Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Take It To the Limit

Last week I was perched on a bar stool at the Lionheart. Jerry, the pub's owner, has been nice enough to keep a list of the pub's draughts above the back bar. The name of each beer is hand-written in a doodle-ly script, along with its state or country of origin and its alcohol by volume percentage. Everything a dyed-in-the-wool beer drinker needs. Sitting there, examining the list, it occurred to me that during my stops down to pub after work, do I rarely—and I mean rarely—order a pint that is stronger than 7%, and what's more, I never order the next pint at that same strength—the next one is always lower. Mind you, my stops are usually capped at two pints, anyhow.

This post has nothing to do with The Eagles.
Ideally, when at the pub, I look for beers that range in the 5 to 6% range, but those beers are harder to come by. Occasionally they get in something a bit more sessionable, but most of the Lionheart's standard beers range between 6 and 7.5%.  I say standard because the pub usually offers four to six, usually pricey and strong, speciality beers, like North Coast's Old Rasputin or others of the same ilk.

This 7% cap has also seemed to seep into my beery buying habits away from the pub, as well. The bottles of beer chilling in my fridge or sleeping in my basement all seem to hover at, or below, the mid-strength level of 6 to 7%. It seems that my beery comfort zone has a magic number of 6.5%. Don't get me wrong, I love a big Barley Wine, Imperial Stout or Belgian Triple, I just don't love them that often.

I don't think it has anything to do with the flavor of those styles, either. I think what keeps me reigned in, is their fuzzy after effects. A pint after work is, usually, just what the doctor ordered. A hour or so to not just enjoy a beer but to decompress after the day's stresses. But, with a wife who works as hard, or even harder than I do, and two little kids waiting for their dinner—not to mention Little League games, mowing the lawn, running to the grocery store and the other 500 things that need to get done—I can't afford to be fuzzy and slow. I'm sounding like a non-drowzy Claritin ad, but get a pint of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot in me, and I'll be asleep before the 5:30 news comes on. Even on weekends, when fuzziness isn't an issue, I'll still go for three or four lower strength beers over one or two big ones.

So, I'm resound to the fact that I'm a middle-of-the-road-strength beer drinker. I am, however, curious as to where your limit lies. Do you drink the range in a sitting, or are you a straight sessioner? Perhaps, you're a 5% 'er out but an 8% 'er in?

What's your limit?


  1. You really hooked me with the Eagles photo but I stuck around and read the article anyway :) Not to say that the big beers (7% +) don't have their place with me- it just isn't that often. If I'm looking to enjoy something a little stronger (and the ride home is already secured) im up for a nice Islay single malt. A neat pour of the peaty goodness might be a few dollars more but I'll take my time and enjoy. Talking about stronger offerings- have you been to the Belgian themed Merry Monk yet? On the corner of the old Big House

    1. I can't say I even do that. I love the Islays but I order them less often than big beer.

      No, I haven't been to the Monk yet. I think we have a trip in out future—besides I owe you a sixer for winning the Haiku contest.