that I wrapped my hand around the small, 250 ml bottle, my heart did a little jump as the anticipation of those few months was fulfilled. The special warning sticker advised that this ridiculous beer should only be sipped in small amounts, so I bought a few plastic shot glasses in preparation. My only task then was to find a suitable group and occasion to unveil this savage delight.
We gathered around, poured our 7 little shots, toasted each other and then allowed the deathly syrup to roll down our tongues. The possibility of it tasting nice was never in question, but I was curious to see just how bad it would be. In truth, it was not even that bad. I’ve had 10% beers that tasted much worse. It didn’t burn either, like whiskey and other spirits do that are a mere 38%. We went back for second helpings and we didn’t even stumble after finishing it off. I guess it was more snake and less venom.
Visual history of strongest beer – http://www.gizmag.com/brewdogs-55-abv-beer-the-strongest-and-most-expensive-beer-in-history/15798/picture/118114/
Brewdog’s history and their funny videos – http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/the-battle-to-brew-the-worlds-strongest-ever-beer