By now you must have heard the good news; Doctors everywhere are recommending 2 to 3 glasses of wine or beer per day. It so happens, that beer is both delicious and nutritious, so I couldn’t agree more! If you happen to be a large person you may have up to 4 glasses per day, and when it comes to beer consumption I tend to place myself squarely in that category. Hey hey hey!
But if we are to be honest with ourselves, we will need to ask 2 very important questions;
1. How large a glass are we talking about here? I happen to like my 20oz Nonic Tumbler
2. How potent is the beer? Alcohol By Volume (ABV) ranges from between 3.5% - 15% and sometimes well beyond.
A 3rd question might be; what food are you pairing with your beer?
The preceding questions are not the point of this article, but they do come into play to help illustrate the inner-hidden dangers of belting down a few seemingly innocent brews that are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing…a hangover in waiting.
All’s well when you’re getting into the stuff you’re very familiar with or the stuff clearly labeled, plus where you understand the quantity of the beer you’re about to consume. But what about the brew you order on tap or the beer without an ABV on the label? Therein lays the delicious danger.
1. Maine Beer Company’s Lil One is one deceptively strong ale! Oh, you might guess by its deep brawny body that you’ll be getting something with a bit of a kick, but once you smell and taste it you begin to assume your eyes are deceiving you. It’s got flavor all right! And you might figure Lil One (deceptively named) could be in the 6.5%-7.5% ABV range, but you would’ve figured wrong. This bad boy weighs in at a potent 9.1% ABV. Two 16.9oz bottles is all it takes to land you above the legal limit. So be wary and careful with this Lil One.
2. Long Trail’s Double Bag. An Altbier (Old Beer) is a German-style top-fermented Ale. Aged a bit longer in the fermentation tank, an Altbier is a well-rounded and balanced brew. Traditional Alts range from between 4.2% and 6% ABV. An Alt may become a “Sticke” when it brewed with an extra dose of malt and sugars. Think of it as an amped up version of the Alt.
Double Bag might be listed as a “Sticke” because it weighs in at 7.2% ABV, yet the alcoholic content is very well disguised beneath a very smooth, rounded body and sweet fruity taste. I absolutely LOVE this beer, but am no longer surprised by a dull, thrumping head the morning after 4 of these sneaky little devils.
3. Clown Shoes Eagle Claw Fist. This Red Ale comes off as fruity, with sweet caramel, flowery hops, citrusy, grassy and grainy, but alcoholic? Not in my mind…not until I inhaled and exhaled deeply after polishing off a bottle of this “easy-drinker”. My my, where did this boozy breath come from? Had someone slipped me a shot of vodka?
4. Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale. Ok, this Saison is brewed under their “Big Beer Series” label but, the booziness is well-hidden deep beneath the crisp citrusy, earthy, grassy flavors. There’s no way of knowing there’s a 8.2% ABV trickster lurking beneath, waiting to move your barstool when you stand to make sure your legs still work.
5. While not at all a “Big” beer by today’s standards, Pretty Things American Darling (7% ABV) might be one of the most deceptively delicious brews in New England. It’s an American Pale Lager. There’s an image of a lawn mower on the label. Perhaps that the lawn appears over-grown and there’s no apparent path left by the mower blades, might lead you conclude the owner may have downed a few American Darlings and just wandered off to dose on the hammock just out of the scene.
So before you dive into that 2nd or 3rd “glass” of that beer you’re holding, do a little research 1st, or stand on one leg. Close your eyes. Arms spread, fingers pointing…