Three beer festivals in three weeks with another around the corner. One question that always comes up at festivals is, “Which of your beers has the most alcohol in it?” It is important to address this question for two reasons. One, nothing is intrinsically better about a beer because it is higher in alcohol than another. In fact, someone could lie about the ABV of a beer simply to favorably influence an opinion about an otherwise flawed beer. Second, “craft beer” is not synomymous with high ABV brews. Craft brewers strive to brew historical styles according to their cultural origin. Yes, sometimes that means brewing a high ABV ale, but only in terms of its stylistic criteria. Most ales are low abv, in
the 3.5-5% range. Much to people’s suprise, the majority of Altitude’s beers are low ABV.
This issue is important because any misrepresentation of beer style is detrimental to the healthy growth of the craft beer industry. Brewing out of style, specifically boosting ABV on styles, misreprenets the historical style born in a unique brewing culture. If craft beer becomes synonymous with getting drunk quick, then we have failed to distinguish ourselves from the most base elements of the alcohol industry.