While we tend to scoff at Joes with more money than sense, there’s always something strangely alluring about knowing about the world’s most expensive stuff – especially when it’s stuff we like. And this being a blog for Joes, we do like a brew.
So without ado here’s our run down of some of the world’s most expensive beers, with brews ranging from beer produced according to an ancient recipe uncovered in an Egyptian tomb to a beer presented in taxidermy squirrels!
Jacobsen Vintage, Carlsberg
While their bog standard brew might not be to everyone’s taste, Danish brewers Carlsberg released a vintage back in 2008. Less than 1,000 bottles of each variety were made, with only 600 bottles of the Vintage No.1 made using Swedish and French oak barrels. Each bottle of the stuff is accompanied by an original hand stilled lithographic print by Danish artist Frans Kannik.
End of History, BrewDog
Scottish brewery BrewDog are always trying to break the mould and actually have three entries in the top ten most expensive beers ever commercially sold. But our favourite of their entries by far (and their most expensive to date) was made back in 2010, and sees the mammoth 55% End of History brew encased in a taxidermy squirrel or stoat. Seriously. Using nettles from the Scottish Highlands and fresh juniper berries, only 11 bottles of the blond Belgian ale were ever made.
Schorschbock 57, Schorschbräu
Released in back 2011, Schorschbock 57 is thought to be the strongest beer in the world at 57.5%. Only 36 bottles of the stuff was made by German brewers Schorschbräu – we assume become one sip is all you need for a very long night and an even longer headache. The Eisbock style beer was made by freezing off a portion of the water from the beer. This resulted in an increase in flavour and, most importantly, alcohol content.
Space Barley, Sapporo Brewery
Size: 6 x 355ml
Ever wanted a beer that’s been partly made in space? Us too! Which is why Sapporo’s Space Barley has made our list. Made with barley grown from seeds which spent five months on board the International Space Station in 2006, this beer comes in a six pack and on release was sold in a lottery system at a price of 10,000 yen.
Utopias, Samuel Adams
The most expensive beer produced the US is Samuel Adams’ Utopias. The Boston-based brewery first released the juggernaut in 2002, when it was brewed with caramel, Vienna, Moravian and Bavarian smoked malts, as well as four varieties of noble hops. It’s still made today with a batch released every two years having been aged in Scotch, Cognac and Port barrels for up to 18 months. At 28%, Utopias is actually banned in 11 US states, so you know it’s good!
Antarctic Nail Ale, Nail Brewing
While Antarctic Nail Ale technically isn’t the world’s most expensive single bottle of beer, it is pound for pound the most costly (that doesn’t come with a taxidermy squirrel). At 4.6%, you might be wondering what’s so special about it… Well, the limited edition Australian Pale Ale was made using a block of ice from the Antarctic. Released in 2010, Nail Ale used ice collected by the crew of the Sea Shepherd from an iceberg in the Southern Ocean. The ice was flown to Tasmania, where it was melted, and then transported to Perth to be used in the brewing process. Only 30 bottles were produced at the time and bottles have gone for as much as £1,000 in charity auctions. As 90% of beer is water, Antarctic Nail claims to be the world’s oldest and purest beer. They’re probably right too!
Vieille Bon Secours Ale, Caulier
Size: 12 Litres
While Nail takes the size-to-cost claim, the world’s most expensive single bottle of beer is thought to be a 12-litre bottle of Vieille Bon Secours Belgian ale brewed by Caulier. The bottle was discovered in the cellar of Belgo restaurant, London, back in 2009. A pint of the 8% ale will actually only cost you around £33, which could be a lot worse!
Tutankhamun Ale, Scottish Newcastle Brewery
But we’ve saved our favourite to last. Tutankhamun Ale by Scottish Newcastle Brewery came about following the discovery of a 3,250 year-old recipe found in Queen Nefertiti’s Royal Brewery in Egypt. Discovered by Cambridge archaeologist Dr. Barry Kemp in 1990, 1,000 bottles of the stuff were made according to exact recipe by Scottish brewer Jim Merrington. The first bottle sold for £4,616 back in the day but the cost eventually fell to around £32. Merrington’s brewery unfortunately no longer exists.