The alcoholic strength of beers can vary greatly according to both the type of beer and the manufacturer. Well-known domestically brewed lager beers in the United States, from brewers such as Budweiser and Coors, tend to be in the ABV (alcohol by volume) range of 4.1 to 6.0 percent, though the UK imported Coors Breaker Super Brew comes in at a whopping nine percent ABV.
It is often the case that the higher the alcohol content in a beer, the stronger the flavour, but that is not always the case. The highest alcohol beer in the Budweiser range is Bud Ice at 5.2 percent and the lowest is Bud Silver at 4.1 percent. Try them side by side and you would be hard put to argue that the latter did not have a far stronger and superior flavour.
In recent years, the growth of micro brewing in the United States has created a large diversity of beer types. Naturally it would be impossible to develop anything like a comprehensive list of domestically brewed beers now available, but they encompass bitter beers based on the British model, beers based on the Belgian model and Irish or West Indian style stouts. Good examples would be the San Francisco Anchor Brewery’s Steam Beer (bitter) at 4.8 ABV, the Sly Fox (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania) Incubus Tripel (Belgian style strong beer) at 10.3 percent and Bear, Delaware based Stewart’s Brewing Company’s Highlander Stout (ABV not shown)
It is a rule of thumb that the commonly-found, cheaper lager beers are predominantly thirst quenchers, served ice cold and for consumption on an everyday basis. If you are concerned about your day-to-day alcohol consumption (and if you want to stay healthy you should be), then take a normal glass of this beer as being one unit and try to stay within a limit of three units per day with a maximum of fifteen per week. Also remember that the really strong lagers can be up to twice as alcoholic, so drink less of it. If you want to drink more, then choose a low alcohol lager.
The more specialised beers can be more alcoholic than draft lagers, but are generally not designed to be quaffed ice cold, but are regarded more as sipping beers. Enjoy these after a good meal, but remember that in some cases you could be drinking a beer that is actually stronger than the average wine (11-14 percent ABV) and take care.
Enjoy your voyage of beer exploration, and so long as you have regard for your health it should prove to be a long and very happy one.