What's so hot about ice beer?

Column: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/950901.html

Just wondering, does ice beer still exist today?

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C’mon, Louie, that isn’t an SD question, it’s a supermarket question. (Walk through the beer aisle the next time you are in your supermarket and count how many varieties of ice beer there are–most brewed by Miller or A-B.)


I did, tom. I can’t find ice beer anywhere in my city. I was just wondering if Cecil was right and the beer makers got rid of it because of low profits.

Well, I know that Molson still makes its ice beer and markets it in New England.

Ice beer began in the late middle ages in Germany as a means of increasing the alcoholic potency of beer. Since water has a higher freezing point than alcohol, if beer is brought just to its freezing point, the frozen water (aka ice) can be skimmed off the surface and therefore the alcohol content of the beer is raised. This produces a beer called “eisbock” which is typified by a beer called EKU Kulminator 28.

Come the 1980’s and 1990’s and the major beer manufacturers (and I use this term precisely) needed a gimmick. What better than to pretend to be resurrecting an archaic brewing technique? Well, everyone got into the act. Some preserved the technique by skimming the ice off their quick frozen beverages, thereby increasing the alcoholic potency of the brew (Molson Ice is an example). Others, like the monolithic Anheuser Busch, have chosen the curious path of adding back water to restore the alcoholic content of the original brew!!

Kinda makes you wonder, huh?

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