After decades of beers with an ABV of approximately 5%, we’ve become quite accustomed to this low rated standard. When brands like Corona, with just .5% higher ABV than most other brews, came onto the market regularly people were impressed. However, they were nowhere near as impressed as they are with some of the new craft beers on the market today, which can sport an ABV of 10% and higher! While one might say “High ABV beer is pointless, if I want a shot, I’ll take a shot”, this mentality does not really look at the bigger picture.
Simply put, craft beer is not the same as hard liquor like bourbon, whiskey, and other such spirits. The effects are different as is the taste and, yes, the recovery time involved. However, there are even less obvious things that make the two types of alcohol different. One shot takes approximately one second to drink. There is no way you are going to drink a pint of excellent craft beer as quickly and you’ll spend far more time talking with the bartender and people around you while consuming it!
Yes, we’re suggesting that the social aspect of high ABV beer is a large part of the gain in popularity. Why? People love to discuss products that they like. In a taproom setting, this is very much true, as the patrons tend to talk about the different brews and compare them. Sure, they spend a good amount of time telling tales about their family, friends, and adventures as well. However, discussion of the brews on tap is inevitable in craft beer taprooms, with many enthusiasts talking about the many breweries they have visited and comparing them with others’ experiences. This, in turn, leads to discussions about value and quality, two other very important factors to the popularity of these brews.
Value is something we all look for when purchasing any product and this is certainly true of the craft beers available on the market. While a great craft beer at a tap room could cost you more initially, the quality of the brew is going to add up quickly. The flavor and texture of craft beer is different than that of the standard, cheaper beer on the shelves at your local grocery store. This leads to you drinking the beer slower in order to fully taste it. Many craft beers have a taste that develops and changes as you drink them, much like wine, thus they cannot be fully appreciated when you slam them down quickly.
In fact, drinking high ABV beer quickly will leave you with only the main flavor to remember! This is especially noticed with barrel aged brews, as they possess a variable amount of layers to their taste. While they may have a front-end caramel flavor, that can slowly change in your mouth! That caramel front-end may slowly turn into a bourbon burn and then a smooth and creamy chocolate aftertaste that you will entirely miss by drinking it too fast.
High ABV beer requires a slower consumption rate. This extends the time spent tasting a flight or even just enjoying one crowler. We all know that a high ABV means a faster “buzz”. For those who are there to try new brews, this means they have to slow down considerably in order to enjoy all of the different brews available! This is why craft beers are able to command a higher price, as the quality and value far exceeds cheaper brews and one crowler is likely to last as long as 5-6 of its counterparts. Overall, you actually spend less and enjoy it far more!
Although this is just one view on why these brews are gaining so much popularity, it is hard to deny that the quality and multi-layered taste of high ABV beer provides one heck of a value, making it the perfect choice for a day of social interaction at your local taproom.