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April 21, 2009

The trouble with high-test beers

resurrection aleA buddy of mine was recently at the Metro Gallery (1700 N. Charles St.) watching some live music and drinking some Belgian beers. He had about four, when it hit him: He was suddenly, unexpectedly sloshed.

The cause? Each of the beers he had was 9 percent alcohol per volume, which is about twice as much alcohol as the average brew.

Has this ever happened to you?

Bartenders who serve a lot of Resurrection Ale (that's the stuff made at the Brewer's Art), people who haven't drank it before can get quite messy, quite quickly ...

A South Baltimore bartender told me that he has seen people put back four or five Resurrections while seated at the bar, get up to go to the bathroom and eat floor. Ouch!

My friends were out at a North Baltimore watering hole once when a guy got extremely loud and rowdy and had to be thrown out. The bartender apologized, and explained that this guy was drinking Resurrection for the first time.

Is there a moral here? I'm not sure. If anything, I guess it's "know your beer." If you don't, you beer could floor you. Literally.

(Sun archive photo)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:30 AM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Yes, this is true, as I have had many a Belgian beer. However, I had a great bartender at Brewer's Art who told me I must stop before that happened.
And did you hear that Brewer's Art was named #1 Bar in all of US by Esquire Magazine?
That's why we love our Resurrection Ale and the Brewer's Art!
I linked & blogged about the Esquire ranking below:


Resurrection is certainly trouble. After about 3 or 4, its start to get a bit hazy. Nasty hangover too.

YES!!! Brewer's Art ( who NEEDS to take that awful grilled calamari OFF the menu) is a baaad place to go on a Monday night. Awesome beer, but the tuesday hang over is KILLA!

Listen, I was born a Miller High Life Man and I will die a Miller High Life Man. I don't need you muddying the waters with your Resurrections and their high alcohol content. I will just drink the 12er of the High Life and pass out on my own time.

Once, I had two Resurrections plus one lower ABV beer without eating dinner and fell up the stairs in my apartment. And recently, at Victoria GastroPub, I had two of Lagunitas' Undercover Investigation ales (mmm delish), which were not yet listed in their beer menu. I had to work off some of my surprise buzz before driving home... turns out they're 9.7%. I like that Victoria and Max's and a few other places list the ABV on their menus...

This also gives good cause to remind people that when they purchase packaged goods, there's a reason some beer comes in a 4-pack.

As we learned this weekend, you should read the alc content before turning on dem O's. Downing your frustration at 10% per bottle makes your hate for Boston that much worse. And when you realize said 10% came from Boston, you are a firm believer in conspiracies, even though you suddenly can't pronounce conspiracy...

It's not trouble. It's delicious.

I remember attempting (and ever so nearly completing) to drink a yard of Victory Golden Monkey at The Owl Bar. I ended up wearing the last of it while I told people it had to be the dirty draft lines that were making me so buzzed, certainly not the beer.

As we say on our beer menu - please enjoy in moderation, a little bit goes a long way. Unfortunately, some people look at the 7% abv listing of the Res as an encouragement, rather than a cautionary note (which was its intention). If you guzzle Res without giving it its due respect (i.e. like Milwaukee's Best), you will encounter some difficulties.

Oh, and neighbor: dirty draft lines don't make you more drunk, they just make your beer taste like garbage.

I know Volker ;) just a lame attempt at a joke. I knew my tolerance was waaaay higher than that so it had to be something else (again, lame attempt)

I have learned to respect the big boys now and not treat them like the beasts of my past.

@Volker (or anyone, I guess)-- someone told me once that dirty draft lines can make your hangovers worse because of lots of bacteria, etc. Is that true?

Congratulations Volker! You run a great business!

I only drink high percentage beers if I can. I never really got that messes up because I knew what I was drinking so I wasnt knocking them back like it was coors light or something.


It may be true, depending on what is growing in the dirty lines. Publicans should clean their lines at least once a month (we do it twice). No known pathogens survive in beer, i.e. you won't get sick, but it will taste awful if there is an infection. The most common infection is lactobacillus, found in milk and living in the air around us.

And neighbor, thanks for the clarification, clearly I was "comically challenged" when I responded...

I had 5 Resurections at an unnamed bar in Mt. Vernon, plus a shot of whiskey and I believe a Miller Lite in the course of about 4 hours. In my 8 years or so of regular drinking, this was only the second time I had gotten to a level of drunk I call the "take me to the hospital" stage of intoxication.

Anonymous, the Miller Lite makes me realize with relief that it was not here. Figure on one Resurrection being about 1.4 beers (with your average domestic beer being about 5% abv). So, 5 Resurrections is the equivalent of 7 Miller Lites, plus another Miller Lite and a shot of whisky, and you are looking at a lot of alcohol in a 4 hour period (I do not know how much you weigh, so I cannot get more precise w/r/t your BAC). I would be passed out before I got to this point (it's my natural defense mechanism against alcohol poisoning).

Your post confirms the general theme of this thread: Be aware of what you are consuming and treat it accordingly.

Respect beer

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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