When it comes to alcohol, beer has historically been considered the responsible choice.
Just check out the photo above -- these two prints, titled Beer Street and Gin Lane, were issued in 1751 by British artist William Hogarth to contrast the evils of liquor (someone catch that falling baby, for Chrissakes!) with the nourishing, jovial qualities of ale.
Beer: the drink of moderation!
But not all brews are so tame. In recent years, mad scientist brewers have developed brewing methods that allow their beers to ferment right past the traditional alcoholic territory of ale or lager and into the realm of wine, liqueur and grain alcohol. While Hogarth might look down on them, these extreme beers have become beloved in the craft beer community.
Here in Arizona, we even have a festival dedicated to them: the Arizona Strong Beer Festival.
In honor of this upcoming celebration of inebriating ale, we present 10 of the strongest beers in the world. These brews will slap you around, insult your mother and expect you to like it.
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Schorschbräu Schorschbock 43% (43.38% ABV)
With their beers now firmly in the ABV range reserved for strong Scotch, why not continue the trend? Schorschbräu released this eisbock in May 2010, again delivering it in tiny ceramic bottles signed and numbered by the brewmaster.
The End of History (55% ABV)
All arms races must come to an end, and in July 2010 BrewDog dropped the proverbial H-bomb with The End of History, a beer that's badass for three reasons: it's 110-proof, it's named for Francis Fukuyama's famous work on the future of Western democracy, and it comes wrapped in taxidermied dead animals (which BrewDog assured everyone was roadkill). The brewery made only 11 bottles of the ridiculously strong iced Belgian ale, despite the fact that they each sold for $800 to $1,100, depending on the animal. With it, BrewDog declared "All your base are belong to us!" in the battle for ABV supremacy. They've also said it'll be their last foray into extreme strong beers. Until, you know, next year.