A few months ago, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation, signed by Governor John Kasich, to eliminate the alcohol limit on beer brewed in the Buckeye State. A few weeks ago, local breweries were permitted to start selling the more high-octane suds to customers. Breweries had been restricted to beer that was no more than 12 percent alcohol by volume. Now, the sky’s the limit.
Interestingly, the change was made to try to make Ohio more competitive in attracting craft breweries. The beer business has been booming, and although Ohio already is home to many excellent breweries, lawmakers were worried that some companies were limiting their operations here because of the brewing restrictions.
When the bill was passed, its sponsors emphasized that the high-alcohol beer wasn’t designed for sale to people who wanted to chug, saying it was a “sipping beer” that was an “extension of an art form.” According to press reports, one of the beers that is now brewed and available for sale is a triple oatmeal Russian imperial stout, which is 13.8 percent alcohol.
I like to have a beer now and then, and when I’m ordering at a brew pub I pay attention to the alcohol information about the available options. My tastes tend toward lighter, lower alcohol beers, because I’m looking for refreshment and particular kinds of taste.
I don’t think I would even want to try a super dark beer that was 13.8 percent alcohol — which would really pack a punch. It doesn’t sound like the kind of beer you’d drink while eating a cheeseburger. But if eliminating the alcohol limit allows Ohio breweries to cater to people who do crave that kind of concoction, I’m all for it.