I love beer; good, strong beer; big, alcoholic beer; the right beer for the right occasion: ales, IPAs, ambers, stouts, Belgians, reds, porters, beers that only taste good with limes in them, Coors Light on the shore of a hot lake, and the rest. Except hefeweizen. Hefeweizen is just not for me.
I was living in San Francisco during the height of the great craft brewery alcohol percentage race of the last decade. What a time to be alive. It was like Sosa and McGwire in ’98, with as many microbreweries popping up as home runs blasted, and as frequently, spreading the same energy and excitement for the industry to the masses, each one-upping the hops, and the alcohol.
I remember a comical moment at one San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala, walking from one booth to the next. “Here try our double IPA…” Next booth. “Try our triple IPA…” Next booth. “We make a quadruple IPA, you gotta try…” The way it was going I figured by now they’d be saying, “You should try our double to the power of twelve IPA…” and then pour three ounces of 190 proof Everclear. “It’s dry hopped.”
For a brief, hard-to-remember while I would choose my beer at a restaurant by running my finger along the percentage column on the beer list at find the strongest one. A nine-point-six unfiltered red amber in the style of a California IPA… And I’ve never heard of the brewery, but I hear San Dimas is doing great things with beer these days.
We’d have a barbecue and put a couple of six packs of our favorite beers, all ridiculously strong, in the cooler, and have a few 22’s of something special in the fridge. It was great.
Then I became a dad – still great; different great. I still loved beer, more so even, but I couldn’t spend all day on the deck barbecuing with my friends while drinking seven-plus percenters. It was good timing. Breweries started offering Session IPA’s. The beer would taste close to their IPA, like an over-hopped pale ale, but only be five percent.
Since then, the selling power of the “Session IPA” seems to have diminished and the amount of microbreweries has leveled off, and there are some amazing beers out there of all alcohol percentages.
On the Dad Awkward podcast I will be featuring Dad Beer: tasty, low percentage brews.
Drink responsibly, so you don’t have to stop drinking beer at family barbecues.