Remember when the U.S. government was setting off nuclear bombs in New Mexico in the 1950s? Me neither, but it happened. It was called Operation Teapot, and documents uncovered last month reveal it had less to do with tea and more to do with beer. Part of the experiments included placing cans and bottles of beer at various distances from the blast site to see if they would be drinkable during the apocalypse. In the worst-ever game of "Not it!" some poor civil servant had to taste the samples and assess their drinkability. Turns out they were actually tasty, or at least, not deadly. Still, when the nukes start flying, we want a hardcore beer to calm our nerves. Enter Scotland's Brew Dog, which makes some of the highest-proof beers on the planet.
Brew Dog was founded in 2007, and it's still pretty tough to find some of their rarer beers here in the States, but they've gained worldwide attention in those short five years for making some of the most extreme beers we've ever seen. It started in 2008 with an über-high alcohol beer called Tokyo (18 percent ABV), the strongest ever brewed in the U.K. The following year, they crafted Tactical Nuclear Penguin, the strongest beer in the world, at the time. From there, things just went squirrel nuts...
Brew Dog Tactical Nuclear Penguin
Brew Dog's brewers recommend enjoying Tactical Nuclear Penguin with "an air of sophisticated nonchalance," much like "a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost." Nor sure what that last one means. What we do know is that it's 32 percent alcohol-that's 64 proof beer-and it's about $60 per 11-ounce bottle. They also report that no penguins were harmed in the making of this Imperial Stout, though videos on the Brew Dog website suggest that may not be true.
Brew Dog Sink the Bismarck!
Not content with the 32 percent ABV Tactical Nuclear Penguin, and challenged from Germany in the race to up the ante when it came to the world's highest proof beers, the boys at Brew Dog came up with Sink the Bismarck! (The poke at the Huns is, like their beers, not subtle.) This one is a 41 percent ABV "quadruple IPA" with "four times the hops, four times the bitterness and frozen four times." It was priced at about $65 per 11-ounce bottle when first created in 2010, but it's a bit of a collector's item now, not easy to find, much like the wreckage of the Bismarck...
Brew Dog End of History
The super-proof beer battle didn't end with Sink the Bismarck!, and Brew Dog fired a high-ABV volley to end the war with End of History. It's hard to decide whether the most important part here is that it's 55 percent ABV, or that it's packaged inside a dead squirrel (see pic above). Brew Dog's explanation (because at this point, we don't even know what to say): "The name derives from the famous work of philosopher Francis Fukuyama-this is to beer what democracy is to history. Fukuyama defined history as the evolution of the political system and traced this through the ages until we got the Western Democratic paradigm. For Fukuyama, this was the end point of man's political evolution and, consequently, the end of history. This beer is the last high-ABV beer we are going to brew, the end point of our research into how far we can push the boundaries of extreme brewing; the end of beer." The limited-edition run of 11 "bottles" is all sold out at this point, despite the $750 price tag, but you might find one on the gray (squirrel) market. Squirrels were indeed harmed in the making of this beer, but not by Brew Dog: Each squirrel cozy was created from roadkill by a skilled taxidermist. Tasty.