The Land of the Extremely Strong Beer
With most brewers happy to imperialize their beers to a potent 10 to 12 percent ABV, you might think that's the end of the story. After all, beer yeasts weren't supposed to survive more than 13 percent alcohol. Both Boston Beer Company (also called Sam Adams) and Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewing set out to prove the common wisdom wrong. In their arms race to the summit, they shattered old records. By the turn of the millennium both Sam Adams's Utopias and Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout were over 20 percent. The current champion, Utopias, weighs in at more than 25 percent ABV! The beer is served flat from a glass bottle shaped to resemble a copper brewing kettle. Jim Koch of Sam Adams credits his “ninja yeast” for the potentcy.
Brewing to these heights requires patience, enough yeast to ferment the world, and a shade of luck. Making them amazingly approachable and drinkable requires a deal with the devil. Multiple sugar additions and rounds of oxygenation to acclimatize the yeast to higher and higher concentrations of ethanol make the task more labor intensive, but it can yield great results.