This is no common brew to be casually quaffed — but rather an ambrosia to be sipped and appreciated with a small group of close friends on a special occasion.
As usual, myriad thoughts are ricocheting around my poor old noggin. For example, for reasons that will become clear shortly, I was just thinking about penguins (as you do).
In turn, this reminded me of the classic case where someone took an already funny penguin-related topic and made it funnier.
This all started off as a Wikipedia page about the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (SNAE), which took place 1902–1904. This page includes several pictures, including one showing a Scotsman called Gilbert Kerr sporting a kilt and playing the bagpipes, his only audience being a solitary penguin.
The original caption to this image was somewhat dry, reading as follows: “Piper Gilbert Kerr alongside a penguin, March 1904.” As shown in the left-hand half of the image to the right, someone decided to add a little pizazz by rewording this to read: “Piper Kerr, a member of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, plays the bagpipes for an indifferent penguin, March 1904.”
And, as reflected in the right-hand half of the aforementioned image, all it took was the addition of a single word to make this caption perfect (I still chuckle every time I read it).
So, what set me to thinking about penguins in the first place (like I need an excuse)? Well, my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) just called to tell me that she’s making a stew for supper and she’s opened a bottle of one of my good beers to flavor it.
“No problem,” I said. “Hang on,” I said. “Exactly which bottle did you use?” I said. I must admit that I was wearing my worried face for a moment, because I remembered that there was a rather special bottle at the back of the fridge that I’ve been saving for a special occasion.
The beverage in question is a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin, which was presented to me as a gift several years ago, and which — at the time it was first released in 2009 — was the strongest beer in the world, with an ABV of 32%. As we see in this video, the team who brewed this “Nectar of the Gods” at BrewDog would be an interesting bunch with whom to hang out.
Since that august occasion, stronger beers have appeared on the market, such as Brewmeister Snake Venom with an ABV of 67.5% (see 13 Strongest Beers in the World for Serious Beer-Snobs), but Tactical Nuclear Penguin has maintained something of a cult following, not the least that the original batches — of which my bottle is a proud member — were double barrel-aged for 16 months in two types of oak Scottish whisky casks prior to being frozen and decanted.
I just had a quick Google to discover that a bottle of Tactical Nuclear Penguin is a rare commodity, currently costing anywhere between $120 and $180. Eeek Alors! The point is that this is no common brew to be casually quaffed — but rather an ambrosia to be sipped and appreciated with a small group of close friends on a special occasion.
Fortunately, it turned out that Gina had used one of my lesser beers in her stew, she now knows to keep her hands off my penguin (and that’s not something you expect to hear yourself say every day), so all that remains is to decide on an appropriate occasion…