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Beer records – silly, not idiotic


Joining in the era of useless and meaningless events Brewhouse & Kitchen, a British brewpub, is attempting to set the Guinness world record for beer tasting. The current record is 1,236 people. 

The tasting on 29 November is free and they will add a pint of B&K for participants. Will it count that the drinking will be done at the chain’s 22 pubs across the UK, rather than in one spot? It does not seem quite fair, but really what the heck?

The current record was broken at Publican Awards in 2016, and was done in one room, and led by beer sommelier Jane Peyton, who conducted a tasting of three beers. That event seems fairer: one room and led by a tasting expert.  I believe that some of the beer festivals I have attended easily achieved this ‘record’.

Strongest beer

All this reminds me of the time in 1989 when I hunted down the The Frog & Parrot in  Sheffield, UK to taste what was then the strongest beer in the world (according to Guinness).

I was returning from a reporting gig in Botswana and somehow heard about the record, so stopped over in 1989 on my way back to Canada. The Roger and Out brew by The Frog & Parrot came from a tap and kind of trickled out like treacle. It took ages to fill a small glass. I am one aging Beer Idiot!

At least that is the way I remember it. It was a barley wine style ale served in thirds and was 16.9%. It achieved  Guinness World Book of Records status in 1988. The pub in October just announced that they plan to re-introduce the brew again, so I might have to visit again to refresh my memory.

The current owner, Nick Simmonite told Exposed magazine: “Yes, we’re currently working with Dead Parrot Brewery at doing a full brew of Roger and Out, which for those who don’t know was the world’s strongest beer when we served it back in the day and a real local legend. We’ll be making sure we get the brew right and then we’ll release it back to the city. Hopefully we can have it finished by Christmastime.”

“It were like chuffin’ cough syrup, I tell yer!”, says one fan or non-fan?

The current and dubious record in the category of the strongest beer ever sold seems to be a competition between Scotland’s BrewDog and the rest of the world. The brewer seems determined to hold the lead, or does it?

Brewdog’s “The End of History” seems to want to put the nail in that record with 55%. It is billed by the brewery as is “a perfect conceptual marriage between art, taxidermy and craft brewing” (see pics below).

We agree the bottles are at once beautiful and disturbing. Only 12 bottles were made for $700 for one. Each bottle came with a certificate and is presented in a stuffed stoat or grey squirrel. The packaging was created by a  taxidermist and all the animals used were road kill, and involved 7 stoats and 4 grey squirrels.

Brewmeister Brewery, a Scottish brewer, held the title with Snake Venom, a fortified Scottish beer, which weighed in at 67.5%. It used smoked peat malt, beer and champagne yeasts to achieve the high alcohol content.

For beer on the market Brewmeister Brewery still holds the title according to to World Record Academy, with Armageddon (which comes before the end of the history?). Armageddon weighs in with 65%, and is made from crystal malt, wheat, and flaked oats.

It’s done through freeze fermenting, drastically lowering the temperature and repeatedly removing the first part to freeze, leaving behind only the richest alcohol brew. 

Crazy collecting

A search for ‘beer’ on the Guinness World Records site reveals all sorts of silly human achievements including the largest individual collection of beer bottles (25,866); labels (548,567); mats (152,860), crate sculpture (4,734); and crate pyramid (105,995). The latter must have been quite a sight.

Nothing quite beats the men from the Feldhausen Volunteer Fire Service who were so lacking in fires that they had time to build the largest fire engine built out of beer crates: 4,740 beer crates; the 15 metre long fire engine stands at 5 metres tall. That deserves our 5 beer idiots award for sheer frivolity.

Five beer idiots also goes to Francois Monin of France, who set the fastest time to open 2,000 beer bottles (24 min, 37 sec) according to the World Record Academy. He beat the  Guinness World Records holder Krunoslav Budiselic, Croatia, who did the feat in 28 min 11 sec.

Another bartender who went for a record is Ruth Brands of Belgium. She set the Guinness World Records world record for the longest bartending marathon at the Café Het Gildenhuis, Opglabbeek, Belgium, from 30 October to 4 November 2012.

Of course for us beer lovers the real serious achievements in terms of Guinness World Records are the most varieties of beer commercially available (2,004 by Delíríum Café, Brussels); most different varieties of beer on tap (369 draft beers by The Raleigh Beer Garden, USA), which also holds the record for the most different beer brands on tap (203 breweries).


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