2 Beer Guys Blog

Welcome to the 2 Beer Guys Blog! Here, you will be able to read our stories and adventures as we travel through the world of craft beer.

Monday, December 03, 2007

How much would YOU pay for a craft beer?

OK, by the title you are imagining that this is an article based on the hop shortage and the increase in the cost of grains. BUT if you did, you would be incorrect. I posted this article because they mention the Utopias and the Dark Lord.



Drink Craft Beer, You've Earned It!!

P.s. This adds one more thing to my "TO DO" list!! Visit Three Floyds on Dark Lord Day.

Buying a case of craft beer for $28 is not bad these days. Most craft beers go for $8 per six-pack, with comparable specialty imports priced a bit higher. But four years ago I paid $28 for a single bottle of De Dolle Brouwers 20th-anniversary ale at a Belgian beer joint named Monk’s Café in Philadelphia. It was a remarkable 750-milliliter bottle that I split with three friends—but it still cost $28.

Think that’s crazy? Then so was the $45 I spent last month on a bottle of a fairly average cabernet-shiraz blend at a local restaurant. We’ve grown as accustomed to paying those prices for wine as we have to paying bottom-dollar prices for beer. But all that is changing as a handful of brewers challenge boundaries of formulation, vision, and marketing—and in the process open up craft beer to new price levels.

Consider the most expensive regularly released beer in the world, Samuel Adams Utopias, with a retail price between $120 and $160. The 2007 release of Utopias is also the world’s strongest beer, at 27 percent alcohol by volume. (Despite cries of “That’s not really beer!” Utopias certainly is beer. It was made from almost all malt, though small amounts of maple syrup were used; it was fermented to its full strength; and there was no distillation, fortification, or concentration used, which would be illegal under the terms of Boston Beer’s brewing license.) But that’s not why it’s so pricey. It’s a blend of rare and expensive aged beers, some dating back 13 years and most aged in a variety of barrels: bourbon, sherry, port, and scotch. There are, as company founder and president Jim Koch puts it, “a ton of ingredients in there, and it takes time measured in months and years.” The process also includes years of research and ideas that didn’t pan out, yeast breeding and training, the patience to hold onto the older beers, and careful blending. The bottle’s pretty nifty too: It’s an individually numbered, copper-toned decanter in the shape of a brew kettle, complete with working doors.

Happily, the beer delivers on its promise. “You’re tasting flavors that have never been created before, tastes people never tasted before,” Koch gushes—and he’s right. The brewery sponsors a promotional tour in which people are encouraged to taste Utopias blind against a Fonseca port from the excellent 1994 vintage and Cognac Frapin XO, which are both highly acclaimed—and significantly more expensive—drinks. Though not a wine or spirit, Utopias is clearly in the same league as these two beverages, with a deep complexity of flavors that reveal themselves on the tongue: malt, mint, a hint of smoke, caramel, and a wash of warm fruit flavors that finishes with a slow, lingering comfort.

The Boston Beer Co. released 12,000 bottles in October, and it doesn’t anticipate having problems selling them. In fact, retailers—which include fine restaurants, fancy liquor stores, and even the occasional corner shop—complain about not getting enough.

Three Floyds, a microbrewery in Munster, Indiana, makes an imperial stout called Dark Lord. The company sells it only at the brewery, on one day a year in April (Dark Lord Day), and it charges $15 for a 22-ounce bottle. That’s not wildly expensive, but the entire run—over 7,000 bottles—is sold on that one day; two years ago, the brewery had to institute a six-bottle-per-person limit.

Link to article.


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