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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance Booze Bombs: The beers America needs right now

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Having worked at The Maine Edge back in the mid/late 00s, I know the company policy on political columns. It is with that in mind that I make this one tiny not-really-political political observation - we Americans could use a stiff drink right about now.

Normally, when the course of human events necessitates a beverage of high-test, one would reach for the whiskey, gin, vodkaor even the schnapps. All of those would do the trick at the moment, but might I suggest a different approach to your efficient assault on the liver?

High-alcohol beer.

Being a faithful follower of the Three Pint Stance, I'm sure you are already aware of the fact that beer comes in a variety of strengths. Normally, I tend to drink beers on the mid (six percent) to low end (four percent) of the ABV (alcohol by volume) spectrum, but at the other side of that scale you find some truly delicious and potent brews.

Here are a few of my favorite high ABV styles of beer:

Russian Imperial Stout: Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) is not a Russian creation, but rather a British stout that was first brewed to be exported to the Court of Catherine II of Russia. This brew is dark as can be, has great flavors of roasted malt, coffee and chocolate with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. With all that flavor comes a heavy dose of alcohol as well. RIS usually clock in around 8-10 percent ABV, so one 16-oz. glass is about equal to two cans of your favorite pale fizzy American lager. Some favorite RIS of mine are Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Co., The Mountain by Banded Horn Brewing Co. and RIS by Stoneface Brewing.

Barley wine: The history of this big beer goes back to the ancient Greeks, who made a fermented beverage from grain, similar to how they would with grapes, and called it barley wine. Barley wine is usually big on flavor and alcohol, sometimes reaching as high as 12 percent or more! Flavors in barley wine tend to differ depending on where they were produced. Traditional British barley wine tends to be more on the red/amber side of the color spectrum and usually has very little hop flavor. American barley wines tend to be a bit lighter in color, but have a more aggressive hop bitterness. Some of my favorite barley wines are Bigfoot by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Single Batch Series Barleywine by Sebago Brewing Co and Olde School Barleywine by Dogfish Head Brewing Co.

Belgian Tripel: While not the biggest beers mentioned in this article, Belgian Tripels certainly belong here because while they usually clock in around eight percent, they are extremely drinkable for the amount of alcohol contained within. Belgian Tripel is a style first brewed by Trappist monks in France and Belgium; it really showcases the beautiful fruity esters of Belgian Trappist yeast. Tripels are known for their beautiful fruity flavors with a lingering sweetness from the cereal grains in the mash and the addition of light candy syrup. Some of my favorite Tripels are Tripel by Allagash Brewing Co., Tripel Karmelit and La Fin Du Monde by Unibroue.

In closing, I remind you to always drink responsibly, and in this case - drink efficiently!


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