One of the definitive beer trends of the last 12 months is “drinkability”. It used to really only relate to low ABV cask beers; pales and such, that disappear by the pint in quick succession or pints of crisp lager. Track’s Sonoma is one of these beers. Served well, the fresh hops and light malt base make this beer so “drinkable”. Now, modern brewing methods are creating high ABV beers in the same style. Using Dextrose adds 100% fermentable sugars that keep the body light and reduce maltiness. The lack of malty body means the bitterness can be reduced in order to let the aroma hop additions shine. Enter the “Juice”.

Mark Johnson tweeted about making the grave error of drinking a full can of Magic Rock Human Cannonball on the way to Hop City to himself. 500ml of a 9% beer on a less than 45 minute train journey. A beer generally served by the third (a half at most) was now being consumed by almost a pint. But it’s so “drinkable”.

Likewise, on a recent Saturday evening I enjoyed a can of this year’s Unhuman Cannonball with a cheeseboard. Again almost a pint of an 11% beer and it disappeared quicker than expected. An only slightly, bigger body than it’s sibling but a great pairing of a mature, crunchy cheddar and mega dosing of aroma hop additions made it so “drinkable”.

In both cases the lighter body hides an expected booziness and a somewhat refreshing beer is gone. We could share 500ml cans but by now you must know my feelings on sharing… oh, conflicting emotions.

Cloudwater opted for 440ml cans, sitting somewhere in the middle. A few post stating 330ml tends to leave you wanting more backs this up at being a smart move. I tend to agree. Their >6.5% IPA range tends to be pretty “drinkable” and the request to “Drink Fresh…” retains the “drinkability” of the beer.

Malt prominent IPAs aren’t dead and buried and are more that enjoyable. Think Evil Twin’s Molotov Cocktail, Buxton’s Double Axe, Dogfish head’s 90 Minute IPA and Wylam’s Double Jakehead to name but a few. All IPA’s but malt forward beers, as delicious as they are, that aren’t as quick to wash down. And all these breweries are also brewing these “drinkable” IPAs like Lemon Meringue Pie and Sticky Bud; adding the to plethora of “drinkable” beers.

So with the rising popularity of fresh, juicy and delicious tallboys; for the foreseeable we’re obliged to session on >8% beers with their high levels of “drinkability” and we’re all going to suffer for it.


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