We're starting to see a little bit of a trend forming at the moment whereby a brewery will take one of their well know beers, basically double the strength of it and release it as a limited edition, special beer. I don't see this as a hard thing to do. Upping the abv of a beer is an easy task for an experienced brewer. Charging twice as much for the beer, at the end of the day, is a bit of a marketing ploy. And a clever one at that, don't get me wrong!
Let's look at some of the recent examples that've come through the shop over the past few months:
William's Brothers Joker & Double Joker
Buxton Imperial Black & Battle Horse
Buxton Axe Edge & Double Axe
Ilkley Mary Jane & Mary Jane IPA
Pressure Drop Bosko & Bosko Absoluto
Magic Rock Cannonball & Un Human Cannonball
I'm sure there are more, but asked for the beer I'm drinking right now; It's that well talked about Jaipur X. It's a beer they brewed to celebrate their 10th birthday, and rightly so, I'm not saying don't celebrate. What I will say is though that I personally think there's about 75% of these amped-up beers that don't work because of their increased abvs..! They seem too big for their own good. The alcohol masks the flavours with a prickly warming heat which distracts from what the beer was in the first place.
I can foresee a few coming in the current year as well...
Siren Soundwave & Ultrasonic
Weird Beard 5 O'clock Shadow & 10 O'clock Shadow
Beavertown Gamma Ray & Quasar Beam
Wild Beer Co Madness & Beyond Madness
Red Willow Ageless & Deathless
Roosters Baby Faced Assassin & Babygesichtige Attentäter
Ok, maybe these are a bit far fetched, but are they though?? I think the problem lies in the fact that if you have such a good beer to begin with, why would you want to mess with it? When you have a beer that's so well know, so well loved, there's going to be a few things to happen when you make it stronger..
On the one hand you're going to get the beer nerd die hards who'll say yeah, it's good, but it's not as good as the original. Hashtag 'not my beer!' totes..
On another hand you'll get people saying, yeah it's really good, I really like it, but it's completely different.. Why didn't they just package it as something else...
And then you'll have the beige group who'll just stump at the cash without having an opinion because it's what everyone else is buying.
For me it's not progression.. Of course you should, and need to pay homage to the past, but it's not moving forward. Love the beers you've made, respect them, keep them alive and move on. It's not forgetting them! Jaipur X is a really nice beer, (go out and buy it, you should!) but I'd prefer a pint of regular Jaipur and set my lustful eye on their Bamberg Smoked Bock that's coming out soon. That for me is progression.